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Statement from the President — January 2021

Statement from the President — January 2021


On three things does the world stand: On justice, on truth and on peace.  —  Pirkei Avot (1:18)

Dear Spertus Community:

I write to you amidst difficult times.

We at Spertus Institute were deeply disturbed by yesterday’s storming of the United States Capitol, an event that punctuated a year of deadly pandemic, rising xenophobia, hatred of those with different backgrounds and opinions, and social tensions exacerbated by deep racial inequity.

These events have reinforced our ongoing commitment to the principles of constructive dialogue, critical thinking, reflection, and learning. They strengthen our resolve to apply Jewish teachings—including Judaism’s wealth of ethical instruction—to today’s tender times.

As I have been compelled to cite before, the rabbis taught in Pirkei Avot (1:18) that, “Rabban Shimon ben Gamaliel used to say: on three things does the world stand: On justice, on truth and on peace, as it is said: ‘execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates.’” We need justice, truth, and peace today, more than ever.

In the Talmudic tractate of Gittin (59b) it is noted that the entire Torah was given on the account of the ways of peace and that all the paths of Torah are peace. Indeed, Jewish law and the laws of this country are built upon peace and the dignity of all people, ideas we need to embrace.

There is important work to be done to heal and advance, to engage in constructive dialogue to move us forward, to take responsibility for the welfare and betterment of our fellow citizens, and to maintain the very fabric of our society.

Wishing all of us much strength in the days and weeks ahead.

As is our mission, we will work to apply Jewish learning to the daunting challenges we face in America.

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Dr. Dean P. Bell
President, CEO, and Professor of Jewish History
Spertus Institute for Jewish Learning and Leadership

 

Thursday, January 7, 2021