Author: JCRC

The Legacy of Connie S. Birnbaum 

I never had the privilege of meeting Connie Spear Birnbaum, who died in 2003 at age 48 of breast cancer. But as I’ve come to learn about her much too short life, it’s clear that she left behind a powerful legacy; a call for Jewish unity in our community.

Connie moved to Boston to pursue her Masters in Jewish Communal Service at Brandeis University. It was here that she met and married an amazing fellow, Dr. Herbert Birnbaum, and together, they raised a family. She pursued a vision for Jewish community that is even more urgent today than when she served as the Unity Associate for the Synagogue Council of Massachusetts. That awesome job title – by definition, working for community unity despite our differences – defined what she was all about.

In a 1989 interview, Connie replied to a question about whether there could be unity in the Jewish community, “There are, to be sure, many skeptics among us, but I am not one of them. Philosophically, I believe in the value and necessity of K’lal Yisrael (the Jewish People).”

To hear her husband, Herb, tell it, “Her work bridged congregations and denominations, helping those from all affiliations to build an understanding that no one group of Jews has all the answers to the exclusion of others. As in the post-Impressionist artistic style of pointillism, she saw beyond the individual dots of color on the canvas to appreciate the brilliance of the big picture.”

This is why the Jewish Community Relations Council is honored that, after 13 years of stewardship by the Synagogue Council, Connie’s family – Herb, and their children Benjamin, Ilanna, and Ariella – has entrusted us with the annual Connie Spear Birnbaum Memorial Lecture, to continue advancing it as a force for good and a signature event of Boston’s Jewish community.

This year’s lecture will be delivered on Tuesday, September 26th at Congregation Beth El-Atereth Israel in Newton. Our keynote speaker, Rabbi Dr. Meir Soloveichik, is the rabbi of Congregation Shearith Israel in New York City, founded in 1654 as the first Jewish congregation in North America. Through this lecture we also mark a return of the storied Soloveichik rabbinic line – merging tradition with modernity, science with Torah – back to Boston where his great uncle, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, lived and taught. Rabbi Dr. Soloveichik, whose topic is entitled, “Rembrandt and the Rabbis: What the Artist Teaches Us About Preparing for Yom Kippur,” will enlighten us about the Dutch painter Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn and his perspective on Jewish customs in preparing for Yom Kippur. The lecture is free and open to the public, though we invite you to register in advance here.

In these times when our community, and our society at large, are increasingly fractured in our civic discourse – unable  to bridge our differences, struggling to find common ground – Connie’s attentiveness to all Jewish voices and  interests from across our diverse community  continues to inspire.  Her legacy challenges us at JCRC to be the best we can be at convening the disparate parts of the Jewish community and weaving them into a powerful and united network. Her message - that none of us has a monopoly on the right answers, and that all of us benefit from the inclusion of each other in shared community - endures.

Connie’s memory is for a blessing. I invite you to join us in experiencing that blessing and legacy on September 26th.

Shabbat Shalom,

Jeremy

Back to School with GBJCL | A Message from Our Literacy Program Director

In the spirit of back-to-school, this week's message is from Rebecca Shimshak, the Director of our Greater Boston Jewish Coalition for Literacy program.

As summer ends and a new year of learning begins, school staff throughout Greater Boston are working feverishly to prepare for their students’ arrival. Here at JCRC, our nearly 300 Greater Boston Jewish Coalition for Literacy (GBJCL) volunteers are also gearing up to return to their partner schools. To mark this “back-to-school” moment, I’d like to share a glimpse inside one of our 25 GBJCL schools, The Arnone Community School of Brockton, a part of our program for nearly a decade, through their partnership with an incredible team of volunteers from Temples Beth Emunah and Chayai Shalom of Easton.

The Arnone’s Principal Colleen Proudler (left) was recently featured at our annual JCRC Celebrates fundraiser, where we celebrated GBJCL’s 20th anniversary and honored the work of our partners. In Principal Proudler’s remarks, she revealed compelling insights about her school, the realities of her students’ lives, and the impact of our program on her community. A large urban school, the Arnone’s students face daunting challenges: 65% are economically disadvantaged, 92% qualify for free or reduced lunch, 75% are high-needs, and more than 3% of these students are dealing with homelessness.

