20 Jewish organizations speak out on the death of George Floyd

June 1, 2020

By Virginia Jeffries

In the week since George Floyd’s death in the custody of Minneapolis police, Jewish organizations have been speaking out in solidarity with his family.

Many are issuing statements condemning Floyd’s death and reaffirming their stance against bigotry and systemic racism.

Here is a list of excerpts from some of the most prominent Jewish organizations in the country.

The Rabbinical Council of America, an association of Orthodox rabbis, issued a statement Monday afternoon condemning Floyd’s murder and standing against “racism, bigotry and hatred:”
“Our rabbis taught that society subsists on the three basic values: law, truth, and peace,” said Rabbi Daniel Korobkin, the president of the Rabbinical Council of America. “We call upon those in government and law enforcement not only to preserve the law, but also to restore justice, fairness and a sense of compassion to all.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the ADL spoke out on Saturday:
“We stand in solidarity with the Black community as they yet again are subject to pain and suffering at the hands of a racist and unjust system. While it is a necessary first step in the pathway towards justice that former Officer Derek Chauvin was taken into custody yesterday, it is simply not enough. Based on the horrifying cell phone footage that has rightfully outraged Americans across the country, it is clear that the three other former officers who participated in Mr. Floyd’s death need to be held responsible for their actions to the fullest extent of our legal system.”

J-Street issued a statement “in solidarity with communities of color all across the nation today as they express continued shock, grief and anger at the killing of George Floyd:”
“The killing of Mr. Floyd is but the latest in a horrific and seemingly never-ending string of assaults on the lives of African-Americans and other people of color. We join all who are calling for arrests, criminal charges and justice related to Mr. Floyd’s death.”

The Democratic Majority for Israel, made a statement statement on Sunday:
“Words are not a sufficient response to these tragic deaths; they must inspire us to action. We renew our commitment to work toward a more just and inclusive society. We stand in solidarity with black Americans who are peacefully protesting against the ongoing violence directed at their community and we are repulsed by President Trump’s continuing effort to stoke the racism infecting our society.”

The Museum of Jewish Heritage issued a statement on Monday:
“In the words of Elie Wiesel: ‘We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must – at that moment – become the center of the universe.’”

T’ruah, an organization of rabbis made a statement on May 27:
“This week, the divine image is diminished as we mourn the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police. This is yet one more tragic example of the racist violence too often perpetuated by police officers, who are charged with protecting all of us–not only some of us.”

The National Council of Jewish Women issued a statement demanding action for George Floyd’s murder:
“What happened on Monday in my state is a microcosm of communities all over the country right now, from Atlanta to Louisville to Tallahassee. No parent should have to worry about the safety of their child when they leave home to go to school, to pick up groceries, to get gas to drive, to live, to work, and to be Black in America. I continue to be outraged that this is still the case today.”

The Rabbinical Assembly, an association of Conservative and Masorti rabbis spoke out on Sunday:
As the Torah teaches, we will not stand idly by while our neighbor’s blood is shed (Lev. 19:16). The scourge of racism is prevalent in only some but far too much of our law enforcement and must be addressed and those guilty of abuse must be held accountable to the strictest penalty. It has become painfully evident that the overwhelming majority of decent officers and others entrusted with police powers and their oversight have not been able to make the necessary changes to a system that disproportionately targets minority communities and people of color.

Bend the Arc, issued a statement calling for the Jewish community to demand police accountability:
“Bend the Arc rises in solidarity with the powerful uprising all across this country demanding dignity for Black lives and justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Sean Reed, James Scurlock, and David McAtee. We acknowledge the countless other Black lives taken at the hands of police officers whose names we do not yet know. In this moment, we are being called as a country to dismantle the centuries-old structures of white supremacy that take the lives of too many Black men, women, and trans people — and to build a more just America in its place.”

The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York spoke out on Sunday:
“The Jewish Community Relations Council of New York is appalled and angered by the death of George Floyd at the hands of officers in the Minneapolis Police Department. Our sorrow is further compounded by the recent killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, another act of ugly and violent racism. 56 years after the historic signing of the Civil Rights Act, hopes for equal rights for Blacks and other communities of color have been dashed again by blatant acts of bigotry and bloodshed.”

The American Jewish Congress sent an email and a tweet in response to Floyd’s death:
”This is a painful moment for our country that is shaking us to the core. The anguish, suffering, and pain caused by injustice, racism, and hate reverberate through our country and affect us all. Justice has been denied for too long.”

The Orthodox Union released a statement Monday:
“We are saddened, sickened, and outraged to have seen another broadcast video of an African-American man dying at the hands of police officers. Racism is not a thing of the past or simply a political issue. It is a real and present danger that must be met head on.”

Zioness made a statement Friday:
“Zioness is outraged and devastated by the senseless and brutal murder of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of a white Minneapolis Police Officer. As we’ve watched across the Twin Cities, it is clear that the entire city is experiencing unfathomable pain and trauma.

Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York sent out a statement Monday:
“‘Silence is consent,’ said Plato. We at the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York stand with the Black community to denounce violence against individuals and the continuance of structural racism. In the face of this we are committed to our mission of creating a more just and equitable society.”

The National Association of Jewish Legislators issued a statement Monday afternoon:
“The NAJL finds the death of George Floyd not only tragic, but completely avoidable. This nation has seen too much needless force used by police officers who step outside the bounds of their pledge to protect our residents. Last week’s murder has resulted in rioting and looting in many of our cities, often bolstered by outside agitators who build on others anger and seek to tear the nation apart… We understand the pain and horror caused by the unjustified police killing of an American citizen. Mr. Floyd’s untimely death must result in a deep and ongoing search for what we require of our police officers, how to hold them accountable and how to best advance public safety.”

Avodah, a Jewish service and social justice organization, issued a statement in memory of George Floyd on Sunday:
“So many Black men and women who have died because of the color of their skin and the deeply rooted racism that promotes not only police brutality. Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Delrawn Small, Tamir Rice. And the list goes on and on.”

Robert Bank, president and CEO of American Jewish World Service released a statement Monday:
“The murder of George Floyd, recorded for all to see, comes in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is magnifying the structural racism in our society, as the virus disproportionately infects and kills people of color. The racist underpinnings of our society, rooted in colonial-era slavery, have plagued this country since its founding and affect communities of color — particularly black communities — every day.”

The Union for Reform Judaism issued a statement on Saturday:
“On Shavuot, as we received the Torah anew, with its unbending demand for justice, we also witnessed protests in Minneapolis, Louisville, and around the United States following the all-too-familiar lethargy in bringing George Floyd’s killers to justice.”

The Academy for Jewish Religion made the following statement:
“The Academy for Jewish Religion mourns the tragic death of George Floyd and we hear his call for his mother as his life was being taken. Our matriarch Rachel leads us in mourning.

“’A voice in Ramah is heard, lament and bitter weeping. Rachel weeps for her sons, She refuses to be comforted.’ (Jeremiah 31:14) We too will not be comforted and we will not rest until the dignity of all people of color is respected and honored.”

Keshet put out a statement on Saturday:
“We are outraged and heartbroken by the recent murders of George Floyd and Tony McDade. Their deaths, at the hands of police officers, are the latest tragedies in the long history of brutal oppression of Black people in the United States.”