I have listened and read your postings for quite some time and I am extremely grateful to G-d for the wisdom. I volunteer at the [name of organization removed to protect the writer] and received a troubling communication about the [organization] supporting Black Lives Matter, and asking all employees and volunteers to participate.
This goes against what the [organization] is supposed to stand for. That group is racist and violent. My moral compass says that I need to distance myself from the [organization] because I will be like a salmon swimming upstream against the current leftist mob mentality there and in too many places.
What is your take on this?
Your question, in one form or another, is one that many people are facing today. Following ancient Jewish wisdom’s guidance on this, we believe that ideally, it is far too early to discuss these matters. Emotions are running high and people are feeling pain. And although everyone knows that facts stand irrespective of feelings, not everyone realizes with what finality feelings banish facts. In other words, thoughts and ideas I might possibly embrace in a calm and contemplative mood I will likely angrily reject if they are placed before me at a time of emotional turmoil.
The problem is that we can’t easily postpone every analysis until a time when emotions have subsided. Some matters demand a decision now. A few days ago, I (Susan) received an email from a company whose products I very much appreciate. They proudly told me that they stand against racism and will be donating to Black Lives Matter. Rather than just deleting the email, I wrote back explaining that I appreciate their motives but that I wish they would re-examine their choice of where to donate as my research shows that Black Lives Matter increases hatred and violence rather than promoting humanitarian goals. I have no illusions that my email will change things, but I felt the responsibility not to stay quiet. If hundreds of other customers do the same, there actually might be an effect.
In that case, I was one of thousands of customers. However, we also know of an instance of a young man occupying a high-level executive position with a large company. He, too, received a letter asking all employees to contribute to Black Lives Matter. He chose to risk his position and relationships and call his superiors. He shared with them details as to why he opposed Black Lives Matter and would not be able to participate. Make no mistake that this was a courageous step on his part. Many others have lost their jobs for similar opinions. What was the result? They thanked him for sharing information they did not have (because the media filters what we are allowed to know) and redirected their charity to another organization.
To show that you are not merely reacting emotionally, it might help if you can be specific with your organization about your concerns. Among our concerns is that BLM actively opposes the traditional marriage and family model that was accepted by most Americans of all colors prior to the turbulent 60s. In their own words, “We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure…” If there is anything that really does save lives, it is being born into and raised by a western-prescribed traditional nuclear family.
Another concern of ours is BLM’s position that racial discrimination they view as promoting ‘equality’ is good whereas discrimination contributing to inequity is racist. But they see inequity as any difference in the average outcome of any group in any field of life or work. We do not accept that scanty representation of Jews in the NFL is proof of discrimination against Jews in sports. We do not accept that fewer than 50% of computer programmers being female is proof of discrimination. And we do not accept that a lack of a certain percentage of people with dark complexions in any field is automatically discrimination. We feel sure that the country will suffer greatly by accepting the BLM notion that any racial difference in anything at all that doesn’t reflect the racial demographics of society is automatically racist.
Your situation is that you are not one of thousands nor are you in an executive position. Rather than simply stopping to volunteer, we would recommend writing (and editing and rewriting and showing it to a friend and editing some more) a clear and thoughtful letter explaining that you value the organization and its work but worry that they are acting unwisely. Lay out factual points about Black Lives Matter and from those speaking on their behalf that lead you to see them as a movement propelling the country in the wrong direction.
Let the organization know that you share and appreciate their goal of increasing peace between people of all colors and backgrounds, but that you request that they be more careful in how they try to reach that goal.
Take it from there. If you are either ignored or rebuked, we do recommend that you take your time, effort and money and volunteer at another organization that has a firmer moral compass.
Right now emotions are pushing truth and logic out the door. Nonetheless, it is not the time for silence in the matter you raise.
With a mixture of fear and hope, along with our prayers,
Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin
We can’t say it often enough.
We need to line up our values with God, not ask Him to change His values to ours.
Begin with studying His message to humanity.
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52 thoughts on “I’m being asked to contribute to ‘Black Lives Matter’”
Thank You for this tactful response. I need work in that area. 10 years ago our company hired a manager in a remote TX district office who was blatantly racist to an employee. I being the company programmer, app creator, and data specialist, (I was indispensable), witnessed it first hand. I intervened. The racist manager was fired but HR was going to fire the victim! I called my CFO and said, “If she goes, I go period.” I just was so angry that they would do that. The CFO had no idea HR was going to fire the victim too and immediately made the call to not fire her. She was a fantastic loyal employee!! I had my career to lose but my integrity was intact. I agree about BLM and I am definitely not a racist.