Principals like Proudler understand that a quality education requires depth of relationships in addition to skill building. As she told us,

… Literacy skills are a key component to a successful future and, all too frequently, these high-risk students lag well behind their peers. I could speak to you for hours about the research that demonstrates the need for explicit vocabulary instruction or the number of minutes a child should spend reading each day to become fluent. But nothing sparks a love of reading in a child better than sharing a book with a caring adult. The [GBJCL] tutors working at Arnone nurture that love of reading each and every day.

Remarkably, Principal Proudler takes the time to get to know each of the GBJCL tutors personally. She observed a particularly telling interaction between one tutor and his student.

Seymour Newberger was a ninety-one-year-old retired engineer who tutored at the Arnone for several years. Typically tutors work one or two hours a week, but Mr. Newberger worked all day, every day… I would frequently find him building bridges with the third graders in a classroom or working with small groups of fifth graders in the science lab.

One day, I observed a fifth-grade girl arguing with him... She walked away from him in a huff and as I was walking over to intervene, he called over his shoulder, “…Fine, leave. But your answer is still wrong!” The girl stopped dead in her tracks. She turned around, marched back over to the table, and sat right down. He calmly picked up a pencil and began to reteach the problem. After she left, I asked him how he knew she would come back. He told me she was a very good mathematician, but made careless errors and got angry when they were pointed out to her. He also knew that her ego would never let her walk away from a problem without the correct answer.

That student has since graduated from the Arnone, but I am certain that she will never forget how Mr. Newberger pushed her to never settle for anything less than her best effort. Mr. Newberger passed away last year and he is sorely missed at the Arnone. His spirit of service, dedication, and commitment embody the essence of GBJCL and what makes it so special to the Arnone.

Today, volunteer support is even more critical to schools like the Arnone. Facing a $10 million school budget deficit and the prospect of classes as large as 30 students, essential services for students in Brockton are in serious jeopardy. As she struggles to respond to this crisis, Principal Proudler expressed her relief that through GBJCL, she can count on her students to continue benefiting from small group instruction and personalized attention.

 
Students at the Arnone School celebrating 20 years of GBJCL (click to enlarge)

We are privileged to support schools like the Arnone, where committed volunteers like Mr. Newberger have real impact as they help students carve out their path in life. If you are interested in joining our cadre of GBJCL volunteers, registration is now open for the 2017-2018 school year for either tutoring weekly or time-limited special projects. No educational background is needed, just a desire to help and time to serve.

I look forward to celebrating another successful year together with GBJCL and all of our partners.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rebecca Shimshak,
Director, Greater Boston Jewish Coalition for Literacy

Asking and Acting | A Millennial Message from Our Senior Synagogue Organizer

We have spent this summer at JCRC  - between crises – mapping out our goals for the coming year. Among our priorities, is a commitment to engaging young adults in our work, not only as participants in our programs, but as stakeholders in our mission, and ultimately as future leaders of our organization. To inform our efforts, we’ve turned to our own young staff members to share their perspectives. This week’s post comes from one member of this cohort; Rachie Lewis, Senior Synagogue Organizer. She reflects on the experience and aspirations of her peer group, through the lens of this past week’s turbulent events.

Nahma Nadich
Deputy Director

As a young, white Jew who grew up in a time, place, and economic class that allowed me to feel comfortable in my own skin, the violence in Charlottesville and the resurgence of  blatant white-Supremacy and anti-Semitism – including two desecrations of the New England Holocaust Memorial in six weeks – are jarring. While we as a Jewish people have seen this before, I  have not, and neither have the majority of my peers.

