August 31, 2022
One of the most important and famous commandments from Torah comes from this week’s parashah, Shoftim: “Tzedek tzedek tirdof–Justice, justice shall you pursue.”
Shoftim means Judges, and in this parasha, Moses reviews the guidelines for creating a just society. In every city, the Israelites are to appoint judges and law enforcement.
In Davis this past weekend, antisemitic banners were hung from a highway over pass. We are all well aware that there has been an alarming uptick in antisemitic activity all over the country, including in here in Chico earlier this year. It is distressing to witness these acts of hate anywhere they occur. And it is even more unsettling when they are so close to home.
Rabbi Matt Friedman, President of the Sacramento Area Board of Rabbis, said in a statement: "The broader Jewish community of the Sacramento region is troubled by the actions of the 'Proud Boys/neo Nazis' that committed acts of hatred across the campus of UC Davis and the City of Davis. There is no place for hatred in our community. We are uplifted by the statements of Davis Mayor Frerichs that condemns these actions and the rapid response by law enforcement.
Tzedek tzedek tirdof. Justice, justice shall thou pursue. In every city, appoint judges and law enforcement. This mandate from Torah is what helps communities protect all their citizens. This mandate from Torah is what creates a sense of security and safety. While these events are deeply disturbing, the Jewish community is strengthened when the guidelines for creating a just society are enforced.
Antisemitism is clearly on the rise. Rather than cower, we must call it out, swiftly. Fortunately, there are many at all levels of government who take these trends seriously and are ready to act. CNN recently aired a special report on antisemitic activity in America where these trends and how to respond to them were explored in depth. For more information on that report go to:
And here is the full statement issued by the Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region and the Jewish Community Relations Council:
Dear friends, This past Sunday, several hateful and offensive banners were hung from a highway overpass in Davis. These banners displayed messages of antisemitism and Holocaust denial. The banners were subsequently removed after UC Davis police and the California Highway Patrol responded. The Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region, the Jewish Community Relations Council and the Sacramento Area Board of Rabbis join with other Jewish organizations and local leaders in condemning this disgusting act of ignorance and hatred. We also appreciate the quick response from law enforcement, as well as the strong message of support from Davis Mayor Lucas Frerichs. “I am disturbed to see the photos of these banners being hung from a prominent local overpass. Hate has no place in Davis, and a common denominator to Holocaust deniers is antisemitism. As Mayor, I unequivocally stand in support of our Jewish community in Davis, UC Davis, and beyond,” Mayor Frerichs told a local media outlet. Congregation Bet Haverim, located in Davis, has been in contact with the Davis City Council and local police to arrange for added security on and around their campus, though there is no indication of any specific or ongoing threat. "As upsetting as it is that a handful of people chose to make such a statement, as rabbis we focus on the response of the community. We are heartened and grateful by the rapid and forceful statements issued by Mayor Frerichs and Chancellor May along with the many messages we have received from other faith leaders and community members," added Rabbi Jeremy Simons and Rabbi Bess Wohlner of Congregation Bet Haverim. "The broader Jewish community of the Sacramento region is troubled by the actions of the 'Proud Boys/neo Nazis' that committed acts of hatred across the campus of UC Davis and the City of Davis. There is no place for hatred in our community. We are uplifted by the statements of Davis Mayor Frerichs that condemns these actions and the rapid response by law enforcement. It is vitally clear that while these events were aimed at the Jewish community, they were conducted with the intent to harass and intimidate all who are different than them. The Jewish community will not shrink from its visibility in the community, nor the vigor of its activities. The defeat of antisemitism and other forms of hatred can only occur with continual community rejection of such behaviors and a steadfast participation in positive and robust community expressions of faith and activity," Rabbi Matt Friedman, President of the Sacramento Area Board of Rabbis, said in a statement. "Once again a community in our region was the target of the current scourge of antisemitism. Thankfully, the response from authorities in Davis was swift. This Jewish community will make clear to all who wish to perpetrate antisemitic acts, in whatever form, that we will band together, act immediately and not let these actions be normalized," added Sharon Rogoff, Chair of JCRC. The Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region is in direct contact with both the ADL and the FBI Hate Crimes Task Force, and we are grateful for the support of both as we continue our work of combatting antisemitism in our community and beyond. “These poisonous and dangerous displays of anti Semitism perpetuated by white supremist groups destroy the peaceful fabric of our society. They must be rejected swiftly to decisively blunt their destructive impact on our community," said Bruce Pomer, President of the Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region.