NEW YORK, NEW YORK (July 19, 2023)
New York, NY – Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal, CEO of the Rabbinical Assembly, the international association of Conservative/Masorti rabbis, and of United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, issued the following statement on Israeli President Isaac Herzog's address to the US Congress, which he attended:
"The Rabbinical Assembly and USCJ applaud Israeli President Isaac Herzog's address to a joint session of the United States Congress. As President Herzog quoted from our movement’s great teacher, Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, ‘To be is to stand up for.’ We commend President Herzog for demonstrating his commitment to our shared Jewish and democratic values. As his speech duly noted, human rights, civil liberties, the protection of minorities, and an independent judiciary are cherished values present in Jewish scripture and within our respective nations' declarations of independence.
"The timing of President Herzog's speech coincides with Israel's 75th anniversary and the beginning of the Hebrew month of Av, traditionally a period of mourning for the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem and the exile of the Jewish people. After 2000 years of exile and hardship, the State of Israel has prospered, making the desert bloom and becoming the ‘start-up nation.’ The United States’ and Israel's joint efforts through the Abraham Accords to promote peace, cooperation, and stability in the Middle East are a welcome development. As are efforts ongoing to confront regional threats emanating from Iran.
“The relationship and shared democratic ideals between the U.S. and Israel supersedes individual administrations and policies.
"As President Herzog highlighted in his speech, the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is the quotation from Leviticus, ‘Proclaim liberty throughout the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof.’ The founders of the United States and Israel believed in the principles of Liberty, Equality, and Freedom. They also were not under the impression that the maintenance of a free society is easy. Defending our fundamental values, institutions, and rights requires vigilance and courage.
We are grateful for President Herzog's efforts to bring Israeli society together, to preserve Israel's independent judiciary, and to defend the Jewish and democratic character of the Jewish homeland."