Last weekend, we were all faced with hard decisions about how to respond to a rally here in Boston that many worried would mirror the hate and vitriol in Charlottesville. Some of us chose to attend the “Free Speech” rally in counter-protest – some marched with other faith and social justice communities, and some made our way there on our own. Some of us chose to attend a powerful interfaith service at Temple Israel on Friday evening, which JCRC helped organize, and some of us prayed for peace in our own synagogues on Saturday morning. And, some of us chose to stay home, concerned about wading into these troubled waters.

I chose to go to the counter-protest. Amidst the tens of thousands of protesters, I was struck by how many young Jews I knew – Jews, otherwise separated by institutional, religious, and cultural divides–who decided to show up on Saturday amidst all the confusion and uncertainty.

As we – Jewish, young adults – make these decisions, many of us are grappling with complex questions.

  • How do we understand the resurgence of anti-Semitism, which we know is a deep part of our ancestral narrative, yet has not been a lived experience for so many of us? How do we understand anti-Semitism as it relates to other prevalent forms of oppression, such as racism and xenophobia, which position communities of color differently?
  • What does it mean to be a Jew doing justice work in deep and respectful partnership with marginalized communities? How do we hold onto these relationships and this work in the face of discord?
  • How do we simultaneously recognize and affirm the diversity of the Jewish community, which is not all white, not all economically privileged, and not all descended from Eastern-Europe?
  • What can we learn from older generations? And, what new tools and approaches are needed in this era?

Amidst all these questions, as we recognize both our vulnerability and privilege, young Jews are making decisions about how and when to show up, and we’re developing tools and networks to gather on our own. We are programmed to act in the face of injustice. Engaging in social justice work is something we do out of a sense of urgency and chiyuv – obligation. If we, or people we love, are in danger of getting kicked off healthcare plans, Medicaid or disability benefits; if we, or our family and friends of color, feel more threatened because of the deepening racial rifts and racially motivated violence in our country, and; yes, if Nazi flags are once again being flown in public, we will act. Fighting for justice is a part of life for our generation, and thanks to the hard choices made by our parents and grandparents, many of us now feel safe to take the risks that this struggle asks of us.

This week, we welcomed the new month of Elul, the last month of the Jewish calendar, which encourages us to reflect on the passing year and prepare for the new one. Elul asks us to take a deep accounting of our actions: What have we done well? How have we grown? Where have we fallen short? What have we learned? How will we set ourselves up to be stronger and better versions of ourselves in the year ahead?

These questions feel especially crucial as we all make our way through the chaos. And, I hope that, in the coming year, younger Jews, older Jews, community leaders, and those on the periphery, can engage with one another in addressing the questions at the heart of these struggles, both in our country and in our Jewish community.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rachie Lewis
Senior Synagogue Organizer

Being for Ourselves – and Others | A Message from Our Deputy Director

As this week has unfolded, our professionals have been having many conversations with partners about anti-Semitism in this moment. Today’s post comes from our Deputy Director Nahma Nadich. I would also remind and urge you to join me, our partners in the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, Governor Baker and Mayor Walsh, this evening, August 18th, at 5pm at Temple Israel in Boston for a Gathering of Unity, Love and Strength.

Shabbat Shalom,
Jeremy

Growing up in the turbulent sixties and early seventies, I was magnetically drawn to civic and political involvement in the social issues of the day. But the message I heard in the modern Orthodox day school I attended was a foreboding one: focus only on our own Jewish community and don’t concern yourself with anyone beyond it. As a teenager, I rejected and rebelled against what I saw as a parochial view; I found multiple public outlets for my political passions.

But looking back all these decades later, I now understand more about the fear and anxiety behind that caution. Having witnessed, and in many cases, survived the Holocaust themselves, and after experiencing unimaginable evil at the hand of non-Jewish perpetrators, my teachers had little interest in advocating for, or frankly even interacting with, anyone outside of their own circle. “Look what they did to us!” they’d say. They’d argue that we owed “them” nothing, and that we should just take care of our own. And they’d cite Rabbi Hillel’s famous teaching from Pirkei Avot: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?”

