To the Hampshire Mosque Community, Islamic Society of Western Massachusetts, and Pioneer Valley Progressive Muslims from Rabbis of the Pioneer Valley:
As a Jewish community, we wanted to convey our deep dismay over the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the travel ban affecting people from predominantly Muslim countries, while at the same time we want to affirm the solidarity and deeply meaningful relationships we have built between our communities. As Jews, many of our ancestors came to this country as refugees, and even several generations later, we carry this historical memory that informs our sense of justice in this current moment. And beyond our particular set of experiences, we deplore the discrimination now given legal legitimacy as people who believe in fundamental dignity and the assurances of the U.S. Constitution.
Ultimately, though, we believe in the power of relationships to create change in our society and to add untold richness to people’s lives. In this vein, we are grateful for and proud of the opportunities for connection we have sought out in recent years. The opportunities for dialogue through presentations and classes, shared celebrations, solidarity rallies, and the ongoing Shalom-Salaam sisterhood have created an enduring bond between our communities. The recent interfaith Iftar at the Islamic Society, and the celebration in the fall hosted by the Hampshire Mosque, felt like family gatherings, and we were immensely honored to be invited and participate.
While dispiriting, perhaps this decision can be another opportunity to draw closer so as to set an example of mutual understanding and respect. We are proud of the relationships we have built, and look forward to the ways in which we will work, learn, and celebrate together in the year ahead, standing with you in friendship and solidarity.
In a spirit of peace and love we send our warmest wishes for the health and well-being of your entire communities.
L’shalom, in Peace and Friendship,
Rabbi Justin David, Congregation B’nai Israel, Northampton
Rabbi Riqi Kosovske, Beit Ahavah Reform Synagogue of Greater Northampton, Florence
Rabbi Benjamin Weiner, Jewish Community of Amherst
Rabbi Devorah Jacobson, Healthcare Chaplain
Rabbi Howard Kosovske and Rabbi Jeremy Master, Sinai Temple, Springfield
Rabbi James Greene, Springfield Jewish Community Center
Rabbi Amy Katz, Temple Beth El of Springfield
Rabbi Andrea Cohen-Kiener, Temple Israel of Greenfield