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Letter: Indiana rabbis call on state's faith leaders to condemn Hamas

Indiana Board of Rabbis
Evansville Courier & Press

On Oct. 7, Hamas slaughtered over 1,300 Israelis and abducted more than 200. They kidnapped children, tortured elderly Holocaust survivors, murdered entire families, murdered over 250 concertgoers, paraded the dead as war trophies, and did unspeakably worse. It was the largest murder of Jews on a single day since the Holocaust.

We are grateful to those of you, our colleagues, who have reached out to us, and we thank you for your ongoing comfort and support. For those who have kept quiet, we who supported your churches and mosques when terror struck your communities must ask: 鈥淲here are your voices?鈥 Your silence is both sobering and painful.

Some of you have issued statements. Distressingly, many minimize Hamas鈥 massacre of innocents by decrying violence 鈥渙n both sides,鈥 woefully failing to recognize the moral distinction between those who butcher and those who are butchered, between intentional murder and self-defense. Like you, we pray for the safety of all innocent civilians and for a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.聽

We categorically affirm the difference between Hamas and the Palestinian people. Hamas is a terrorist organization, as designated by the United States and many other nations, whose stated goal is the annihilation of Jews. History shows their callous disregard for life extends to their own people. We encourage you to see President Biden鈥檚 remarks from Oct. 10 for an example of leadership and moral clarity on this issue.

We ask that all Indiana faith leaders and organizations unequivocally condemn Hamas for their murder, torture and kidnapping of Jews and non-Jewish Israelis, permanent residents and tourists. We ask that you call for the immediate return of the hostages, and to denounce the horrifying and deeply un-American displays of support for Hamas in our streets and on social media.

Your Jewish friends and neighbors are suffering. We hope we can count you among our allies. We, your colleagues in spiritual leadership, await your response.

Rabbi Meir Bargeron, co-chair, Fort Wayne; Rabbi Roxanne Shapiro, co-chair, Indianapolis; Rabbi Adam Bellows, West Lafayette; Rabbi Brian Besser, Bloomington; Rabbi Karen Companez, South Bend; Rabbi Michael Friedland, South Bend; Rabbi Cantor Mariana Gindlin, Munster; Rabbi Justin Kerber, Carmel; Rabbi Ron Klotz, Bloomington; Rabbi Mitchell Kornspan, Fort Wayne; Rabbi Brett Krichiver, Indianapolis; Rabbi Gary Mazo, Evansville; Rabbi Bruce J. Pfeffer, Indianapolis; Rabbi Dennis C. Sasso, Carmel; Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, Carmel; Rabbi Hal Schevitz, Indianapolis; Rabbi Benjamin Sendrow, Carmel; Rabbi Aaron Spiegel, Indianapolis; Rabbi Faedra Weiss, Indianapolis; Rabbi Lew Weiss, Indianapolis.