But of course, my teachers were quoting just the first part of this wise dictum that has endured throughout the ages. I always drew my inspiration not from that first line, but rather from the continuation of Hillel’s teaching–the call to universalism and to urgent action. “But if I am only for myself, who am I? And if not now, when?” (Ethics of the Fathers, 1:14) Growing up as a Jew in New York, feeling safe and secure in my surroundings, I never felt vulnerable or afraid. In fact, I felt grateful that those experiences belonged to a bygone era for American Jews; that our community was not only secure in this country but with the resources to support and advocate for those who were now marginalized and oppressed.

At no point in my life have I questioned those assumptions more than I have this week. Like so many in our community, I have been shaken to the core by the images of Charlottesville–by the racist bile spewed by the angry mob, and by images of Nazi-identified white supremacists marching in the streets of this American city, chanting “Jews will not replace us” and echoing Nazi slogans like “Blood and Soil.”

And yet, as I read descriptions and analyses from some progressive sources – even Jewish ones – I’m struck by how many of them focus exclusively on the heinous manifestations of racism, and how curiously silent they are on the explosive expressions of anti-Semitism. I’ve read eloquent calls to action, urging the Jewish community to stand in solidarity with communities of color and to fight racism in all its forms. But I’ve read far fewer acknowledgements that we too are hurting, that the Holocaust survivors in our community have been retraumatized, that younger Jews are feeling unmoored by new and unfamiliar feelings of vulnerability, and that recent events have surfaced an enduring and deep-seated hatred we thought had disappeared from this country. Suddenly, the idea of our having to be “for ourselves” no longer feels like an antiquated concept.

Clearly, being for ourselves does not have to mean what my teachers told me so many years ago. We do not have to turn our back on our neighbors, or cast a blind eye to their suffering. But unless we take care of ourselves, we cannot effectively be there for others. We must acknowledge the reality of anti-Semitism in America in 2017, and understand the pernicious ways in which it fuels racism, as argued so persuasively in this article by Eric Ward. We have to resist the naïve notion that we must–or even can–choose between which evil to combat. White Supremacy, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are all part of the same toxic ideological brew. All must be exposed and eradicated.

The wisdom of Hillel’s teaching lies in its totality, knowing that all three parts are intertwined and interdependent. Only when we honor and address our own needs, can we hope to engage in honest and authentic relationships with our brothers and sisters. Only when we acknowledge our own hurts, can we truly see the pain of others and offer healing. And only when we face the brokenness of the world which we share, can we act with the urgency that this moment demands of us.

Shabbat Shalom,

Nahma Nadich
Deputy Director

CJP/JCRC Statement on August 14 Vandalism of New England Holocaust Memorial

We are appalled and saddened that the New England Holocaust Memorial was vandalized Monday night for the second time in just 6 weeks. The images of Nazis marching in the streets of America over the weekend in Charlottesville and now shattered glass once again at this sacred space in Boston are an affront to our Jewish community and to all those who stand-up against bigotry, hatred and anti-Semitism. We thank the Boston Police and the Public Works Department for their rapid response and for their continuing support during this difficult time. We will remain resilient and will have a timeline for rebuilding the memorial once we have assessed the damage.

For information about the New England Holocaust Memorial or to make a donation, visit www.nehm.org/donate.



 

The Memorial consists of six towers representing the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust; the six years from 1939-1945 during which the “final solution” took place, and; the six main death camps where the majority of Europe’s Jews – men, women, and children – were murdered. The Memorial, which was created by Holocaust survivors who made a new life in the Boston area, is open 24-7.

The New England Holocaust Memorial, located on Congress Street across from City Hall, is managed by CJP in partnership with JCRC.

CJP and JCRC Statement on Violence and Bigotry in Charlottesville

We are heartbroken and outraged by the events in Charlottesville, VA this weekend. We join with the many of our member organizations who have already condemned both the violence perpetrated, and the message of racism, anti-semitism and other xenophobic views we heard today.

