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Thanksgiving Message from the Rabbinical Council of America

“Let peace be within your environs. For my brethren and neighbors' sake, I will now say, ‘Peace be with you.’” (Psalm 122)

 
 
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Nov 23, 2016 -- The Rabbinical Council of America, the leading organization of Orthodox rabbis in the United States, calls upon all Americans to join us in expressing our feelings of gratitude this Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the gratitude we feel for this great country of ours – a country built on the foundational values of freedom of religion, respect for all people, and equality for all. These values have created a country of freedom, which protects the rights of its citizen to live in peace and prosperity. We feel pride and deep gratitude for the blessing of this great land.

Unfortunately, this Thanksgiving greets us with uncertainty and concern. Racist language and actions and harsh, hateful statements are regularly expressed in social media and on the streets. Therefore we ask the leadership of our country, both political and religious, to reaffirm our core values: freedom of religion, respect for all people, and equality for all.

“We call on the present and incoming leadership of this land to regularly reassert their intolerance of racist and hateful statements, actions and gatherings,” said Executive Vice President, Rabbi Mark Dratch. “Though governments change, our American values do not. Our greatness is due to the assertion and vigilant protection of these values. We stand in defense of those who are vulnerable to such hate, of any creed, race, nation of origin, or gender.”

President Rabbi Shalom Baum said, “We encourage both major political parties and their leaders, appointees, and advisors to help heal our divided land by vociferously condemning hateful and racist speech and actions. We acknowledge that steps have been taken in this direction. As we noted in our recent resolution on campaign rhetoric and in our 2015 resolution, “Torah Proclamation on Racism,” we must recognize the power of language and must be vigilant against the harmful impacts that hateful speech and ad hominem attacks can have on the dignity of the political process as well as on the welfare of others, especially minorities.”

First Vice President Elazar Muskin added, “On this Thanksgiving, we join all Americans in praying for the peace and welfare of all inhabitants of our country. May the Master of All grant wisdom and understanding to the leaders of our nation so they may be successful in healing our divided nation, our blessed United States of America.”

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