A Joint Statement in Rejection of Bigotry and Hatred

A STATEMENT FROM THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF NASHVILLE AND MIDDLE TENNESSEE AND ITS COMMUNITY RELATIONS COMMITTEE, JEWISH CONGREGATIONS AND OTHER LOCAL JEWISH ORGANIZATIONS

On October 28 two communities near to Nashville, our neighbors in Shelbyville and Murfreesboro, will be the sites of rallies planned by several white supremacist hate groups. These groups promote a racist, anti-Semitic, anti-immigrant agenda. Their sole purpose is to incite hatred targeted at African Americans, Jews, immigrants, refugees and other minority faith, racial and ethnic groups.

The Jewish Federation and its Community Relations Committee along with Nashville’s local congregations and other local Jewish organizations condemn, in the strongest possible terms, the despicable messages and activities of these hate-filled groups which seek to undermine the strength, vitality and cohesiveness of our diverse communities in Middle Tennessee.

We call upon all people of good will to reject the pernicious messages of white supremacy, white nationalism, anti-Semitism and other forms of religious, racial and ethnic bigotry that will be on open and full display in Shelbyville and Murfreesboro on October 28. While their utterances are protected free speech it still remains our right and obligation to condemn and reject such speech in the strongest manner possible. At the same time, we call for restraint from potential counter protestors who, in their passion to reject the messages of hate speech, could find themselves in violent confrontation that only serves the purposes of the hate groups and provides them with the attention they seek but do not deserve.

Therefore, we reach out and appeal to our valued partners in other ethnic and religious communities to join us in forcefully condemning the planned events of the white supremacist hate groups in Shelbyville and Murfreesboro. We urge individuals, families and friends to join together in prayer and fellowship in churches, synagogues and mosques to communicate our common message—that together we will combat all forms of bigotry and hatred. We stand united in rejecting the assault of hate that stains our communities. By showing respect for all and ensuring our ability to continue to live in peace with the dignity that we are all entitled to enjoy we will not allow purveyors of hatred to disrupt the sacred bonds of community harmony.

Jewish Federation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee
Community Relations Committee of the Jewish Federation
Anti-Defamation League
Congregation Beit Tefilah Chabad
Congregation Micah
Congregation Sherith Israel
The Temple-Congregation Ohabai Sholom
West End Synagogue
Nashville Jewish Social Justice Roundtable
National Council of Jewish Women, Nashville Section
Nashville Chapter of Hadassah
Akiva School
Gordon Jewish Community Center
Jewish Family Service
Vanderbilt Chabad
Vanderbilt Hillel

NJSJR Position Statement on Mass Incarceration

“You are slow to anger and quick to be appeased. For you do not desire the death of the condemned, rather, that they turn from their path and live and you wait for them until the day of their death, and if they repent, you receive them immediately.” (Machzor, Unetane Tokef)

NJSJR ADOPTS THE FOLLOWING STATEMENTS ON MASS INCARCERATION PUBLISHED BY THE AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION ON ITS WEBSITE (accessed on November 4, 2016).

“The United States incarcerates almost 25 percent of the prisoners in the entire world despite having only 5 percent of the world’s population. Hundreds of thousands of people are locked up not because of any dangerous behavior, but because they could not pay off a fine or were convicted of a nonviolent drug or property crime. These people are disproportionately poor people and people of color.

Racial bias, both implicit and explicit, keeps more people of color in prisons and on probation than ever before. One in three black men can expect to be incarcerated in his lifetime. Compare that to one in six Latino males and one in 17 white males. The effect of the War on Drugs on communities of color has been tragic. At no other point in U.S. history have so many people—disproportionately people of color—been deprived of their liberty.

Drug arrests now account for a quarter of the people locked up in America, but drug use rates have remained steady. Over the last 40 years, we have spent trillions of dollars on the failed and ineffective War on Drugs. Drug use has not declined, while millions of people—disproportionately poor people and people of color—have been caged and then branded with criminal records that pose barriers to employment, housing, and stability.

Problems like mental illness, substance use disorders, and homelessness are more appropriately addressed outside of the criminal justice system altogether. Services like drug treatment and affordable housing cost less and can have a better record of success. It’s time we got serious about pulling our money out of incarceration and putting it into systems that foster healthy communities.

Incarceration triggers a cascade of imperiled rights not only for former prisoners, who face disenfranchisement, denial of housing, the inability to find work and food insecurity, but also for their dependents. Mass incarceration of people of color have devastating and debilitating effects on communities of color.”

NOTE: This text is copywritten, so any references to it should be attributed to the American Civil Liberties Union.