When hatred and intolerance appear in our midst, we have an obligation to name it clearly and unambiguously. We have an obligation to use language to clarify, not to obfuscate. We have an obligation to take action.

The organizers of the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville on Aug. 11 and 12 included America’s leading neo-Nazi, white-supremacist, KKK and Alt-Right organizations. It can hardly be surprising that the rally ended in violence. 

On Aug. 12, a white-supremacist activist drove a car into a crowd of counter-protesters and killed Heather Heyer and injured 19 others in an act of terrorism. Two Virginia state troopers were killed when their helicopter crashed as they were flying to assist with security. 

We cannot equivocate. Hatred was the root cause of the violence and murder. President Trump’s statement equating the rally’s racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic leaders with the counter-protestors is unacceptable. 

We join with a broad range of Rhode Islanders who embrace the American values of liberty and justice for all. Together, we work in coalition to send the clear message: Hate has no place here. 

As a community, Jews know what happens when hatred goes unchallenged. Our history is a lesson to the world that when a society stands indifferent to the message that some people are inherently inferior and undesirable – Blacks, Latinos, Jews, Muslims, LGBTQ people, immigrants and so on – hatred and fear will become tools to manipulate the masses. 

We must never allow that to happen again. We join with the Jewish Alliance of Greater Rhode Island in the message that we must “dismantle hate – be it through education, advocacy, public forums or the sharing of expertise and funding.” We ask other people of conscience to join in that effort. 


Rabbi Sarah Mack 

Rabbi Jeffrey Goldwasser 

Rabbi Leora Abelson

Rabbi Ethan Adler

Rabbi Thomas Alpert

Rabbi Jonathan Brumberg-


Rabbi Michelle Dardashti

Rabbi Barry Dolinger

Rabbi Mark Elber

Rabbi Alan Flam

Rabbi Wayne Franklin

Rabbi Leslie Gutterman

Rabbi Alvan Kaunfer

Rabbi Andrew Klein

Rabbi Adam Lavitt

Rabbi Benjamin Lefkowitz

Rabbi Richard Perlman 

Rabbi James B. Rosenberg

Rabbi Gavi Ruit

Rabbi Jacqueline R. Satlow

Rabbi Lawrence Silverman

Rabbi Howard Voss-Altman

Rabbi Alex Weissman

Rabbi Rachel Zerin

For the Board of Rabbis of Greater Rhode Island