FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 16, 2022
Sarah Garfinkel, West End Strategy Team
WASHINGTON — Today, on National Religious Freedom Day, National Council of Jewish Women CEO Sheila Katz issued the following statement in response to yesterday’s hostage situation at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas:
“For the third time in just over three years, the peace of the Jewish Sabbath has been desecrated by an act of violent hate against worshippers inside a synagogue. After a horrifying and harrowing day, we are grateful for the safety of all four hostages, including Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, in yesterday’s attack on Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas.
“We pray for the Rabbi Cytron-Walker, his congregants, and their families as they process this trauma, and for our Jewish community struggling under the weight of fear and insecurity. Our synagogues and community spaces must be made safe and we will continue to work with partner organizations and law enforcement to ensure all are able to pray and gather in peace.
“We call on the Biden administration and Congress to take the threat of antisemitism seriously and work to address it with comprehensive policies informed by the lived experience of American Jews. Though only 2% of people in the United States are Jewish, the FBI reports that 58% of all religiously motivated hate crimes target Jews. How many more people have to experience antisemitism before real action is taken to prevent attacks like this and address day-to-day discrimination?
“Antisemitism has no place in Texas and no place in America. We call on our partners and allies to work with us to combat antisemitism in all its forms. And we urge all to remember that Islamophobia is not a curative for antisemitism and is never acceptable. Hate cannot be cured with more hate. A more whole and just society can only be brought into being when we can come together in solidarity and community.”
National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is a grassroots organization of 200,000 volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms. Through a program of education, community service, and advocacy, our advocates across the country create lasting social change on our key issues of the federal courts; reproductive health, rights, and justice, and voter engagement. More information on Facebook and on Twitter at @NCJW.