Frankly, anyone who follows the teachings of the Lapin’s, and ‘bothers‘ to research out BLM…they would not support the movement. Besides being anti-Semitic, they have roots in Globalist/ Marxist dollars. Ignorance abounds. I will only bend a knee to G-d!
Dear Rabbi and Susan: Thank you for your courage and direction in writing about such a sensitive (and potentially volatile) topic. We so appreciate your wisdom and insight into acting with compassion while maintaining a conscientious stance. Having concerns about the nature of BLM’s platform and purpose doesn’t mean one doesn’t care about black lives. Thanks for being our Rabbi! Fondest regards, Dale and Deb
After reading your “opinion” it was clear to see that you presented no facts which supports the fact that you have virtually no knowledge…
just know that intelligence and discernment and yes wisdom can offer options. Though I disagree with the Rabbi on this matter I believe that he understands my innate right to my own opinion and perception about something that I am an expert on. As for you, it truly takes God Himself to deal with the level of nonsense that you spew. Obviously, you are not my intellectual equal.
Therefore, Rabbi, with respect for you and continued admiration for your stirring topics, I will remove myself from this forum for my own conscience sake. I have enjoyed receiving your wisdom and information over the years. May you continue to be enlightened as God sees fit. May he continue to keep you perpetually within his care. And may he shine his countenance upon you.
Thank you Patricia
I appreciate your heartfelt blessings and I receive them gratefully.
Patricia, if you read my comment carefully you’ll see that I didn’t assert anything – and I apologize if I didn’t make myself clear. Instead I asked questions that I was hoping an expert like yourself could answer easily. You are correct – I have very little knowledge about crime statistics in the US hence the questions.
As for your personal attack – let me assure you that no offense was taken.
Unfortunately, all I’ve heard is who’s not going to be supported and what’s not going to be done but where’s the pro action? I expect more from MY Rabbi. The issues at hand aren’t about marriage or lack of Jewish brothers in the NFL, it’s police using unwarranted deadly force against black people without consequence. In many cases the people were innocent, hence the outrage. Being pro black isn’t racist either. Ok,
BLM is not your organization of choice, but which is? How will MY Rabbi show support for the marginalized? Many criticise, change the narrative, then do nothing. Followers of the greatest commandments should not be named among these. If you woke up black and desperate, how would you feel if the masses just picked you apart? Do you realize that tone suggest that black people aren’t worthy of assistance, social reform, life (in some cases). Loving your neighbor isn’t just the neighbor who looks like you, shares your zip code, or whose made the best life choices. Remember, Jesus said to visit the imprisoned… I seriously don’t believe that we’re only to help them that perfectly align with our beliefs, since we do live in a fallen world in need of God’s love.
My immediate organization of choice is #Walkaway because it is standing up for freedom of thought and of speech. I’ve written a great deal about it. How does this help Blacks in particular? Because it encourages people not to be puppets and easily manipulated. There are politicians who become millionaires in office who get votes for decades while the people they supposedly represent do worse and worse. Helping people to be strong and courageous rather than victims improves every life, but especially those who start from a disadvantage. We support organizations advocating for charter schools and making sure they don’t become public schools in disguise by having destructive regulations foisted on them. It is criminal, in our opinion, that students can endure 12 years of expensive, public-funded education and emerge quite illiterate. We support ending the domination of unions, including those controlling police and schools, so that it is almost impossible to get rid of bad, weak and incompetent police and teachers. We think that all of these would actually lead to a better future for everyone, but especially for those who live in the inner city. Thanks for asking.
Oh – and my husband, in particular, has provided guidance and direction to thousands of Black men and women, helping them build independent businesses so that they can support themselves and their families with dignity.
> What is a “black criminal” and what differentiates one from any other criminal?
Black criminal is a criminal who is black. I believe the implication is that violent crime (let’s say homicides) is more widespread in black communities. In this particular case – more widespread than police brutality on blacks.
If it is more widespread then two questions arise.
1. Why is this so?
2. Why isn’t BLM and their supporters outraged about that?
To put it bluntly – why is there a double standard?
