An ACI Message from the Rabbi's Desk about current events

As you know from my previous communications with you, our standard at Astoria Center of Israel is that politics and divisiveness are best kept outside of and apart from our K’hillah K’doshah – our sacred community.  Our community remains refreshingly free of hostilities, intolerance, and divisiveness, offering a space of Jewish spiritual nourishment and sustenance – to educate, fulfill, and create beautiful camaraderie. Thus, while ACI does not take any form of political action communally, there are of course ample and varied political avenues and opportunities elsewhere for those so wishing.

We are sharing here this message of deep support and moral clarity:

The Message

I, along with every other decent person on God’s earth, am outraged and pained by the heinous murder of George Floyd. All such crimes are desecrations of God’s name and God’s laws, of human society and civilization. Those who have been arrested and charged with his murder will, please God, be brought to justice to the fullest extent of the law. 

In keeping with Jewish tradition, I am always distraught by the murder of innocents and deplore all evil, and maintain hope that all perpetrators of destructive crimes which harm and devastate the lives of others will be brought to justice. 

It goes without saying – but I will say it here again nonetheless – that all forms of racial or religious bigotry or prejudice are abhorrent. I cannot fathom how any decent person could feel otherwise, and I believe, thank God, that most do not.  

As a proud NYPD clergy liaison for Astoria’s 114th precinct, I have seen firsthand the myriad brave and heroic law enforcement men and women of all racial and religious backgrounds who serve with strength, dignity, and honesty. Where there are shameful ones in law enforcement who don't, they should of course be rooted out and brought to justice.  

We must, with God’s guidance, always ardently strive for betterment, through hard work, honesty, good will, religious sensibility, and sacred vision.  I hope that as Jews – who understand that true and actual justice is one of the pillars of Judaism, America, and good society – we can fully share and bring to fruition these sentiments. 

Also in keeping with Jewish tradition, I ask us all to always keep foremost in mind and heart all the good that surrounds us, all for which we should be grateful, all the hope and optimism that has served us so well over the millennia to keep life in perspective, and to deeply appreciate the preciousness and meaningfulness of life, love, family, community, friendship, time, Torah, God, and deep Jewish living.  

May Adonai bless us all. May Adonai imbue us with the wisdom and moral sensibility to see and understand clearly and to act properly. We ask you Adonai, the One Who makes peace in His high heavens, to please make peace upon us and upon all Israel – and upon all people. Amein.

Bivracha,

Rabbi Jonathan Pearl, Ph.D, Rabbi of the Astoria Center of Israel

With,

Cynthia Groopman, Co-President of the Astoria Center of Israel
Judith Schloss Markowitz, Co-President of the Astoria Center of Israel