Jan 13, 2021

Remember and Do Not Forget: Rabbinic Testimonies of January 6, 2021: A Horrific Day in American History

I wish there had been no need for this rapid-response book, testimony from 46 American Rabbis from diverse movements, locations, and political opinions, about the horrors of January 6, 2021. The voices are powerful, the messages they send their communities were honest and searing, comforting and strong. I'm especially grateful to my friend and colleague, Rabbi Jesse Olitzky, who shared in the editing of this project, and to my mentor, Ruth Messinger, for offering a prophetic foreword to the book.

To the contributors, may your words reach every corner of Heaven and Earth. May our fragile nation do better.

May God bless the United States with justice, and with peace.

Book link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08STPFM83
Table of Contents: https://tinyurl.com/Jan6bookTOC
Contributor bios: https://tinyurl.com/Jan6bookAuthors

From the introduction:

"We will forever remember the events of January 6, 2021. We also understand that, just like Torah, there is power in collective memory. This is especially true considering that we may remember the events of this day differently, each of us reflecting on it using our own eyes, hearts – and our unique choices of words.

Was the attack on the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021 a riot? A coup? Insurrection? Domestic terrorism? A protest? Words matter, and how we remember is shaped by the words we use. As the great essayist and thinker George Orwell once observed: “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” We have done our best to collect diverse rabbinic testimonies from an indescribable moment of American history with a commitment to remember and a promise to not forget. We will not be defined by the threats of white supremacists and the acts of domestic terrorists. But they undoubtedly shape us and shape our view of the world.

We are not ignorant enough to think that bigotry did not exist before the Trump era nor would we be so foolish as to suggest that it will cease once that era is over. But we had thought that American society was in collective agreement that bigotry belonged in the sewers and gutters of society. But when the President amplified such bigotry in 240-characters at a time on his Twitter feed for four years straight, and worse yet, successfully used that bigotry to influence his supporters, he gave them permission to proudly and loudly -- and violently -- express such hateful bigotry for the world to see and incite violence. We are not ignorant enough to believe that Amalek has ceased to exist.

But it is our deepest prayer that as long as we remember, as long as we continue to call out the events of this dark day for what they are, then the bigotry of Amalek will return to the sewers of society, where it belongs."