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May 2015

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In response to the U.S. Senate passing a budget yesterday that would cut vital programs for the poor and repeal the Affordable Care Act, RAC Director Rabbi Jonah Pesner issued the following statement:

Over the last week, thousands of protesters took to the streets of Tel Aviv to protest discrimination and unequal treatment by law enforcement against the Ethiopian minority in Israel.

by Rabbi Jen Gubitz

A version of these remarks was delivered by Rabbi Jen Gubitz on May 1, 2015 at Temple Shir Tikva in Wayland, MA. 

It was an image out of a utopian movie. Children seated in organized rows. Some dressed in traditional African garments. A vast array of what you could see: skin tones, hair color, height - and, of course, a vast array of what you could not see: religion, ability, disability, personality, and socio economics.  Children all singing together: “Jambo, Jambo, Jambo, sana, jambo. Jambo, jambo, jambo watato, jambo.” This was a 1974 song by Ella Jenkins using basic Swahili that meant: “Hello, hello, hello, everybody, hello” sung as part of the yearly celebration focused each year on a different part of the world - this time Africa.

A tragedy in the city of Baltimore and the protests and riots that followed have once again refocused national attention on race, class, and unequal treatment under the law. Even as Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced last Friday that charges would be brought against the police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray, RAC staff were en route to nearby Baltimore to stand with our partners in a peaceful protest calling for accountability and reform in law enforcement.