Friday, February 24, 2023

Statement from the Jewish Clergy of New Hampshire regarding the recent antisemitic and hate incidents in Portsmouth:


We, Jewish Clergy of New Hampshire, are distressed by recent vandalism against the Jewish community, people of color and those publicly expressing inclusive and loving values in Portsmouth, following similar acts in Manchester and Concord. We are aware that this Saturday, February 25, has been declared a Day of Hate by some who hide in the shadows of the internet. We pledge to act against such provocation, supporting the Temple Israel community (Portsmouth), and all those in NH’s seacoast communities who have suffered from outbreaks of senseless hatred.

In synagogues worldwide this week, the reading from our holiest text, the Torah, describes our ancestors’ determination to make a dwelling place suitable in every detail for God’s presence in the world. This project later becomes the blueprint for the building of Solomon’s Temple. In that magnificent structure, care was taken that its massive stones were not cut by hammers, axes, or iron tools since these could be used to foment violence and make implements of war. Later rabbis were confident that rock could be cut by other means compatible with the ways of peace, even imagining worm-like creatures with laser-like properties doing the job. This fantastic imagery inspires the compelling proposition that violence can always be surmounted.

Today it is the Jewish community and open-hearted business owners. Tomorrow it could be any other community in our state. May we respond by continuing to build and nurture relationships devoted to peace, not only with great resolve but with great ingenuity. We understand that hatred leads only to destruction and that our world only exists because it was founded on love. We acknowledge that our collective work is to continue to build that place for the Divine to dwell within us.