The Jewish Response to Racism

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, another pandemic has taken to the streets. Cities are burning across the U.S., filled with people protesting racism, including angry mobs looting and violently attacking police and innocent store owners. How should we be reacting to all of this? We are all appalled at the blatant killing of George Floyd by a police officer. But what is a healthy and legitimate response? Besides for demanding justice, is it justifiable to disrupt entire communities? Should violence be met with violence, crime with crime? 

How do we fight racism and oppression? Do we wage war or do we surrender? Do we pray or do we escape? Is there a long-term solution to prejudice and discrimination?

The best answer for any dilemma, especially one as serious and long-term as this, is to look back at history and see how hatred and persecution was addressed in the past, who was successful at dealing with it, and what results it yielded. The Jewish people are the best model to turn to in such times. Close to four millennia the Jews suffered every possible form of oppression and abuse — enslavement, forced labor, discrimination, expulsion, extermination. From the Egyptian bondage to the destruction wreaked by the Babylonians and the Romans, from the Crusades to the Inquisition, from the Middle Age massacres to the pogroms to the Holocaust, there is barely a period in which Jews weren’t under attack. How did they survive? How did they thrive? How did they endure and outlast all their persecutors, and become the great nation they are till this very day, influencing the world far beyond their numbers?

Join Rabbi Simon Jacobson is this critically important and timely program and discover what 3800 years of time-tested history and wisdom teaches us about growing through oppression, and becoming the greatest possible people we can be.

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4 years ago

Beautiful talk Rabbi. Thank you and Gd bless. May your words penetrate our hearts

Erika kish
4 years ago

Ant abuse of power needs to be brought to justice

Cena Abergel
4 years ago

Rabbi. Please help! I think you made a reference in the past week regarding how in the Torah it says first that we need to have judges and police and later says we need judges and counselors!! I need to find that reference again!! Please help. It’s very important and I want to get it correct.

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