I’m sorry, I’m not as kind as Rabbi but truth comes by conflict. I hope we can all keep these discussions civilized and peaceful, and argue on facts instead of emotions.
Dear Rabbi Lapin,
I am responding to you in kind as requested and I thank-you for your gentle concern. What may be interpreted as ‘angry’ or ‘pained’ is simply that I recently had to view someone being murdered on TV and on the internet. I never saw someone being murdered while they cried for their life and their Mother without mercy. I never wanted to see it and never want to see it again. It’s traumatic, fatal and inexcusable don’t you think? Yeah, that sight hurt my eyes and my heart and all of my human sensibilities, Just as it would anger and hurt a normal human heart. What does make me also angry is for someone to throw a rock and hide their hand. I mean the very audaciousness of a country where a people are born in and misused for free labor, a plethora of inventions, creativity, all manner of talents that profit and all the while being summarily disenfranchised financially, functionally, in almost every way while blaming the victim and without shame. What I can see is probably not what you can see…but it is a fact.
The Bureau of Prisons report the following statistics for June 6, 2020. The incarcerated by race are as follows
Asian 1.5%, 2,492
Black 38.0%, 62,156
Native American 2.3%, 3,7
White 58.2%, 95,108
That is a lot of black people incarcerated since we make up only 13 % of the US population. Also, police are sworn to protect and serve all people. They are sworn to protect and serve all people. That is why policeman are so much more worthy of our anger. They have a greater responsibility and authority. We pay taxes to them. Isn’t that common-sense? But again comprising only 13% of the population, police kill the people they kill with black citizens being half of the ones they murder in total all year long, including many women and children. There are many statistics that reveal an unequal justice system. This is not new and I’m too unwilling as well as too tired to look up the various data right now.. But any ‘okay’ attorney could easily provide you with the fact that the Constitution and the application of those beautiful laws are applied differently and maliciously toward Black people. You should already be familiar with various statistical facts. Or am I giving you too much credit? So you don’t know about the Innocence Project? You don’t know about DNA being used to free innocent people? You don’t know about moratoriums on death penalty cases ? You don’t know where ‘pro- bono’ comes from? Also you couldn’t be too innocent to know that our legal system DOES criminalize the innocent? And that being found guilty in a court of law does not necessarily mean that you’re actually guilty of the crime. Any first year law student can tell you that.
The fear in what you wrote comes from you not representing an entire people accurately. I took exception to your term “black criminals”. What is a “black criminal” and what differentiates one from any other criminal? I have never used the term “criminal” to be prefaced by a person’s race or color…in my whole life. That is not necessary and yes Rabbi Daniel Lapin you were highly insensitive and may benefit from asking yourself why was that term was necessary. Your aforementioned term insinuates a certain type of criminal. Again, I offer to you that a person’s complexion in no way affects their legal status. (oops! I made an inadvertent joke).
And Rabbi, emphatically and resoundingly “NO!” police are NOT allowed to murder the very American citizens… men, women, and children they are tasked with protecting. That is not alright. It is egregious.
Okay with me if you don’t like BLM. That’s your prerogative. And certainly any primitive biogtry is ridiculous an banal. But your choice of terminology afore-referenced is questionable.
Rabbi and Mrs. Lapin,
Thank you for taking the time to do thorough research. I was shocked to hear of such a clear and anti-Biblical mission statement. They were clever (and devious) to pick a name everyone can agree with. Arguments against the organization can be mistaken for arguments against the names premise, which often invoke an emotional response that makes it harder to objectively look at the facts.
Thank you for all the work you’ve done to provide these resources.
I am an african american lady and I do not support BLM. I checked out the website of BLM after listening to Rabbi’s latest podcast. I was shocked to read what they “believe”, completely anti-biblical.
In addition, to add to Patricia’s comment about Rabbi’s response to Anna, if anyone is interested, check out the real statistics from the FBI’s website: Expanded Homicide Data Table 6 (the latest data is from 2018). It is interesting to see that the number of black offenders against black victims is up the roof.
Yes, no one is denying there is a problem with racism but let us all look at ALL the facts and data from ALL angles instead of singling out police officers.
