Note: This was sent to our congregants at Temple Israel of Hollywood in support of the LA Women’s March. Please note the strategic activities we have scheduled around this event.

To Our TIOH Family,

It would be impossible to overstate the power and uplift so many of us have felt witnessing and participating in the past two Women’s Marches. These marches, harnessing multigenerational expressions of women’s dignity and power and bringing to light so many issues of critical importance to our country, have been catalysts for much good in our world.

It is, at the same time, impossible to ignore published accounts claiming that specific individuals in leadership positions of the National Women’s March have made blatantly anti-Semitic remarks.

We at TIOH have been and remain committed to the Women’s Rights Movement, gender justice, and civil rights. We also refuse to let anti-Semitic statements or actions go without response. Our challenge is to hold both truths in this complicated and fraught time, which at its core, holds so very much potential for change.

We share with you our thoughts on this moment:

  1. If you look to the homepage of the Women’s March Los Angeles (WMLA), you will see a strongly worded statement stating clearly that WMLA “has no affiliation and was never part of the Women’s March Inc. WMLA is its own separate organization with separate leadership, board, and funding.” Part of what has come to light in the face of recent allegations of anti-Semitic comments by a few leaders of the National Women’s March is that the national leadership does not represent, nor is it connected by finances or governance, to many of the hundreds of local marches across the country, including Los Angeles.
  2. Anti-Semitism is a very real problem in our world and lies at the heart of white supremacy. There has been an historic increase, according to surveys published by the ADL, in anti-Semitic hate crimes over the past two years in our country and abroad. Acknowledging, learning about, and fighting anti-Semitism wherever it occurs, including in the National Women’s March leadership group, is of critical importance to everyone concerned about promoting an inclusive and decent America.
  3. That being said, the Women’s March Unity Principles reflect much of the justice work in which TIOH and our partner organizations are engaging. We are pleased that changes have been made to these Unity Principles to explicitly include Jewish women and that representatives of national Jewish leadership organizations were part of the crafting of the 2019 Women’s Agenda. Being involved in the real work of this movement is very much in line with our justice principles.
  4. Despite the anti-Semitic statements by some individuals in the National Women’s March, we believe that it is critical for representatives from the Jewish community to remain in dialogue and actively engaged with them, as well as to continue the important work of eradicating anti-Semitism at every level of our society. Teshuvah, a return to each person’s best self, is always possible. We believe strongly that The Women’s March, as an intersectional movement, must include Jewish women because it is there, in the heart of the movement, that we can both act on our social justice principles and combat anti-Semitism.
  5. We especially encourage TIOHers to participate in our local Women’s March Los Angeles. We also encourage TIOHers to explicitly speak out against all expressions of anti-Semitism whenever we encounter them. Our public engagement in both the women’s movement and our work to combat anti-Semitism is at the core of who we are as American Reform Jews.

Please read these comments from the Union for Reform Judaism and Women of Reform Judaism. You will see that our position at TIOH is cast in the same spirit as our Reform movement’s leadership.

Join us at the LA Women’s March! TIOHers will be joining Jewish Center for Justice (JCJ), as well as folks from synagogues across Los Angeles, at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 19th to pray and march together. Meetup details will be forthcoming.

In addition to marching, come to the following events:

  • At TIOH this Sunday, January 4, at 10:00 a.m., join Rabbi Jocee Hudson for bagels, coffee, and an open informal conversation about what it means for us as members of the Jewish community, who are committed to Women’s Rights and Civil Rights, to participate in the Women’s March.
  • Please join members of the broader community on Sunday, January 13, at 7:00 p.m. at University Synagogue for a Teach-In with Zioness and JCJ.
  • Please join us at TIOH before Shabbat services on Friday, January 18, at 5pm, to show our public resistance to anti-Semitism as we hear from David Lehrer on “How anti-Semitism Lies at the Heart of White Supremacy.”

For questions about our Social Justice work at TIOH, please contact Heidi Segal

If you would like to join TIOH’s Gender Justice Social Justice Working Group, please click here or contact co-chairs, Marilyn Szatmary and Margaret Katch.

B’tzedek –

Rabbi John L. Rosove – Rabbi Michelle Missaghieh – Rabbi Jocee Hudson – Shelly Fox, Cantorial Soloist and Musical Director – Heidi Segal, TIOH Vice President, Social Justice – Aliza Lesser, WoTIOH Chair