Konar Center for Tolerance and Jewish Studies

Greater Rochester Community Interfaith Call to Action on Anti-Semitism

February 4, 2020

Dear Community and Friends,

As people of faith, we have come together to share with you the deep concern in our hearts. The ongoing anti-Semitic violence in New York City and beyond will not leave our thoughts; its impact has hurt us deeply.

Part of the reason this hate hits home is because we are so aware of having just experienced the joy, contemplation and celebration of winter holidays that beckon us to pause and reflect upon the virtues and values which we hold most dear. They invite us to find gratitude in our blessings big and small, and to release kindness into our homes and into our communities. For all our differences, this season of generosity of spirit calls each of us to bear witness to what is right, just and good. Each of the holidays and our celebrations call on us to embody what it means to be human beings at our best.

We are speaking out in unison to make clear that anti-Semitism, as all forms of racial and religious hatred, is unacceptable to each and every one of us. It is imperative to spread the message of interfaith caring, concern, and allyship.

And so we are wrestling mightily with how to respond in meaningful and effective ways to these violent, hate-filled acts that stand in stark contrast to everything Judaism is about, in stark contrast to the meaning of living a Jewish life, and in stark contrast to the aspirations faith raises for us in so many traditions. We are thinking deeply about how to better focus our teaching, our activities, our sermons, our events, our programming, our outreach, our interactions with one another.

Thus, we call upon all people of good will, across the city of Rochester and beyond, to step forward with their ideas, energy and hope.

Kindest regards,

Muhammad Shafiq, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Hickey Center for Interfaith Studies and Dialogue

Hava Leipzig Holzhauer, J.D.
Executive Director, Konar Center for Tolerance and Jewish Studies

Jamie R. Fazio, M.Div.
Director, Nazareth College Center for Spirituality

Susan E. Nowak, SSJ, Ph.D.
William H. Shannon Chair of Catholic Studies, Nazareth College

Call to Action Letter