JTS Denounces Anti-Asian Violence

With profound dismay and a sense of urgency of the moment, The Jewish Theological Seminary denounces the waves of violence that have been directed against Americans of Asian and Pacific Island heritage. Brutal crimes motivated by bias against minority groups are especially heinous, and the law properly recognizes that they call for additional zealousness in prosecuting and punishing them. We join the many other religious institutions and minority defense associations who are calling on law enforcement agencies everywhere to use all of their powers to identify and apprehend those who are committing these crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. We also sound the alarm, for all of us who are citizens, to become aware of the many ways in which we still allow prejudice to thrive in America, and to do all that is in our power to make our fellow Americans feel safe in their country.

As an academic institution in which Jewish history is studied and taught, we are well aware of the terrors that can be visited on a minority community in times of national stress, be it war, economic depression, or pandemic. We have reason to know of these terrors. And precisely because of that, our religious tradition has always instructed us to understand with compassion the fears and the losses others endure, and to act with resolve to combat them. As the prayer for our government and society, recited each Sabbath, declares: “God, whose spirit is in all creatures, we pray that Your spirit be awakened within all the inhabitants of our land. Uproot from our hearts hatred and malice, jealousy and strife. Plant love and companionship, peace and friendship, among the many peoples and faiths who dwell in our nation.” May justice and security come for our fellow Americans who today live in fear.