Local and National Clergy Share Statements on Beth Israel Hostage Situation
This is a moment to practice the radical solidarity and revolutionary love that keeps us united across all faiths and none.” Rev. Michael Ray Mathews
Dallas – We thank God that the hostages from Beth Israel in Colleyville, TX have emerged safely. All of us at Faith in Texas along with our colleagues in the faithful fight for justice at Faith Commons, the Dallas Black Clergy for Safety, Equity and Justice, Faith Forward Dallas, the Richardson Interfaith Alliance and the Faith in Action are holding you and the whole Jewish community in prayer. We stand with you against antisemitism and commit to keep working for a world where all people can worship, congregate, and express their religious identity without fear of violence. We believe we are stronger together, that the safety of our communities is interconnected.
Places of worship are holy spaces where we can come together to corporately commune with our Creator and our neighbors. They are places where, above all else, everyone who enters should feel a sense of unity and safety. Antisemitism, islompohobia and racism attempt to rob us of this safety, and as you begin to heal from this trauma know that we are holding you in love and are ready to work together to restore what has been lost.
As the news of this horrific incident broke our friends, both local and national, sent their words of solidarity and comfort.
“As Black pastors, we know too well the harrowing experience of having our houses of worship targeted by hate. We are heartened that no harm came to the hostages and yet grieve the loss of life. On this day, which would have been Dr. King’s 93rd birthday, we are reminded of his now sainted words; “Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.” In the days ahead, we pray that love will abound. For the sake of love, we stand fervently against any attempt to sow division into our community or to scapegoat any people of faith for the misguided actions of an individual or group. May God give strength to our Jewish neighbors as they continue to seek peace following this traumatic event.” Dallas Black Clergy for Safety, Equity and Justice
“We are pleased to hear that all hostages have been released. We continue to hold our kindred at Congregation Beth Israel in our prayers. This is a moment to practice the radical solidarity and revolutionary love that keeps us united across all faiths and none.” Rev. Michael Ray Mathews, Deputy Director & Chief Faith Officer, Faith in Action
“First and foremost I thank G-d that all of the hostages at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville are safe. I pray for their emotional and spiritual healing from this tragic event. That this attack occurred on Shabbat-the Jewish Sabbath makes this all the more worse. Our sacred places of worship and our sacred times should never be a place of hate and violence, for Jews or anyone.
Anti Semitism and hate against any specific group whether by an organized group or a single individual has no place in our country or in our world. Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker has been a voice for peace and interfaith relations and understanding; including with the Muslim community in Colleyville. His example should be our guide as we go forward from this terrible day. Let us not let voices of hate be an obstacle to our commitment to be voices of love and understanding.” Rabbi Doug Alpert, Congregation Kol Ami Kansas City MO, Faith In Action Clergy Organizing Advisory Board
“Praying for the Jewish community at Beth Israel in Colleyville and beyond, and especially Rabbi Charlie and the congregants in this horrible hostage situation. May God keep them safe and sound, and comfort the families with the news of the safety of their loved ones.” Imam Omar Suilemam, Faith Commons
The group prays that as we all attempt to find the words to grapple with these violations of our humanity that we don’t lose our humanity. And we invite all of our colleagues and family of faith to stand together and join our collective movement of love over hate, liberation over oppression and faith over fear.
In celebration of the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. it is times like these that the collection of clergy believe draws us ever closer to his great question, “Where do we go from here: Chaos or community?” We, as a collective group of faith leaders who love justice emphatically choose community, and like so many of our sisters and brothers in Dallas and around the country we promise not to rest until that day comes.
Rev. Dr. Jaime Kowlessar – Executive Director, Faith in Texas