We are dismayed by the response of the President. This is, as the American Jewish Committee said today, "a time for moral clarity." Condemning "hatred, bigotry and violence on many sides" blurs the truth and gives a pass to neo-Nazi perpetrators. We join with our national network, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, in calling on President Trump to unequivocally condemn the white nationalist marchers and their movement.

We pray that calm will be restored, and that all people of good will can come together in confronting hate and bigotry in all its forms. We mourn the loss of life and we pray for those injured today.

We can and must be better than this.

Encountering Complexity

Three weeks ago, JCRC’s latest Christian Clergy Study Tour set out on our journey to Israel. The group comprised thirteen Protestant clergy members from across racial, socioeconomic, denominational and theological lines. Co-chaired by Rabbi Elaine Zecher of Temple Israel of Boston and JCRC trip alum Reverend Kent French of United Parish of Brookline, our group members were African American, West Indian, Latino, and White; Presbyterian, African Methodist Episcopal, Baptist, Lutheran, Pentecostal, and from the United Church of Christ. Our ages spanned from 20’s to 60's. Most had never been to Israel, and the few who had were there many years earlier, generally with little exposure to the Jewish-Israeli narrative. The group was united by a passion for an encounter with the land of their Scriptures, a thirst for engaging with complex realities and conflicting narratives, and, perhaps most of all, a deep desire to emerge with a sense of hope for the region’s future.

On our first morning, we set aside our jet lag to hear a presentation by veteran journalist Nathan Jeffay, who shared his experience covering Israel for multiple media outlets, including New York’s Jewish Week and London’s Jewish Chronicle. Jeffay told us that over his years of reporting, his editors’ directives had been consistent: stories of conflict and violence were always of most interest to readers, and each piece should include no more than two or three ideas at most. He cautioned the group to keep that in mind when consuming media pieces about Israel. Reading stories from afar would never result in the kind of multi-textured and nuanced understanding that is possible through direct encounters. Jeffay’s message rang with wisdom and truth throughout our trip, as we were exposed daily to a multiplicity of ideas and perspectives and learned of exciting initiatives on the ground to build a better future for Israelis and Palestinians.

A few scenes from our journey:


Sarit Zehavi and Reverend Paul Ford

A moment early on in our trip continued to resonate powerfully throughout. We visited the Lebanon border with IDF Major (Ret.) Sarit Zehavi, a former senior intelligence officer responsible for preventing collateral damage to Lebanese civilians. We peered into nearby Lebanon and noticed a large Hezbollah flag in full view. Our veteran Israeli tour guide who visits this site regularly shared his unease at this new addition. Major Zehavi offered her no-nonsense Israeli perspective; that the only way to achieve peace is through demonstrating military strength and readiness for aggression when necessary. One of our pastors engaged her in a robust debate, respectfully challenging her assertion. But before we left, he asked whether she would permit him to offer a prayer on her behalf, so we joined hands as he led us in a fervent prayer, asking for peace and security for her, her family living just miles from this place, for the people in Galilee and those on the other side of the border.

We visited the dusty tent of a fledgling NGO called “Roots” in Gush Etzion (above). There we met with Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger (third from right), who co-leads this organization, promoting Israeli-Palestinian understanding and mutual recognition, along with his Palestinian partner, Ali Abu Awad (far left). Rabbi Schlesinger identifies as a Zionist and settler, and believes that the Jewish people is fulfilling God’s promise by renewing its age-old tie to the Biblical land of Israel. But he shamefully acknowledged that the truth and righteousness of his story had blinded him most of his life to another story and another truth. With great passion, he described the transformation he experienced once he got to know his Palestinian neighbors, and he began to understand their experience of living in the same land, but under occupation. Ali described the multiple traumas that he and his family suffered, including the death of his brother, who was fatally shot in an argument with an Israeli soldier. When Jewish members of the Parents Circle reached out to his bereaved family and came to pay their respects, for the first time Ali saw Israelis not as his enemy, but as people whose tears of grief were no different than his own. He committed to a life of non-violence and to working with those whose partnership would be most essential for peace; not liberals drinking lattes in Tel Aviv, but the settlers who were his neighbors. The courageous leadership and stubborn optimism of Hanan and Ali left lasting impressions on our group.