My comment is directed at the readers not to Rabbi and Mrs Lapin 🙂
“We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and “villages” that collectively care for one another…” Does this statement mean that BLM does NOT support the traditional family/marriage (husband and wife)? Or is it just their way of saying that they support non-traditional marriages (eg same gender) as well? I’m trying to understand their rhetoric. Though you’re not BLM’s spokesman, your thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.
Mike, we’re certainly not experts on BLM. On their website, there is a great deal about transgender rights. I find that interesting and suspicious. So I would say that they do not support a Biblical view of marriage, family and community.
Dear Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin,
I have subscribed to his page for some years now in order to not so much learn what I didn’t already know over all of the years of my life beginning as a child in our Christian home…but to read differing perspectives. I am so tempted to unsubscribe just as soon as possible because I have had the misfortune of knowing truly intelligent and thoughtful people. I now seem to be in an intellectual drought these days. I truly believe that people are getting more and more dense…completely incapable of critical thinking.
For instance, I was dismayed and a little shocked to see the rabbi refer a question to a woman named Anna about ‘black criminals’ killing each other all the time while the police only kill a few Black People every now and then??? What qualifies any man to delusionally believe that he can choose who can die and who can live. Not only was the posed question wildly non- factual, it was a question completely unworthy of a person of your station.
Being a compassionate person of astute perception, I am able to accurately comprehend the motivations and human feelings of the horror of the Holocaust. I understand the urgent need for justice when an ‘old, dried-up, Nazi murderer’ is discovered quietly living out his twilight years in a modest home. I understand how ‘propaganda’ (a.k.a. “LIES) can be used to pretend a fear of harmless people and children in order to murder…even an intelligent and thoughtful child like Anne Frank. Why do I have enough common sense to read and learn about the experiences of other cultures (many others). While in the very country that I am born in to great- great, grandparents who were victims of American slavery why can’t others learn my history and the torment inflicted? Are there not reams of documentation referencing systemic racism in this country that anyone can read if they are able to read and write? Why do some of your comments feign an unreasonable and again, wildly, unsubstantiated fear? I feel absolutely no responsibility to explain anything about the horror and cruelty that has ushered in Black Lives Matter. If you cared to know you would research it and give money or assistance where you want it to go. That’s what I do. For instance, I absolutely disagree with any consumption of alcohol yet as a healthcare provider I will never withhold the best of my healthcare from anyone. I don’t especially like ‘violent people’ or ‘white criminals’ yet I would never deny any human being food…especially if they are a part of a demographic that unduly suffers in these areas. Your question felt strangely ‘hypocritical’. It was very hard for me to write “White Criminals” not because there is a lack of them, (I don’t like any true criminal) but because a criminal can range from a falsely accused person to a ‘serial killer’ who are overwhelmingly white male. Rather, it was hard for me to write the aforementioned because the color of a person’s skin does not define that person’s character. And…I was not raised to be shallow. It’s not a good look. Contrary to popular white people’s belief… For aesthetic sake, I have never and would never want to be ‘pink’ in color unless of course God made me pink or white as it’s better known and of course I would have to learn to accept it. Black is my favorite color! But, that’s as far as it goes with me. Aesthetics.
Nobody can just look at me and know that I was taught the Bible comprehensively from a child, with I and II Samuel being the most exciting chapters to me and Revelation being my most anticipated. You can’t look at me and see that I have three University degrees or that I finished them all in only four years or that I have never been poor, or that I am an excellent cook, or that children are drawn to me but I prefer to treat adults medically. You can’t look at me and know that I confirm facts before I present them, or, that I truly cannot comprehend what feeling like less than someone else feels like? But, I do know what human suffering looks like and it is horrible to look upon. I just deleted a reference to Jewish victimization. I am just very disappointed in the tone of your questions and answers. Do you have amnesia? As my parents both taught me…Don’t ever receive anything that is grudgingly offered. And do not ever give anything grudgingly for it is better to not give anything at all in that case.
We’d sincerely hate to lose your friendship over this so allow me to try and get a clearer picture of what it is that I wrote that is tempting you to unsubscribe. For convenience, I am copying right here my letter to Anna to which you refer:
I’ll let Mrs Susan Lapin respond to your main points but I do have one big, enormous, question that I would love to hear your answer on. Here it is, Anna. Just last weekend, more than 80 Americans with black skin were shot just in Chicago alone. 21 of them have died. Looking at the data and the evidence, you’d have to agree that police shootings are not the reason that blacks die of homicide at eight times the rate of whites and Hispanics combined. Why no indignation about these deaths? Why is one black man killed by a policeman so much more worthy of our anger, upset and protest than twenty one black people including women and children killed by black criminals? Is that a fair question to ask? I mean only to learn not to provoke you, so tell me if you want me to remove my question or whether you’ll help me understand this imbalance.
