As the anti-Semitic graffiti attack on Temple Sinai in Oakland, CA is being investigated as a hate crime, we pause to stand in solidarity with the Congregation of Temple Sinai and the entire Jewish Community.  The September 21, 2017 attack on the eve of the Jewish New Year Holiday reveals how necessary it is for the Interreligious Community and all people of good will to witness together in the cause of justice.  An attack on any community is an attack of all of us.  It is especially upsetting that the vandalism took place on the International Day of Peace. 

     The Interfaith Council of Contra Costa Council wishes to thank Temple Sinai for all its work in the pursuit of peace and justice.  The Temple Sinai Congregation is a beacon of light and hope for so many suffering people.  This sad occasion reminds us of the good work and dedication the Congregation of Temple Sinai is doing for the people of Oakland and the citizens of the World.  They deserve better than this.  We pledge to support our friends at Temple Sinai as we enter into a New Year of hope in the pursuit of justice. 

     This isn’t an isolated incident here in the East Bay.  Windows were smashed at Temple Israel of Alameda on the night of August 17th.  A Jewish couple in Rossmoor found someone had drawn a swastika outside their front door on February 25th, and a youth dug a swastika in the ground cover near the Community Center of Danville on February 4th.   J Weekly: The Jewish News of Northern California notes that there was a spike of Anti-Semitic activities on school campuses this year, including drawn swastikas on campuses, a swastika keyed into a student’s car, text messages, social media posts and other threats against Jewish students (J Weekly, May 4, 2017).

     In no uncertain terms the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County condemns these anti-Semitic and anti-Jewish acts.  We renew our commitment to work with our Jewish sisters and brothers for the betterment of our Nation and World.

     We once again caution against a growing culture of intolerance and bigotry that has infected our political culture.  Religious, political, governmental and cultural leaders must be agents and good models of social civility upholding the dignity and rights of all peoples to live in peace.  We must reexamine our hearts, language and behavior as religious persons insuring that in the name of God we cause no harm to others.

     As we seek God’s mercy and forgiveness, we call upon the Interreligious Community to stand in solidarity against all forms of religious, political and cultural intolerance.  We join with the Interreligious Communities in the Bay Area in standing with Temple Sinai, Temple Israel and all who suffer the injustice of intolerance as together we pledge anew to bring peace, justice, civility and hope to our broken World and its suffering peoples.

     After the graffiti attack Temple Sinai posted:

“While this is surely upsetting, this will not define our experience of coming together as a community today.  Our strength and resilience will sound through our voices in song and prayer.”

     We join the Congregation of Temple Sinai in not allowing the madness and hatred around us to become the World within us.  We join Temple Sinai in “writing over” the graffiti of hate with the words and actions of love and hope.  We join with all peoples of good will in offering our love, our support, our solidarity.   

Sincerely in these Days of Awe,

Governing Board of the Interfaith Council of Contra Costa County