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At Vigil, DC Jewish Community Condemns Tel Aviv Attack on LGBT Community Center

Pelavin: “We remember too many violent acts here at home and abroad, too many children taken from parents, too many parents taken from children, and too many families and communities shaken and terrorized by hate.”

Contact: Kate Bigam or Jason Fenster
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

WASHINGTON, DC, August 3, 2009 – Mark Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, tonight joined a vast range of Jewish voices, including Reform and Orthodox rabbis, DC policy leaders and community activists, in a vigil to mourn and condemn the brutal attack Saturday at the Aguda LGBT community center headquarters in Tel Aviv that left two dead and at least 10 injured. Those attending the vigil called for an end to hate-motivated violence. Text of Pelavin’s speech follows:

We gather here tonight to mourn, to remember, and to make a promise. Here tonight, we mourn the inextricable reality of hate. We mourn the persistence of apathy in the face of intolerance. But above all, we mourn the loss of two young Israelis who, while seeking love and support, were met with terror and violence.

Here tonight, we remember the lives of Liz Trobishi and Nir Katz. Zichronam livracha, may their memories be for blessing. We think of their families, friends, and loved ones who are left to pick up the pieces of lives that were needlessly taken. We remember too many violent acts here at home and abroad, too many children taken from parents, too many parents taken from children, and too many families and communities shaken and terrorized by hate.

But here tonight, we also make a promise. A promise to preach respect. A promise to seek justice, to speak for righteousness, and to always, always demand equality. A promise to proclaim that bigotry and hatred have no place in our society and that love and tolerance are our cherished religious values. Values that cannot be compromised and cannot be shaken. Values that do not falter in the face of violence and hate.

The Jewish community knows all too well the dangers of failing to recognize hate crimes for what they are: acts designed to target and terrorize an entire community. We applaud the resolve of the Israeli government to bring to justice the gunman whose heinous act reminds us of the ever-present need to combat hatred.  

Where can we seek comfort at moments like this? From one another. And so despite the feelings of anger, frustration, and sadness that envelope our hearts, we gather here tonight – to mourn, to remember, and above all, to offer our own solemn promise that none of us will rest until all of us are safe.”

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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 1,800 Reform rabbis.



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