Our Neighbor’s Blood Calls to Us From the Ground

Los Angeles Reform Jewish Clergy Respond to the Killing of George Floyd
June 11, 2020Rabbi Jocee Hudson

This statement was written by Rabbi Jocee Hudson from Temple Israel of Hollywood. More than sixty Reform Jewish clergy have signed on to the statement.

The Eternal said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?"
And he said, "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?"
Then God said, "What have you done? Your brother's blood cries out to Me from the ground! (Genesis 4:9-11)

As George Floyd lay on the ground, a police officer’s knee crushing his neck, cutting off his oxygen, choking him, as Mr. Floyd called out “Mama,” as he pleaded the same words as Eric Garner moaned almost six years ago, “I can’t breathe,” we confronted once again a true evil of our society.

Not all lives are valued equally.

We are a country that is rooted in institutional racism. We are a country that from our inception counted slaves as 3/5 a human being, that has oppressed and committed acts of violence against Black people and People of Color, and that continues to fail in our ability to extend the same sense of security and safety to all our citizens.

Black people are being killed in our streets.

Today, we, a coalition of sixty-one Reform Rabbis and Cantors of Los Angeles, proclaim in a unified voice: We are responsible. We are responsible for the lives of our brothers and sisters, of our neighbors, and of each other. We hear the voice of God and our tradition thundering: “Your brother's blood cries out to Me from the ground!”

The voice of the Eternal, which is lodged deep within each of us, which recognizes the common humanity in us all, compels us to hear the call to action.

The murder of George Floyd, the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, and the murder of Breonna Taylor – these are not isolated events. Rather, they represent generations of victims of systemic racism, lynchings, and state-sanctioned violence against Black people and People of Color.

And, we say, as one voice: Enough.

In Los Angeles, the next steps are clear.

First, we stand in solidarity and stand side by side with all those in our city who exercise their First Amendment Rights and demand change. We are one with all those who march in non-violent protests and who bear witness to the pain and violence committed against Black people and all People of Color. We also denounce all acts of violence on our streets – whether from police, protestors, or third parties – and echo the calls of so many faith and civic leaders for peace. 

Second, we applaud Mayor Garcetti and City Councilor Herb Wesson for proposals to shift $120 to $150 million from the operating budget of the Los Angeles Police Department to benefit communities of color in Los Angeles. But the Police Department’s budget makes up 54% of the City’s general budget, and so this transfer of 6-8% of the Police Department’s budget is only a first step. We call on Mayor Garcetti and Members of the Los Angeles City Council to shift more city funds from policing to invest in communities, families, and youth, especially in communities of color.

Finally, we call upon our national leaders to govern with courage and compassion, to fulfill their most basic role in our country: To represent all of us, to act in the best interest of all of us, and to see it as their fundamental duty to care for all of us.

Our neighbor’s blood cries out to us from the ground.

And, we weep over all the terror that has been inflicted. And we rage at the injustices in our midst. And we pray for shalom. And we act for change.

Join us.

Rabbi

Jonathan

Aaron

Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills

Rabbi

Joshua

Aaronson

Temple Judea

Tarzana

Rabbi

Adam

Allenberg

Hebrew Union College

Los Angeles

Cantor

Perryne

Anker

Temple Israel

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Sarah

Bassin

Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills

Rabbi

Karen

Bender

LA Jewish Home

Reseda

Rabbi

Lisa

Berney

Leo Baeck Temple

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Anne

Brener

Academy for Jewish Religion California

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Max

Chaiken

Congregation Kol Ami

West Hollywood

Rabbi

Ken

Chasen

Leo Baeck Temple

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Jaclyn

Cohen

Temple Isaiah

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Bill

Cutter

Hebrew Union College

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Calvin

Dox-DaCosta

Temple Israel of Hollywood

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Lisa

Edwards

Beth Chayim Chadashim (BCC)

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Denise

Eger

Congregation Kol Ami

West Hollywood

Rabbi

Morley

Feinstein

University Synagogue

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Karen

Fox

Wilshire Boulevard Temple

Los Angeles

Cantor

Shelly

Fox

Temple Israel of Hollywood

Los Angeles

Cantor

Jay

Frailich

University Synagogue

Los Angeles

Ms.

Ellen

Franklin

Temple Judea

Tarzana

Rabbi

Allen

Freehling

University Synagogue

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Dara

Frimmer

Temple Isaiah

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Laura

Geller

Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills

Rabbi

Donald

Goor

Temple Judea

Tarzana

Rabbi

Jon

Hanish

Kol Tikvah

Woodland Hills

Rabbi

Becky

Hoffman

Kol Tikvah

Woodland Hills

Rabbi

Sarah

Hronsky

Temple Beth Hillel

Valley Village

Rabbi

Jocee

Hudson

Temple Israel of Hollywood

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Steven

Jacobs

Central Conference of American Rabbis

Sacramento

Rabbi

Cassi

Kail

Temple Beth El

San Pedro

Cantor

Linda

Kates

Leo Baeck Temple

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Jim

Kaufman

Temple Beth Hillel & interfaith solidarity network

North Hollywood

Rabbi

Paul

Kipnes

Congregation Or Ami

Calabasas

Rabbi

Zoe

Klein

Temple Isaiah

Los Angeles

Cantor

Yonah

Kliger

Temple Judea

Tarzana

Rabbi

Josh

Knobel

Stephen Wise

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Susan

Laemmle

retired from USC Religious Life

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Sari

Laufer

Stephen Wise Temple

Los Angeles

Cantor

Patti

Linsky

Leo Baeck Temple

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Adam

Lutz

Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills

Beverly Hills

Rabbi

Barry

Lutz

University Synagogue

Los Angeles

Cantor

Emma

Lutz

Stephen Wise Temple

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Bernard

M Cohen

Rabbi Emirates Temple Judea

Tarzana

Rabbi

Michelle

Missaghieh

Temple Israel of Hollywood

Los Angeles

Cantor

Lisa

Peicott

Wilshire Boulevard Temple

Los Angeles

Cantor

Juval

Porat

Beth Chayim Chadashim

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Bruce

Raff

Temple Judea

Tarzana

Cantor Emerita

Aviva

Rosenbloom

Temple Israel of Hollywood

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Eric

Rosenstein

Temple Judea

Tarzana

Rabbi

John

Rosove

Temple Israel of Hollywood

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Benjamin

Ross

Leo Baeck temple

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Julie

Saxe-Taller

California Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Joel

Simonds

Jewish Center for Justice

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Alyson

Solomon

Beth Chayim Chadashim

Los Angeles

Cantor

Kerith

Spencer-Shapiro

University Synagogue

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Ron

Stern

Stephen Wise Temple

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Carrie

Vogel

Kehillat Israel

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Dvora

Weisberg

Hebrew Union College

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Julia

Weisz

Congregation Or Ami

Calabasas

Mr.

Lee

Winkelman

California Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Los Angeles

Rabbi

Yoshi

Zweiback

Stephen Wise Temple

Los Angeles

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