Rabbi Ron Symons on May 31, 2020
The JCC Pittsburgh Center For Loving Kindness was founded in August 2017 in response to the violent, racist and anti-Semitic march in Charlottesville Virginia.
We gathered our interfaith and interracial community on the anniversary of the August 1963 March of Washington to make a declaration. More than 200 spiritual leaders signed it.
We believe the events of this past week serve as a reminder of the importance of that declaration. It reads:
“Standing in the midst of Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood, we seek to be good neighbors, to love our neighbors, and to work for justice alongside our neighbors. Gathering today on the anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, we too sense the “fierce urgency of now.” As our nation’s divisions become ever more visible, we reaffirm our calling to the tasks of religious leadership:
As religious leaders, we are called to interpret the scriptures….
As religious leaders, we are called to speak moral truth….
As religious leaders, we are called to care for the vulnerable….
As religious leaders, we are called to seek justice for the oppressed….
We rely on one another for mutual support and admonition. Together, we rely on God’s help that we might prove worthy of this high calling.”
Our goal was and continues to be UPstanders instead of bystanders for communities of color and others facing hate and indifference, including our own. We strengthen the fabric of community by amplifying the long held Jewish values of “Love Your Neighbor as yourself” and “Do not stand idle while your neighbor bleeds” …as we redefine neighbor from a geographic term to a moral concept.