NEW YORK – Following the horrific Wednesday night attack on a historic African American South Carolina church, the Rabbinical Assembly released the following statement, expressing their condolences to the community and condemnation of such crimes spurred by hate and prejudice.
The Rabbinical Assembly is horrified by the brutal attack that took place at an African American church in downtown Charleston, SC Wednesday evening. The act, deemed a hate crime by Charleston police, is an act of true evil, murdering and terrorizing individuals in a house of worship, a place meant for peace, prayer and serenity. We are deeply disturbed that someone would violate the sanctity of the church in the name of prejudice.
Hateful, violent acts such as this have no place in our society, in a country known for its diversity and blending of various cultures. No individual should be made to feel unsafe because of his religion, race or ethnicity. As our Jewish tradition teaches us, ‘lo ta'amod al dam re'eikha’— do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor (Leviticus 19:16). Our thoughts and prayers go out to all members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, their families and friends, and the entire Charleston community.