Justice, Religion

Standing together in the City of Big Shoulders

Way to go, Chicago..

What follows is from a joint press release by the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs and the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, “under the aegis of JCUA’s Jewish Muslim Community Building Initiative.” The JMCBI was created in late 2001 in response to increasing hate crimes against Muslims subsequent to the September 11th attacks. It has since grown into a project with a long-term, consistent focus on improving Muslim-Jewish understanding and respect.

(and you thought New York and Boston were the only places folks reacted to the violence in and around Aza by getting together to speak out for *peace*)


Joint Statement: Chicago Muslims and Jews Speak with One Voice on
Peace and Justice

We are representatives of Chicago’s Jewish and Muslim communities who have come together with shared values grounded in our respective faith traditions, in light of the recent events in the Middle East and the tragic loss of innocent life, to reaffirm our friendship and our mutual commitment to the preciousness of human life.

The Jewish and Muslim communities have lived peacefully side by side in Chicago for many years. Our respective communities have worked together in partnership to fight injustice, racism, poverty, and indifference.

From this position of solidarity and renewed friendship:

•   We condemn anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.
•   We affirm the preciousness of human life and the safety and security of the people in Gaza and Israel. The life of a Palestinian child and the life of an Israeli child are equally precious.
•   We condemn wanton violence, human suffering, and targeting of innocent civilians.
•   We pray for a Middle East where Israelis and Palestinians are safe from all forms of violence.
•   We pray for continued friendship, and the growth and development in our understanding of one another.
•   We pray for an end to the conditions that produce hopelessness.
•   We commit to communicating and listening to each other throughout these difficult times.
•   We commit to respecting each other even when we disagree.
•   We commit to our ongoing relationship, not contingent upon agreement.
•   We commit to supporting each other and protecting each other from hate and aggression.
•   We embrace the message of hope, peace, and justice for all our communities.

We urge that as our respective communities gather for demonstrations, that the language and symbolism in our signs and chants, while protected by our precious right of freedom speech, do not cross lines and demonize the “other” or incorporate elements of anti-Semitism or Islamophobia.

We believe that these times must serve as a reminder for all of us, individually and institutionally, to redouble our efforts to build bridges with people of all faiths, races, and classes. Only then, will we stand—in all our diversity of opinions—as a united front against hatred, injustice and brutality, locally and abroad. Finally, we pray that our respective communities will be inspired to exemplify the Prophetic values of justice, compassion and courage in working together to bring a lasting peace to our community here and to our sacred region of the world.

