Temple Sinai strives to be antiracist. To be antiracist means, in part, to view events and choices through the lens of how actions impact people of color including Jews of color. Seen through this lens, the insurrection at the Capitol was a racist act with racist impact. January 6th was a stark moment of mob violence, the perpetrators of which were mostly White. Such mob violence has been used to silence and control people of color in the United States since its inception. Historically, mob violence was frequently encouraged and permitted by politicians and law enforcement, not unlike what was seen on January 6th. In multiple ways, the events highlight institutionalized systems of racism, including sustained efforts to suppress Black and brown votes, and a culture of White supremacy.
Witnessing the violence on television had a profound impact on those who have experienced generations of racist violence and control. Witnessing the confederate flag and the noose had significant impact. While some may not understand that race was central to the insurrection, these signs and symbols, and the response of law enforcement demonstrate otherwise. The stark contrast between the force used against Black Lives Matter peaceful protestors and the treatment of this White supremacist mob was particularly jarring. The presence of swastikas and antisemitic slogans evoke a history of hatred and violence against the Jewish people. This further amplifies the impact for Jews of color, specifically Black Jews who live at the intersection of these identities.
To be antiracist, we remember why we say Black Lives Matter. Black and brown votes and voters matter. We hold our Sinai members of color closer because Jews of color are feeling the compounding impact from the racism Black and brown mothers, grandfathers, and great-grandparents experienced along with the last four painful years of anti-Black, antisemitic, and anti-Latino/a/x political action in its many forms.
May this be a moment when we as a Jewish community, with our diverse histories and experiences of antisemitism and racism, come closer together with deepening resolve to support our whole community and to center antiracism.