In light of the horrifying shooting of members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal church in Charleston, S.C. last week, a number of the most prominent Jewish organizations in the U.S. have declared this coming Shabbat—beginning at sundown on Friday, June 26, and ending at sunset on Saturday June 27—as a “Shabbat of Unity,” JTA has reported.
This statement is endorsed by leading organizations from an array of Jewish denominations, including the Rabbinical Assembly, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Union for Reform Judaism, Central Conference of American Rabbis, Orthodox Union, the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, Jewish Reconstructionist Communities, in association with the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, the Rabbinic Cabinet of Jewish Federations of North America, AJC, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Hillel, and the Rabbinical Council of America, among others.
“We stand together as a united American Jewish community in calling for a Shabbat of important introspection and examination of racism in the United States,” Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt, the president of the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Federations of North America, wrote in a statement. “We hope to convey our support to the African-American community nationwide and show all that we will not stand for violent acts driven by hatred.”
As part of the day of solidarity, Rabbis Adam Stock Spilker and Shoshanah Connover of the organization Rabbis Organizing Rabbis, released a special Mi sheiberach, a traditional prayer for healing, that may be used in congregations across the country. The prayer asks for “healing to a nation in tears, to families and friends crying out in grief over nine precious souls — victims of racism and gun violence — taken from this earth too soon.”