I was blessed to be asked to sign on to a joint Jewish-Muslim statement on peace and justice in the wake of the terrible violence in Gaza. The statement is below, and I am very proud to be included among those Muslims and Jews who signed the statement.
We are representatives of Chicago’s Jewish and Muslim communities who have come together with shared values grounded in our respective faith traditions, in light of the recent events in the Middle East and the tragic loss of innocent life, to reaffirm our friendship and our mutual commitment to the preciousness of human life.
The Jewish and Muslim communities have lived peacefully side by side in Chicago for many years. Our respective communities have worked together in partnership to fight injustice, racism, poverty, and indifference
From this position of solidarity and renewed friendship:
- We condemn anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
- We affirm the preciousness of human life and the safety and security of the people in Gaza and Israel. The life of a Palestinian child and the life of an Israeli child are equally precious.
- We condemn wanton violence, human suffering, and targeting of innocent civilians.
- We pray for a Middle East where Israelis and Palestinians are safe from all forms of violence.
- We pray for continued friendship, and the growth and development in our understanding of one another.
- We pray for an end to the conditions that produce hopelessness.
- We commit to communicating and listening to each other throughout these difficult times.
- We commit to respecting each other even when we disagree.
- We commit to our ongoing relationship, not contingent upon agreement.
- We commit to supporting each other and protecting each other from hate and aggression.
- We embrace the message of hope, peace, and justice for all our communities.
We urge that as our respective communities gather for demonstrations, that the language and symbolism in our signs and chants, while protected by our precious right of freedom speech, do not cross lines and demonize the “other” or incorporate elements of anti-Semitism or Islamophobia.
We believe that these times must serve as a reminder for all of us, individually and institutionally, to redouble our efforts to build bridges with people of all faiths, races, and classes. Only then, will we stand—in all our diversity of opinions—as a united front against hatred, injustice and brutality, locally and abroad. Finally, we pray that our respective communities will be inspired to exemplify the Prophetic values of justice, compassion and courage in working together to bring a lasting peace to our community here and to our sacred region of the world.
Jewish-Muslim Community Building Initiative, Co-Chairs, Rabbi Asher
Lopatin and Rabbi Andrea London
Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago
Inner-City Muslim Action Network
Jewish Labor Committee, Stuart Appelbaum, President,
Mike Perry, Chicago Chair
Muslim Bar Association
Islamic Society of Northwest Suburbs
Aliza Becker, Brit Tzedek v’Shalom
Imam Senad Agic, Islamic Cultural Center, Northbrook
Rabbi Lisa Bellow, Congregation Beth Am, Buffalo Grove
Rabbi Simcha Bob, Aitz Chaim, Lombard
Rabbi Herbert Bronstein, Rabbi Emeritus North Shore Congregation
Rabbi Paul Cohen, Temple Jeremiah, Northfield
Rabbi Shoshanah Conover, Temple Sholom of Chicago
Rabbi Darryl Crystal, KAM Isaiah Israel, Chicago
Rabbi Bruce Elder, Congregation Hakafa
Rabbi Capers Funnye, Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation
Rabbi Wendi Geffen, North Shore Congregation Israel, Glencoe
Tabassum Haleem, Executive Director, Organization of Islamic Speakers, Midwest
Rabbi Sidney Helbraun, Beth El, Northbrook
Dr. Hesham A. Hassaballa, co-author, The Beliefnet Guide to Islam
Rabbi Peter Knobel, Beth Emet Synagogue, Evanston, president Central
Conference of American Rabbis
Rabbi Jonathan Magidovitch, Congregation B’nai Torah
Rabbi Steve Mason, North Shore Congregation Israel, Glencoe
M. Khalid Mozaffar
Ayesha K. Mustafaa, Editor, Muslim Journal newspaper, Homewood
Camille Odeh, Executive Director, Southwest Youth Collaborative, Chicago, Illinois
Rabbi David Oler, Beth Or, Deerfield
Rabbi Aaron Mark Petuchowski, Temple Sholom of Chicago
Jane Ramsey, Executive Director, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
Rabbi Brant Rosen, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, Evanston
Amina Saeed, president-elect, Muslim Bar Association
Rabbi Dov Taylor, Congregation Solel
Rabbi Jeffrey Weill, Temple Beth-El
Rabbi Michael Weinberg, Temple Beth Israel, Skokie
Rabbi Michael Zedek, Emmanuel Congregation
Rabbi Marc Berkson
Rabbi Herbert Bronstein
Rabbi Miriam Burg
Rabbi Ellen Dreyfus
Rabbi Laurence Edwards
Rabbi Suzanne Griffel
Rabbi Robert J. Marx
Eboo Patel, author Acts of Faith
Rabbi David Sandmel
Rabbi Michael Stevens
Rabbi Ira Youdovin