“Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground!” (Genesis 4:10)


We are beyond shock.  We are beyond horror.  We are filled with outrage, with pain, with disgust for our past and fear for our future.  Our brother’s blood, the blood of George Floyd, a black man murdered by white police officers sworn to protect him, cries out to us from the ground.  God demands that we listen.  We must listen not only to the cry of the blood just spilled but also to the cry of the blood of those hundreds of God’s creatures, our fellow human beings, killed by police in just the past year, an epidemic of violence that disproportionately falls on black and brown people.  We must listen because those cries confirm the awful truth that we already know:  the racism that was baked into this country at its founding is still strong, white supremacy is still with us, and in the words of Heather Heyer, z”l, if we are not outraged, we are not paying attention.

Racism and white supremacy threaten our community, our people, our GJC family, black, brown, and white.  We see many in our city expressing their rightful outrage in peaceful demonstrations, while a small group takes advantage of the tumult to turn protest into violence and looting.  We understand and share the anger, and we must all work to channel it into constructive action that has the potential to create change.  At Germantown Jewish Centre we have always spoken of justice, but we know that we are just at the beginning of our work to transform ourselves into an anti-racist community, one that can do its part to call out and dismantle the structural racism that is so evident in our country.  There is so much for us to do.

While we search for a way forward, we are living in a city in which sirens continue to blare, broken glass continues to coat the streets, curfews are being imposed, the National Guard is active, and cities across the country vibrate with fear and anger.  It is a frightening and unsettling time for all of us, but thank God we do not need to go through it alone.  We can and must to turn to each other for support, connection, and solidarity.

May this moment of upheaval pave the way for real change, when hate is replaced with love, and we truly see all people as our brothers and sisters, each of whose blood is as precious as our own.  And may our prayers for peace be heard.