Please tell me, Patricia, do you honestly see in my letter quoted above the words you charge me with in your second paragraph?
You also ask me why some of my comments “feign an unreasonable and again, wildly, unsubstantiated fear?” Which of my comments? What fear? Fear of what? Patricia, I read much pain and sadness in your letter and I empathize but in all sincerity, I do not see why you are upset with what I wrote? Please help me; if I was wrong, dishonest, or plain insensitive, please tell me where so I can apologize to you.
By the way, you won’t find many Jews more opposed than I am, to the idea of Jewish victimhood perpetuated by many Jewish organizations that I dislike as much as I dislike Black Lives Matter. That doesn’t mean I don’t like Jews any more than it means I don’t like blacks. I think we can agree that we are all a little more sophisticated than that form of primitive bigotry. You won’t find many Jews less interested than I am, in making the holocaust the centerpiece of Jewish culture. As a matter of fact, Susan and I homeschooled our children and not only didn’t we teach them about the holocaust, most of them never even knew about it until they were old enough to do their own historic research. We knew it was unhelpful and even damaging for our young Jewish children to have implanted in their early psyches the notion that other people, anti-Semitic bigots, were holding them back from their dreams and desires. In fact, any regular listener to my podcast knows that a phrase that all our children still remember well is this: “Lapins are not tennis balls floating down the gutter of life!”
Finally, Patricia, I don’t agree with your contention that the word ‘criminal’ can apply to a ‘falsely accused person’ as you assert in your 3rd paragraph. In our legal system all accused persons are presumed innocent. A criminal means someone that a court of law has convicted of a crime. I use the word in that way.
I thank you for taking the time and trouble to write such a long letter especially while you are clearly upset and perhaps a bit angry and I hope you accept the respect I show you by responding in kind.
Rabbi, excellent question. I saw no disrespect or uncaring attitude in your response. Life isn’t fair much of the time for any one of any color for many reasons. My husband always said ” do what you can, where your are, with what you have.” Not discounting peoples ability to discriminate on many levels, we are all a work in progress but hate never works, it destroys. Until we all become aware of the Higher Power that has given us a blueprint of how to live putting Him first and treating people the way we want to be treated, living responsibly, loving ourselves and our neighbors nothing will change for the better. We are just not that smart, we get prideful if we make something work well for a while, we get offended easily, we get lazy, we are not kind sometimes to ourselves or others. We really act more like animals at times instead of the beautiful, unique, valuable, greatly loved creations of God with unlimited possibilities that we are. I do agree, though, that we have a tendency to let others and how they treat us make us “feel” less than. To change my life for the better I had to remember it was a feeling and I was in control of not what they said or did but how much I believed what they said or did to me and how I responded. When I remembered I had value no matter how I was treated or rejected I started to see positive change in my life. How we must disappoint and grieve the heart of Our Heavenly Father on so many levels but He still loves us.
I have followed you and read your books over the years.
I believe you are wrong on the BLM matters. You are trying to reduce it to just economic inequity and the example you gave is way off.
Let me give you a better example of economic inequity. A young African man raised in a Christain home by a Loving father and mother. Worked hard in school made excellent grades and excelled graduating top of his class. Joined one of the Fortune 500 companies and was one of the fast rising executives responsible for leading the unit that launched products that saved the company from going under but still ended up being passed over for a less qualified white boy! Not only that was paid less even though he was more qualified and experienced than his white counterparts. That is the reality in America.
PS: I make more money now than most of my colleagues in corporate America but I have option that most African Americans don’t have. I could walk away from America and go back to my own country to start my own businesses.
Do you think that promotions are always “fair” in all-white countries, companies? What makes you think that race was the deciding factor?
