Office of the Chief Rabbi

The Chief Rabbi’s Statement on the Orlando massacre

‘Having ended Shavuot on such a high, it was absolutely devastating to hear the details yesterday evening, of the massacre in Orlando which took 49 precious lives. At a time of such anguish, it is difficult to adequately convey the depths of our moral revulsion for an individual who was so motivated by hatred, that it led him to mass murder.

As Jews, we join with all of those across the world who stand defiant and united in declaring that there is absolutely no place for hatred or intolerance in our societies.

‘It is difficult to adequately convey the depths of our moral revulsion for an individual who was so motivated by hatred’

We must also be honest enough to recognise that there are places where the scourge of homophobia persists, even in our own communities, and that is totally unacceptable. Where that hate is religiously motivated, faith leaders and faith communities carry a particular responsibility to act.

Unambiguous condemnation of terror attacks such as this is an important place to start, but it alone is not sufficient.

In the face of such unspeakable violence, we must be introspective. The Torah takes a clear, well-known position on acts of homosexual intimacy but it also leaves us in no doubt about our responsibility to provide a welcoming environment in our Synagogues and beyond for all Jews, regardless of their level of religious observance, ethnicity or sexuality.

‘Unambiguous condemnation of terror attacks…is an important place to start’

After Orlando, we must take a step beyond condemnation and open our hearts and our Synagogues so that no Jew feels persecuted or excluded from the warm embrace of our communities.

Together with adherents of all faiths and none, may we all find the courage to overcome the forces of division and darkness so that we might create a more peaceful and tolerant world.’

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