Rabbi Weiss - BLM Rally

Rabbi Max Weiss of OPT speaks at Oak Park Black Lives Matter rally.

The Commission on Social Action is not the only URJ organization that weighs in on critical issues of the day. I want to share with you the work of the North American Board of Trustees, URJ’s governing body.

Last month in San Antonio, the Board adopted a resolution that concentrated on the role of the police in the wake of the shootings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and similar incidents. In many ways, it is a follow-up to a resolution adopted in at the North American Biennial in Orlando in 1999,  “Race and the Criminal Justice System.” The text of which is available here.

The resolution supports law enforcement and the arduous tasks it performs every day to strengthen our communities. But it goes much farther than that. It calls for the return to basic community policing and advocates for reforms in the grand jury system. It also encourages synagogues to set up and sustain relationships with diverse racial, ethnic and economic sectors of their communities, participate in community-based dialogues pertaining to race and community-police relations, and work to enhance violence prevention and conflict resolution procedures.

The full text of this important resolution is attached here.

We took a critical step in fulfilling part of this by participating in the recent “Black Lives Matter” rally in Scoville Park. But the work doesn’t end there. As we enter 2015, let us continue to strive to nurture relationships with other local clergy and activists to visibly and meaningfully address inequality and racism.

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