[cW?: Signatories below the cut.]
Jewish-Muslim Community Building Initiative, Co-Chairs, Rabbi Asher Lopatin and Rabbi Andrea London
Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago
Inner-City Muslim Action Network
Jewish Labor Committee, Stuart Appelbaum, President, Mike Perry, Chicago Chair
Muslim Bar Association
Islamic Society of Northwest Suburbs
Brit Tzedek v’Shalom, Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace, President: Steve Masters, Chicago Chapter Chair: Michael Peshkin
Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder, Ph.D., Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion
Imam Senad Agic, Islamic Cultural Center, Northbrook
Rabbi Lisa Bellow, Congregation Beth Am, Buffalo Grove
Rabbi Matthew Berger, Temple Chai, Long Grove
Rabbi Marc Berkson, Congregation Emanu-El B’ne Jeshurun, Milwaukee
Rabbi Simcha Bob, Aitz Chaim, Lombard
Rabbi Herbert Bronstein, Rabbi Emeritus, North Shore Congregation Israel, Glencoe
Rabbi Miriam Burg
Rabbi Paul Cohen, Temple Jeremiah, Northfield
Rabbi Shoshanah Conover, Temple Sholom of Chicago
Rabbi Darryl Crystal, KAM Isaiah Israel, Chicago
Rabbi Ellen Dreyfus, B’nai Yehuda Beth Sholom, Homewood
Rabbi Laurence Edwards, Congregation Kol Ami, Chicago
Rabbi Bruce Elder, Congregation Hakafa, Glencoe
Rabbi Capers Funnye, Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation, Chicago
Rabbi Wendi Geffen, North Shore Congregation Israel, Glencoe
Rabbi Suzanne Griffel, Chaplain, Glenview-based Midwest Palliative & Hospice Care Center
Tabassum Haleem, Executive Director, Organization of Islamic Speakers, Midwest
Rabbi Sidney Helbraun, Temple Beth El, Northbrook
Dr. Hesham A. Hassaballa, co-author, The Beliefnet Guide to Islam
Rabbi Peter Knobel, Beth Emet Synagogue, Evanston; president, Central Conference of American Rabbis
Rabbi Jonathan Magidovitch, Congregation B’nai Torah, Highland Park
Rabbi Steve Mason, North Shore Congregation Israel, Glencoe
M. Khalid Mozaffar
Ayesha K. Mustafaa, Editor, Muslim Journal newspaper, Homewood
Rabbi Robert J. Marx, Rabbi Emeritus, Hakafa; Founder, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
Camille Odeh, Executive Director, Southwest Youth Collaborative
Rabbi David Oler, Beth Or, Deerfield
Eboo Patel, author, Acts of Faith
Rabbi Aaron Mark Petuchowski, Temple Sholom of Chicago
Jane Ramsey, Executive Director, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
Rabbi Brant Rosen, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation, Evanston
Amina Saeed, president-elect, Muslim Bar Association
Rabbi David Sandmel, Congregation Kol Ami, Chicago
Rabbi Michael Stevens, Temple Beth El, Hammond, IN
Rabbi Dov Taylor, Congregation Solel, Highland Park
Rabbi Jeffrey Weill, Temple Beth-El, Northbrook
Rabbi Michael Weinberg, Temple Beth Israel, Skokie
Rabbi Ira Youdovin, former executive vice president, Chicago Board of Rabbis
Rabbi Michael Zedek, Emanuel Congregation, Chicago
*Organization affiliation for identification purposes only.

13 thoughts on “Standing together in the City of Big Shoulders

  1. Chicago had more problems than other American cities because Chicago is the center of Palestinian and Jordanian immigration communities in the U.S.

  2. I followed the development of this statement about a month ago and know some of the folks behind the scenes putting it together.
    I remember at the time there being difficulty getting Jewish organizational signatories. But now that its published, I’m struck by how little an issue that is, and by the dearth of individual Muslim signatories. Is it Quranically Assur or are we missing something?

  3. The statement gives me hope for a more peaceful tomorrow for my Jewish Children and their Muslim friends. I’m thrilled to see that someone in Chicago put this together and got it done.

  4. Adam:
    While their may be more Jewish individuals signed on, the Council of Islamic Organizations represents THOUSANDS of Muslims in Chicago. Way to go JMCBI!!!

  5. JCUA is such a bold organization! Who else would make this happen? No one – that’s who! JCUA is the BEST organization in the world! Keep on kicking butt and taking names!

  6. I have been so proud of JCUA lately! From all the great work they are doing in Postville to this, I’m proud to be a member! Mad props to Irene!!

  7. Eboo Patel, one of the names mentioned on the list, is the founder of the Interfaith Youth Core (www.ifyc.org), a great organization which ‘works to build mutual respect and pluralism among young people from different religious traditions by empowering them to work together to serve others. ‘
    Definitely worth checking out their website and reading his book, Acts Of Faith.

  8. DK, exactly what kind of “problems” are you talking about? Anti-Semitism, or some other smattering of “problems” associated with Chicago?

  9. I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but the only Arab/Muslim organizations of substance in Chicago are AAAN, ADC and CAIR, maybe MSA if you include student groups.
    I see none of these listed as signatories, which tells me that as badly as the Jewish community may want this, it received no substantial Muslim/Arab support. I suspect that most of the Muslim/Arab signatories are Islamic converts, and do not represent immigrants.
    Any Arab/Muslim who signed on to such a petition, especially after Gaza, will be labeled permanently as a Zionist collaborator. Any Jew who thinks this petition is doing some good has NO CLUE how the Arab/Muslim community functions, and what forces drive its activist wing.

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