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RCA Statement on New York COVID Protests

October 7, 2020 – The Rabbinical Council of America, the leading membership organization of Orthodox rabbis in North America, notes with great dismay the recent violent protests that have taken place in some Jewish communities in New York in response to government restrictions following rising COVID-19 infection rates. We expect government officials to apply the same standards to religious gatherings and houses of worship as they do to other activities and institutions. Nevertheless, we do not condone violence and the wanton disregard of safety standards and precautions during a time of a global pandemic. The burning of masks by some misguided individuals sent a message that is antithetical to our religious obligation to protect health, safety and wellbeing. The violent attacks perpetrated against some were in opposition to our sacred law. We call on the religious and communal leadership of communities that have experienced outbreaks of COVID to find common ground in order to preserve both safety and the religious liberties of all citizens. Our Jewish tradition demands that we respond to challenges with careful consideration, reason, and if need be, peaceful protests.

The RCA calls on everyone to observe all safety precautions including the wearing of masks, proper social distancing, and hand washing.

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