I am curious, what countries are you referring to when you say “all-white” ? Regarding your second question, I could ask the same back to you. Why would you believe that race or ethnicity would not be a deciding or limiting factor regarding a job decision? I would expect no company nor interviewer to explicitly say this, so of course it’s not a factor, but I have never seen an application for any job or school that did not inquire about race/ ethnicity information. I do know that information is for demographic reasons but they still ask on the application. In a perfect world, I would like to believe that race isn’t a factor in a lot of situations but I cannot. Likewise, one’s physical appearance (whether visible tattoos or unique piercings) can also be factor on a job.
So it is not a far fetched idea.
I had in mind central and northeastern European countries which are predominantly white. There are ethnic minorities of course but we cannot speak of racism in that context.
> Why would you believe that race or ethnicity would not be a deciding or limiting factor regarding a job decision?
It could be but then again it is just as likely that it was not a factor at all. In fact that is exactly my point – how would you know if it was a factor at all? Just as likely it could be some personality differences or managerial preference to have less threatening subordinates. To assert that it was an instance of racism just because one of the candidates is black – well isn’t it itself a form of racism and prejudice?
The Floyd death in MN has brought what is deep in the heart of a lot of people to the surface, including mine.
At first, I thought about unfriending people who were insensitive to the situation or things my family and race has suffered because of the color of our skin (not the content of our character). But that is not the heart of God. Jesus had the perfect character and men persecuted and killed him. You can be a perfect Messiah and men still crucify you. He said in John 15:20, ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you as well.”
Jesus summed up all the law and shared the first and greatest commandments (in Matt 22:36-40) beautifully in the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37:
“On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.
So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, CAME WHERE THE MAN WAS; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Religion tries to justify who should be our neighbor. But we have a profound responsibility to have mercy on all people (regardless of race of disposition). To meet them where they are, and not look away things look ugly (When they are attacked, hurt, or beaten).
Jesus calls us to understand one thing well: “To love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind, and soul, and love our neighbor as ourselves.” He said, all the law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
We should not condone systemic racism, police brutality, killings, riots, or looting of any kind. But we should find out what the spirit is behind them, so we can learn how to love God and love people. We transmit the traumas we do not heal. Further, we don’t need to support a certain organization to take a stand that black lives are significant. We might not have been born with a mindset that black lives matter, but we can adopt it because God adopted us through his son Jesus when we too were foreigners (of a different race).
Well said. Well said. But I did not see a response from the rabbi.
Michael, can you pull out the sentence of sentences that are waiting for a response?
Thank you so much for the wisdom. I too have been brought to the point that I can no longer keep silent & have emailed my concerns About BLM to businesses stating that to me ALL lives Matter. For businesses who respond w/ their support of BLM disregarding the concerns of some customers then I will look endeavor to find businesses whose moral compass is directly them more in line w/ my own. This is a bit more of a sensitive area for me as I have a son who is a Police Officer outside of DC. But I do realize “my emotions” will not bring about the Shalom I am praying for in our Nation. My son has started a blog- theconservativemarine.com – if anyone is interested in hearing from a Police Officer’s perspective. Most Sincerely, Connie Faith Sylvester 🇺🇸🙏🏻❤️🕊🧎♀️
Connie, thanks for not linking to your son’s blog per our policy of not including links, but anyone who wants can find it. I am eager to see it myself as I think that this is the wrong time for silence (my Musing for tomorrow unless I read it over and decide to write something else.) Voices not in lock-step are being increasingly silenced. That is a step to tyranny.
Well said, Susan. Both you and Rabbi Lapin typically reflect my thinking but in a more articulate manner which is so appreciated.
Randy, this Ask the Rabbi is from both of us as they all are. We often wish we had added something more or worded things differently when we look back but we do spend a lot of time praying over and honing our answers. Thank you for appreciating that.
I am with Randy! You do a much better job of articulating your position than I can.
I believe Rabbi you are African-American is that correct? I also believe that your wife wrote an article commending the current President but denouncing some of his actions, is that correct? Why not afford the same grace to the Black Lives Matter Movement – when the group non-violently challenges and pushes back on social injustice which has been carried out on blacks the world over? Let’s remember Apartheid in Southern Africa.
Thanks for writing. Where I was born is surely irrelevant? I am not sure that your characterization of Susan’s article is correct, but that too is irrelevant. Then you ask why not afford the same grace to BLM? I am sure at all sure what you mean by ‘grace’ or by ‘the same grace’. The same as what? We oppose all injustice and we also oppose the BLM movement for the reasons we gave. Why would you wish to legitimize as the only spokesman for justice, an organization like BLM? There are so many better ways to oppose racism, why would you want to defend BLM? I am sorry but your letter was unclear.