Finally, we traveled south to Moshav Netiv Ha’asarah (above), right along the Gaza Border. We heard from Susan, a veteran community member who moved there decades ago, motivated by her idealistic vision of working the land in a close knit Jewish community. Since the 2005 Israeli withdrawal from Gaza and the subsequent Hamas takeover, her community has found themselves subject to frequent attacks. Now, along with trying to sustain a thriving farming community, they have had to prioritize security concerns, constructing ever more sophisticated shelters and rerouting their school bus to avoid being targeted by rocket and mortar fire. And yet, the change that they lament perhaps the most is the disconnect from their neighbors in Gaza with whom they once had frequent contact. When one of our ministers asked whether they were still in touch, Susan said that they were, through periodic phone conversations. Though they are careful about the information they transmit, they still care about each other and know that the connection they share is much more powerful than all that divides them; the universal human desire to provide good lives for their families and live in peace.

The mantra repeated throughout all of our study tours is that participants can expect to go home with even more questions than they came with. Once again, that was the experience of this cohort, as they acknowledged the complexity they encountered, one that defied black-and-white thinking and oversimplification. As Jeffay predicted, our engaging directly with the land and its people offered far more than the ideas available in the press, or a picture limited to conflict and violence. And yet, despite the diversity of our encounters and the vast differences in background and ideology among those we met, binding them together was their shared humanity and collective aspiration to live in peace. These Israeli and Palestinian change-makers now have thirteen American faith leaders who will be praying passionately for that to be so.

Shabbat Shalom,

Nahma Nadich
Deputy Director

Chilling Discriminatory Conduct

This piece was originally published in the July 24, 2017 edition of the Boston Globe.

Last week, Massachusetts lawmakers heard testimony on a bill that would require those seeking to do business with the state to affirm that they are in compliance with all Massachusetts antidiscrimination laws and that they do not refuse to do business with others based on race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, gender identity or sexual orientation. While opponents suggest that this bill would have a chilling effect on free speech, the only thing the bill would chill is discriminatory conduct.

The bill, called Prohibiting Discrimination in State Contracts, doesn’t affect an individual’s right to boycott a foreign state or to boycott a company based on its objectionable policies or actions. For example, individuals may protest the State of Israel or boycott companies operating in the West Bank while still enjoying the benefits of a state contract. This bill is applicable only when an individual categorically excludes another from a business opportunity based solely on who they are and what they cannot change. Targeting Israelis simply because they were born in Israel would fall into this category.

This bill also does not, as opponents suggest, shut down all boycott activity. It merely allows the state, when acting as a market participant, to choose business partners who are in line with its own values. While opponents of the bill are entitled to their own views and are free to engage in boycotts based on national origin, or race or sexual orientation, the state, when acting as a market participant, does not have to subsidize those views. The Commonwealth is free to use its economic influence to send a message of its own disagreement.

While proponents disagree with the characterizations of Israel being made by some opponents of this bill, we also vigorously defend their First Amendment right to express those opinions. Nothing in this bill would prevent them from doing so. They do not, however, have a right to force the state to agree with those opinions and to compel the state to subsidize boycotts that cross the line and target innocent bystanders for no reason other than their national origin. Instead, the Commonwealth can reach the same conclusion as Barack Obama, Pope Francis, and UN Secretary General António Guterres, who have all recognized that while Israel is not infallible, anti-Zionism, as distinct from criticism of Israel and her policies, must be taken seriously as a new form of anti-Semitism.

The so-called Boycott Divestment Sanctions campaign, when applied to Israeli nationals based solely on national origin, is illustrative of the danger that groups can cloak themselves in the guise of a political boycott to unfairly target others simply based on who they are. Governor Baker, along with all 49 other governors last fall, signed a bipartisan letter opposing this campaign of economic warfare against Israel and pointing out that its “single-minded focus on the Jewish State raises serious questions about its motivations and intentions.” The Commonwealth is, therefore, well within its rights to put forth its own view that targeting an Israeli with no connection to the government of Israel and no ability to influence that state’s policy is going too far.

