October 25, 2014 · 1 Cheshvan

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Reform Jewish Leader Responds to New Orleans Mayor Comments Linking God and Destruction from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
In response to the comments made by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin stating "Surely God is mad at America. He sent us hurricane after hurricane after hurricane, and it's destroyed and put stress on this country," Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement noting, “Mayor Nagin’s comments yesterday, suggesting that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck our land because, ‘God is mad at America’ are offensive, misguided, and perhaps even more to the point, a distraction at a time when our nation is trying to rebound and recover from these horrific natural disasters.”

Contact: Alexis Rice or Jason Kleinman at202.387.2800

Washington - January 17, 2006 - In response to the comments made by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin stating "Surely God is mad at America. He sent us hurricane after hurricane after hurricane, and it's destroyed and put stress on this country," Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

The natural disasters that struck the Central Gulf Coast in 2005 were truly a tragedy. We mourn the loss of life, the separation of families, the destruction of homes and livelihoods and the continued dislocation of the hurricanes’ victims. We continue to pray for those who lost so much as they experience pain and suffering beyond what many of us could ever imagine.

Mayor Nagin’s comments yesterday, suggesting that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita struck our land because, “God is mad at America” are offensive, misguided, and perhaps even more to the point, a distraction at a time when our nation is trying to rebound and recover from these horrific natural disasters. Anyone – whether a rabbi in Israel, evangelical preachers in the United States, or the Mayor of New Orleans – who seeks to use the tragedy of the hurricanes to interpret the will of God does a disservice to the victims of the disaster, included among them so many people of faith. We must focus on rebuilding and improving the lives of those affected by the hurricanes and on learning how to mitigate the damage from future natural disasters, and not waste time or energy assigning blame in God’s name.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis.



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