Opinions & Commentary

Rabbis come to the defense of a colleague under fire

We write in defense of our colleague Rabbi Eric Gurvis. Rabbi Gurvis leads Temple Shalom of Newton, is the past president of the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis, Boston Area Reform Rabbis and currently serves as the president of the Newton Clergy Association. He is a distinguished teacher and respected community leader.

We were shocked and appalled by the vicious, personal attack written by Charles Jacobs and printed in

The Jewish A dvocate. We denounce this attack and call upon Mr. Jacobs to discontinue his destructive campaign against Boston’s Muslim community, which is based on innuendo, half-truths and unproven conspiracy theories. We call upon members of our community to reject the dangerous politics of division that Mr. Jacobs fosters.

Rabbi Gurvis stood with a number of us at a recent interfaith press conference, denouncing the inappropriate words of a gubernatorial candidate who implied that addressing a large group of Muslims was “pandering to terrorists.” Just as we rabbis would expect Christians and Muslims to stand with us Jews if we were unjustly held accountable for the actions of a handful of our people, Rabbi Gurvis stood with our Muslim neighbors. In fact, he pointed out that when Temple Shalom was defaced by a swastika, one of the first calls he received was from Bilal Kaleem from the Muslim American Society.

During these difficult times, Rabbi Gurvis, along with other courageous religious leaders, is attempting to foster a different kind of politics. We support his commitment to interfaith dialogue and cooperation. We stand together in our commitment to a community in which neighbors seek to know one another and join together for the common good.

We write these words following the week in which the Torah portion was Shelach Lecha. It tells the stories of the Israelite scouts who were overcome by fear. As a result, they “spread calumnies” among the entire Israelite camp, who in turn broke out into loud cries and weeping. Because they succumbed to their fears, G-d condemned this generation to die in the wilderness. We refuse to allow Mr. Jacobs to spread his calumnies and paralyze our community in fear.

We the undersigned rabbis support Rabbi Eric Gurvis and walk together in faith. (Institutional affiliations are listed for identification purposes only.)
Rabbi Thomas Alpert
Rabbi Sharon Cohen Anisfeld
(dean, Rabbinical School, Hebrew College)
Rabbi Stephen Arnold
Rabbi Lev Baesh (B’nai Or, Newton)
Rabbi Alfred Benjamin
(Rabbi, Temple Shalom, Milton)
Rabbi Joseph Berman
Rabbi Allison Berry (Temple Beth David, Canton)
Rabbi Herman Blumberg (Emeritus, Temple Shir
Tikva, Wayland)
Rabbi Carey Brown (Temple Isaiah, Lexington)
Rabbi Sharon Clevenger (The Rashi School,
Rabbi Joe Eiduson (Congregation B'nai Shalom,
Rabbi Lisa Eiduson (Temple Beth Avodah,
Newton Centre)
Rabbi John Franken (Temple Ohabei Shalom,
Rabbi David Freelund (Cape Cod Synagogue,
Rabbi Ronne Friedman (Temple Israel, Boston)
Rabbi Neal Gold (Temple Shir Tikva, Wayland)
Rabbi Robert Goldstein (Temple Emanuel
Rabbi David Gordis (past president, Hebrew
Rabbi Art Green (Hebrew College, Newton)
Rabbi Neil Hirsch (Temple Shalom, Newton)
Rabbi Boaz Heilman (Congregation B’nai Torah,
Rabbi Sandi Intraub (Chaplain Resident, Hebrew
SeniorLife )
Rabbi Howard Jaffe (Temple Isaiah, Lexington)
Rabbi Shira Joseph (Congregation Sha'aray
Shalom, Hingham)
Rabbi Dan Judson (Hebrew College, Newton)
Rabbi Randy Kafka (Temple Israel South Shore,
North Easton)
Rabbi Daniel Klein

Rabbi Margaret Frisch Klein
Rabbi David Kline
Rabbi Stephanie Kolin (Temple Israel, Boston)
Rabbi Neil Kominsky (Emeritus, Temple Emanuel,
Rabbi Jonathan Kraus (Beth El Temple Center,
Rabbi Claudia Kreiman (Temple Beth Zion,
Rabbi Judith Kummer
Rabbi Stephen Landau (Congregation Tikvoh
Chadoshoh, West Hartford, Conn.)
Rabbi Karen Landy (Hebrew Senior Life, Dedham;
Havurat Shalom, Andover)
Rabbi David Lerner (Temple Emunah, Lexington)
Rabbi Michele Lenke (Temple Beth Shalom,
Rabbi Allan Lehmann (vice president,
Massachusetts Board of Rabbis)
Rabbi Greg Litcofsky (Temple Shir Tikva, Wayland)
Rabbi Natan Margalit (Hebrew College, Newton)
Rabbi Todd Markley (Temple Beth Shalom,
Rabbi Daniel Medwin
Rabbi Bernard Mehlman (Emeritus, Temple Israel,
Rabbi Rim Meirowitz (Temple Shir Tikvah,
Rabbi Joseph Meszler (Temple Sinai, Sharon)
Rabbi Laurence Milder (Congregation B'nai
Shalom, Westborough)
Rabbi James Morgan
Rabbi Jeremy Morrison (Temple Israel, Boston)
Rabbi Beth Naditch
Rabbi Michelle Pearlman (Temple Shalom,
Rabbi Barbara Penzner (Temple Hillel B'nai Torah,
West Roxbury)
Rabbi Jay Perlman (Temple Beth Shalom,

Rabbi Jonah Pesner (Director, Union for Reform
Judaism Just Congregations, Newton)
Rabbi Ellen Pildis (Jewish Studies Director,
The Rashi School, Newton)
Rabbi Elaine Pollack (Newton Lower Falls)
Rabbi David Reiner
Rabbi Victor Reinstein (Nehar Shalom Community
Synagogue, Jamaica Plain)
Rabbi Rachel Saphire (Temple Beth Elohim,
Rabbi Talya Weisbard Shalem
Rabbi Lawrence Silverman (Congregation Beth
Jacob, Plymouth)
Rabbi Jodi Seewald Smith (Temple Chayai
Shalom, Easton MA)
Rabbi Joel Sisenwine (Temple Beth Elohim,
RabbI Toba Spitzer (Congregation Dorshei Tzedek,
West Newton)
Rabbi Keith Stern (Temple Beth Avodah,
Newton Centre)
Rabbi David Thomas (Congregation Beth El of the
Sudbury River Valley, Sudbury, MA)
Rabbi Van Lanckton, (Temple B’nai Shalom,
Rabbi Andrew Vogel (Temple Sinai, Brookline)
Rabbi Moshe Waldoks (Temple Beth Zion, Brookline)
Rabbi Jeffrey Wildstein (Temple Beth David,
Rabbi David Wolfman (director, URJ National
Commission on Rabbinic-Congregational Relations)
Rabbi Julie Wolkoff
Rabbi Sara Zacharia (Hebrew College, Newton)
Rabbi Elaine Zecher (Temple Israel, Boston)
Rabbi Henry Zoob (Emeritus, Temple Beth David,
Hebrew College rabbinical students: Joel Baron, Rogerio Zingerevitz Cukierman, Tiffany Gordon, Margie Klein, Lev Meirowitz, Nelson, Suzie Schwartz, Lila Veissid and Judith Kates (professor)


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