Isn’t BLM a far left terrorist organisation sponsored by George Soros?
Black Lives Matter is in fact a radical group leading the demonstrations across America and is also an anti-Semitic organization. BLM was formed in 2014 as a merger of activists from the anti-Semitic Nation of Islam, the anti-Semitic Black Panthers and Dream Catchers. In 2016, BLM published a platform that has since been removed from its website. The platform accused Israel of committing “genocide” and referred to the Jewish state as an “apartheid” state. The platform accused Israel and its supporters of pushing the U.S. into wars in the Middle East. The platform also officially joined BLM with the anti-Semitic BDS campaign to boycott, divest and sanction Israel. BDS campaign leader Omar Barghouti acknowledged this week that the goal of the BDS campaign is to destroy Israel. BDS campaigns on U.S. campuses are characterized by bigotry and discrimination directed against Jewish students.
I don’t believe for a second BLM rights any inequities.
Karen, I know that I sometimes write a comment and then my husband tells me he didn’t understand what I was saying. That isn’t surprising as it is usually written rather quickly. Which is to say, I am not sure what you are saying. President Trump is the president – there isn’t actually another president to support. But there are many non-profits and groups on the American scene. I extend grace to individuals who support the BLM movement as I believe most of them mean well, but it is the same grace I give to people who support the ADL and other Jewish-run organizations that I think do more harm than good. However, that doesn’t mean I need to support the organization. Personally, I think supporting charter schools and specific churches would be the best step towards ending inequity in our society.
I’m waiting for Planned Parenthood to proudly display a banner that says, “Black Lives Matter” in front of their abortuaries. Somehow I don’t think they will.
Good point, but naah, I don’t think so either.
You know what? That would be a great mischief for someone to do 🙂 Something like ‘The Yes Men” did with their BBC announcement regarding Bhopal. But above all – stay safe. I’m not based in the USA so don’t have a pulse on how bad the situation really is.
I don’t understand the one example you gave as to why you will not support BLM.
Is there any other reason that you will not support BLM because of their stance on traditional marriage?
As you remember interracial marriage was against “Gods holy law” held by many racist organization.
I believe there are so many reasons being someone who follows Christ we should align ourselves with over turning the inequity and inequalities here in America.
Thanks for writing. Yes, there were many religious organizations that disapproved of interracial marriage. That is history and not relevant now, right? We certainly want to see only justice prevail for everyone but we are concerned about your use of terms like “inequity” and “inequality.” We do not think that justice means equality of economic outcome for all. We certainly have always fought for equality of opportunity for all but there is no reason why someone who goofed off at school and then had a child or two, followed by living on welfare should have the same income as someone who worked hard at school, got married, furthered education and struggled to build a career, is there? At any rate, while agreeing that injustice must be opposed, that is not the same as supporting Black Lives Matter, which we also oppose. Are we wrong?
I am a subscriber to your platform. I have enjoyed the immense wisdom gleaned from the Bible that you have shared with the public for so long. I am a Nigerian and as such black. I have to openly say, in response to Susan’s letter above, I am highly disappointed and at the same time confused at the conclusions drawn with regards to black lives matter. Bob Marley once said, He who feels it knows it”. As I understand, you, Rabbi, are from South Africa, I think you know first hand what racial discrimination has done to that country. One must ask one’s self, why is it that it is always the black people saying leave us alone, our lives matter, give us equal opportunity and so on. I think Susan, if you take the entire scope into consideration you will see that we as a people have suffered serious pain from the hands of white peoople, such as has not been seen anywhere on the planet. As much as you Jews might understand, that segregation and stigmatization of a group of people is terrible. I do not think you can understand or imagine our pain. How would you feel if every terrible program is targetted at you? Rabbi, why do you think that black people marry at early age, live on social welfare and do not get education? How would you feel if they lied to you for centuries about who you are, when a system is put in place to ensure you go from school to prison? How would you feel when the people you love face immense disparity in a system that was supposed to protect them.? Someone once said the reason why Jews were killed so much by Hitler was the silence of the church pulpits. The reason why blacks are still being killed in their numbers is the stance taken by people like you. You want to be reasonable, you want to analyse and you want to assess. Don’t you think that the facts are jumping right at your faces? I am not one to say donate money to any black organization because I hate us being the receivers of any form of “benevolent” donations. White people have stolen so much from us, killed us from Africa to America, to Asia and further and you sit there and talk about BLM and want to analyse? I am very sorry but you are dead wrong. You are missing the chance to open your eyes and see what is going on. We are in Egypt, back in Egypt once again and Pharoah is on the loose. You can choose to be like those midwives who refused to kill Hebrew babies or you can choose to be on the side of the task masters but there is nothing in between. You can analyse all you want to but honestly, if you cannot see that we are being persecuted and killed, judged wrongly and mishandled then where is your compassion. If you your daughters go out of the house everyday and you have to fear that they may never make it back home again, if your daughters are sleeping on their own beds and they get killed by police who entered there for no reason, tell me how much analyses that would require to understand such pain please.
