From The President's Desk

For the past year – and particularly over the past few weeks – all of us have struggled with the troubling rise of intolerance we have seen in our country.

From hateful public discourse to threatening anonymous graffiti to offensive online attacks, and then the shocking events last month in Charlottesville, we have been forced to confront challenges to our collective safety and security.

Linda Hurwitz, Senator Ben Cardin, Marc B. TerrillTogether, we have vowed that as a Baltimore Jewish community we must do our part to fight against anti-Semitism, racism, bigotry and hatred. We organized a community forum with our Attorney General and other leaders and experts to talk about combatting hate crimes. We have spoken out on behalf of our community, as well as in support of our friends in other communities when they have been targeted. We continue to invest increasing resources in the security of the many institutions across Maryland.

Earlier today, we were proud to partner with U.S. Senator Ben Cardin to further expand this work. We joined with the Senator in hosting almost 75 faith and community leaders from across the region at The Associated for a roundtable conversation titled “Uniting Our Community After Charlottesville – Continuing the Conversation on Diversity and Inclusion.”

“There is a lot of energy out there that has been created,” Senator Cardin told the group. “If we can listen to each other, we can establish ways we can collectively be more effective.”

Rabbi Steven Fink of Temple Oheb Shalom spoke of the concluding words from this past Shabbat’s Torah portion – “You must not remain indifferent” – as a call to action. “We as religious leaders and as Americans must mobilize the entire religious community and all of the community,” Rabbi Fink said.

“We cannot allow the events in Charlottesville to become normalized, to become who we are as a country,” said Diane Bell-McKoy, president and CEO of Associated Black Charities. “We must come together, use our faith, use what we know, to talk about the root causes. We must be willing to have the most difficult conversations that we have not had as a country.”

As we move ahead, we pledge that both The Associated and the Baltimore Jewish Council will continue to play vital roles in convening and participating in conversations like the one we had today with Senator Cardin. The most effective way for us to combat hate and discrimination is to stand up with our friends of other faiths and communities and say that we believe in equity and justice for all.

Shabbat Shalom! – Marc B. Terrill, Linda A. Hurwitz, Howard Libit, Abba David Poliakoff

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