HUC-JIR Responds to the Attacks on the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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HUC-JIR Responds to the Attacks on the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand

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Monday, March 18, 2019

Rabbi Jonathan Hecht Marching with Students

Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion condemns all acts of bigotry and xenophobia against people of all faiths. Following the attacks on the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday, March 15, and every day, may we work together to build a just world of understanding and peace. 

At HUC-JIR's Cincinnati campus, Rabbi Jonathan L. Hecht '87, Dean, led a group of students to an interfaith prayer vigil at the nearby Clifton Mosque to stand in solidarity with the Muslim community. Rabbi Hecht spoke with Imam Hossam Musa of the Islamic Center, where they discussed the power of "breaking bread" to forge unity.

Rabbi Jonathan Hecht at the Islamic Center in CincinnatiRabbi Hecht stated, "Terrorism has no boundaries. We have witnessed assaults on worshippers at a church targeting African American worshippers, at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, and now, a horrific attack on Moslem worshippers in New Zealand. People of faith need to stand together as one against the sickness that leads to hatred, violence, and racism directed at others. That is why I am proud to have stood in solidarity with the Moslem community here in Cincinnati at their Friday prayer services and at a rally on Saturday. I am proud to have been joined by dozens of our students, faculty, and staff. An attack on one faith group is an attack on every faith group."

Rabbi Rick Jacobs '82, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, responded to the attacks. "Yet again the world is shaken by extremist violence against innocent people at prayer, targeted in deadly acts of hatred. Too often we have been sickened that sacred places of worship have become sites of slaughter. A few months ago the massacre happened in a synagogue on a Saturday in Pittsburgh, this time in mosques on a Friday in New Zealand. The Muslim community is in pain and anguish. They must not grieve alone. We encourage the entire Jewish community, together with all people of conscience, to reach out to their Muslim neighbors in acts of kindness and healing. As the horrific reality of these attacks comes into clearer view, we mourn the innocent lives lost, and recommit to shaping a world of respect and tolerance, of safety and peace for all of God’s children. No exceptions."

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner '97, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, stated, "The massacre in Christchurch pierces our hearts to the very core. To murder people in the midst of worship is the epitome of evil. As we mourn this senseless loss of life, we hold our Muslim family in our hearts and commit to stand with them during this painful time – including by visibly and vocally showing up in solidarity. This violence against minority communities, fueled by anti-Muslim and white supremacist rhetoric, is not new. This horrendous attack on a place of worship represents the darkest forces of humanity, which have been emboldened by a global rise of a grotesque ideology demonizing those who are different. In Ecclesiastes, we are taught: ‘if one attacks, two can stand up to him. A threefold cord is not readily broken!’ (4:12). Liberation from the plague of bigotry will require moral people of all faiths, races, and cultures to bind together against hateful forces that seek to sow division. We must say, with one voice, that white supremacy, xenophobia, and bigotry have no place in society.”

ReformJudaism.org shares Jewish resources for coping with acts of terror, including resources for parents and educators, for prayer, and for action. Learn more


Founded in 1875, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is North America's leading institution of higher Jewish education and the academic, spiritual, and professional leadership development center of Reform Judaism. HUC-JIR educates leaders to serve North American and world Jewry as rabbis, cantors, educators, and nonprofit management professionals, and offers graduate programs to scholars and clergy of all faiths. With centers of learning in Cincinnati, Jerusalem, Los Angeles, and New York, HUC-JIR's scholarly resources comprise the renowned Klau Library, The Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, museums, research institutes and centers, and academic publications. In partnership with the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, HUC-JIR sustains the Reform Movement's congregations and professional and lay leaders. HUC-JIR's campuses invite the community to cultural and educational programs illuminating Jewish heritage and fostering interfaith and multiethnic understanding. www.huc.edu