The Latest from BZBI

Letter to the Community at this Heartbreaking Time

May 31, 2020

We are writing today to share our love and concern in this intense, heartbreaking and frightening moment in our neighborhood, our city, and our country.

We are here for you, to listen and to support you with all you may be feeling and carrying. We will be holding a special Mindful Maariv this evening at 8:00 PM, to pray for peace and healing in our city. You can access this service through our regular Zoom Minyan link; if you have not already registered, use this link

Our hearts ache for the injustices being done against people of color in this country, who are dying disproportionately from both violence and from the COVID-19 pandemic. We mourn the shattering of black lives, and bear witness to the collective and individual traumas of the black community. We are sickened by the acts of racism, whether overt or implicit, that shape everyday experience for people of color. We mourn the cruel death of George Floyd among countless other lives lost to systemic racism in America.

We are shaken to see the destruction in our neighborhood that took place yesterday, even as we are grateful that our community members and our synagogue are safe.

We are committed to working beside our neighbors for racial justice and economic dignity, to standing with those who are most vulnerable as we find a way forward together. As our teacher Rabbi Shai Held reminds us, the mitzvah to love your neighbor as yourself speaks of love as a behavior more than a feeling.

We invite you to join us this Wednesday, June 3, for BZBI Presents: A Discussion with Chad Dion Lassiter. Mr. Lassiter is Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and nationally recognized in the fields of American race relations and violence prevention among African-American males. This event, co-sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, is the final session of the discussion series Confronting Racism as Jews, facilitated by JCRC Director Rabbi Batya Glazer, and all are welcome to participate, even if you have not taken part in earlier sessions.

We hope to see many of you in our Zoom chapel this evening. Please reach out to one of us if you have any questions or concerns.

With blessings for peace in our city, and safety for all people created in the image of God.

Rabbi Abe Friedman
Senior Rabbi

Rabbi Annie Lewis
Associate Rabbi

Rabbi Ira Stone
Rabbi Emeritus

Dr. Rebecca Slavin-Phillips
Executive Director