To the Minnesota Jewish Community and Beyond:
We have counted 330 days since George Floyd was killed by former police officer Derek Chauvin. Today many of us are counting the minutes and hours with enormous heaviness and unease as we anticipate a verdict in the trial that could convict Derek Chauvin of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter. As rabbis of the Minnesota Rabbinical Association, we acknowledge that uncertainty in writing this letter. We are strengthened by our collective hope for justice and a determination to create systemic antiracist change regardless of the verdict delivered by the jury.
Since George Floyd was killed on May 25, 2020, people of color are still disproportionately targeted and killed by police officers across the United States. Our hearts break in too many pieces to count for each and every loss — for Daunte Wright of Brooklyn Center, Adam Toledo in Chicago, and for everyone who continues to suffer from an unjust system of discrimination and oppression.
Over these same 11 months, we have also witnessed people from across our state, and across our nation, come together in pursuit of change. We have been encouraged by the overwhelming commitments to listen more deeply, to lift up voices of people who have been marginalized, and to act in pursuit of the command, “Love your neighbor as yourself…” that we read this week from Leviticus 19. Those commitments are deepening in the Jewish community as Black Jews and all people of color demand to be seen. It is not tenable for white Jews to fight for justice only on the streets and ignore the ways in which racism persists in Jewish spaces. The Jewish people are, and always have been, multicultural, multiracial and multiethnic, from the people who made the Exodus from Egypt throughout our history until today.
We are in the season of counting. We will continue to count these minutes and hours now, the days of the Omer between our sacred festivals of Passover and Shavuot, and also the acts of injustice and the acts of courage in our communities. May our counting orient our path as we wait for the jury to deliver its verdict, and may we count on one another to build a more just world.
Rabbi Jill Crimmings and Rabbi Aaron Weininger
Minnesota Rabbinical Association, co-chairs
On behalf of the membership of the Minnesota Rabbinical Association