We are witnessing the danger of national-origin discrimination unfolding on the national stage, where our country is turning its back on immigrants and refugees solely because of their religion and nationality. The Jewish community has called for humane policies that inspire our nation’s enduring mission rather than engaging in collective punishment. We have not forgotten our history; we have not forgotten what happens when the powerful turn a blind eye; and we have not forgotten what happens when we stop seeing people as individuals, but rather as a collective other. This common-sense legislation is an incremental step forward in the fight against discrimination in all its many forms, and Massachusetts’ leaders should all be proud to stand behind it.

Jeremy Burton is executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston.

CJP and JCRC Statement on the Murder of the Salomon Family

We are reeling from news of the murder of three members of the Salomon family in the West Bank community of Halamish.

On Friday night, Yosef and Tova Salomon sat down to Shabbat dinner with two of their children and five grandchildren. The family had gathered to celebrate the birth of a new grandson.

As the family waited for guests to join the celebration, a 19-year-old Palestinian from a nearby village entered the home armed with a knife and attacked the family members. He stabbed to death Yosef (70), his daughter Chaya Salomon (46), son Elad (36), and seriously wounded Yosef’s wife, Tova. A neighbor, an off-duty soldier, heard the screams, and rushed to the home, shooting and wounding the attacker.

Photographs of the Salomon home released by the army show the shocking savagery of the attack. Tova Salomon underwent surgery on Saturday morning and awoke to learn that her husband and two of their children were dead.

The mother of the terrorist released a video in which she says that she is “proud of her son.” Sadly, this is an all too common response; one born from the rampant anti-Israel incitement that poisons generation after generation of Palestinian children. The Salomon family, like the Fogel family and Hallel Yaffe Ariel, and Dafna Meir, and so many other innocent Israeli men and women, have paid for this hatred with their lives.

Our heart breaks knowing another Israeli family is destroyed, another community is ripped apart, and a country and its people are in mourning. As always, the people of Israel are in our hearts, our hopes, and our prayers.

On Friday, CJP issued a statement about the ongoing unrest in Israel. Since then the situation has remained volatile with four Palestinians killed in clashes with Israeli forces, and another killed when a petrol bomb he was planning to throw exploded prematurely.

We are devastated by the loss of innocent lives and pray for reason and calm to prevail. We ask God to make true the words in Psalms, “May the Almighty grant strength to God's people; May the Almighty bless God’s people with peace.”

 

Barry Shrage                   Jeremy Burton
President, CJP               Executive Director, JCRC

CJP/JCRC Statement on New England Holocaust Memorial Vandalism

We are deeply saddened to learn this morning of an act of vandalism that damaged the New England Holocaust Memorial in downtown Boston overnight.

Early today one of the Memorial’s 132 glass panels was shattered in an act of vandalism. Each panel is etched with thousands of numbers representing the infamous tattoos inflected on the arms of many of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust.

Even as we are angered by this act of desecration against a Memorial remembering the darkest chapter in human history, we are grateful for the rapid response of the Boston Police Department.  Based on what we currently know, they have a suspect in custody and that he will be charged with willful malicious destruction of property as well as a civil rights violation. CJP maintains 24-hour video surveillance of the Memorial and is providing the video of this event to Boston Police Department.

We are heartened by the outpouring of concern we have already seen by members of all communities as a result of this sickening crime.

The Memorial consists of six towers representing the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust; the six years from 1939-1945 during which the “final solution” took place, and; the six main death camps where the majority of Europe’s Jews – men, women, and children – were murdered. The Memorial, which was created by Holocaust survivors who made a new life in the Boston area, is open 24-7.

The New England Holocaust Memorial, located on Congress Street across from City Hall, is managed by CJP in partnership with JCRC.

If you'd like to support NEHM, visit nehm.org or click here to donate now.