In recent weeks the Jewish calendar has reminded us we must fight for the oppressed, and to never forget how powerful hate can be in the hands of evil. The themes of Passover and Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) resonate deeply against the backdrop of current events and continue to offer valuable lessons in how we conduct ourselves as a community. It is our responsibility as Jews to be up-standers and speak out against injustice, violence and hate. 

We have all seen the tragic news about attacks and murders of Asians and Asian Americans in recent months in Georgia, in California, in New York City, and in too many other places around the nation. Sadly, this is only the most recent chapter in a long and painful history of anti-AAPI racism. We know from the Black Lives Matter movement that silence = violence so we must speak out. 

Therefore, Havurah is making this public statement of support for and solidarity with the Asian community here in Vermont. But that’s just the beginning.  At this hard moment in our history, authentic support means being true allies in action. Just as it is wrong to stand by when someone is bullied, we must push ourselves to leave the sidelines and engage. For those already well along in this practice, we are grateful. 

When the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh was attacked and innocent Jewish Americans were murdered, the voices of support of our non-Jewish brothers and sisters mattered a great deal to all of us. The silence of others was truly hurtful. We need to remember and pay the blessing of solidarity forward, especially as we reflect on the deepest meaning of our holidays and their demand for social justice and social responsibility, not just for the Jewish people but for all of humanity.

Havurah’s Mission Statement:  Havurah of Addison County is an inclusive, non-denominational Jewish community serving Vermont towns between Burlington and Rutland. We are a volunteer-driven and lay-led congregation seeking to create unique Jewish experiences for a community with a rich diversity of backgrounds. Our membership is composed of individuals and families from all walks and stages of life including interfaith and LGBTQ+ communities. 

Given our inclusive mission statement, we feel that we can do no less. This is our issue too. Anti-Asian violence and racism must end.   

Mark Stefani
Matt Utterback 

On behalf of the Havurah Leadership