How can you not understand why we are angry? How can you not see why we have to fight back? How can you reduce this entire effort, global effort, I might add, down to some social minor difference that you may not relate to because of your privileged position in a society that is corrupt that even Russia and China condemns it? I am terribly disappointed at your insensitivity to the plight of black people in America and the rest of the world.
I am a Nigerian like you but I beg to disagree on your stance on this. Yes, blacks were recepients of bad policies but you seem to forget that they had a freedom to choose. They chose a way and sadly the extenr of the wisdom present in the way they have chosen reveals itself in their terrible outcomes.
You sound like blacks are robots that do not have enough sense to discern if a policy is good or not. Our short term thinking and need for immediate gratification led us to making those choices
More pathetic is the fact that the only response we have is Anger and blame. Rather than learn where we missed it and correct it, we refuse to take responsibility and blame everyone else. When there was no one e
Left to blame , we coined a new word called systemic racism.
I hear systemic racism but We come from Nigeria and this same system the African Americans complain about work for us. Do you know why, because we know we can’t go back home with excuses. We don’t condone excuses. Everyone back home knows if you don’t make it in America then it’s really your problem.
This is not to say that the system is perfect. No human System will be perfect and rather than throw stones at it, engage the system and try to make it better
Yes African Americans are stereotyped but that’s because of what they have projected to there races. You know even people from Africa like me even wonder why they are so violent and all. This is not to make excuses for stereotypes but you need to understand that you really can’t judge another man for doing it, if you do the same thing. If you are truthful with yourself you do it too. Southern Nigeria thinks every northerner is a Bokoharam member or an illiterate and they treat them that way. Eastern Nigeria thinks the western Nigerian’s are sly and they deal with them with that mindset. Western Nigeria thinks easterners are disrespectful and they deal with them that way. I am sure you fall into one of the categories.
To reduce these stereotypes , the truth is that we need to tell America a different story. They need to look into our communities and not find any any validation for their stereotypes.
We are so ridiculous. We match and complain about being stereotyped and right there we turn that and validate that in every body’s mind
When the African American community acts in a respectable way they will be respected. You can’t go about becoming thugs and expect police and people not to profile you. We all do it. We tell ourselves a small joke in my Nigerian community. If you here someone yelling in a corporate office in America, there is an 80% chance that this person is an African American. I am not white. I am as dark as charcoal
Do you think racism is a Caucasian thing or other races don’t discriminate against blacks ? Do you think blacks don’t discriminate against other races?
Blacks need to realize that for every finger they point at the white man, they have four others pointing at them.
Learn more about Liberia and Sierra Leone. These were countries formed by returnee slaves and all. They were free of the white man but their outcomes are still not better off.
Lastly you talk about facts. Yes, so let’s examine the facts and let’s look for patterns. What percentage of police interactions with blacks leads to deadly force? Are election years the only year police ever shoots a black person? But know we are being manipulated again to destroy our communities and years down the line we will blame others for manipulating us
have you ever wondered why the only argument we tend to make is an emotional argument? The facts push us to confront the reality that a huge percentage of the problem is from us.
You talk about police hunting down black people and forget to realize that a black person is overwhelmingly more likely to get killed by another black than being shot by a police officer.
See Bros, I can go on and on. To trying to guilt trip others won’t work. I challenge you to grow and confront the facts.
Note I am not saying police don’t discriminate, I am not even condoning it. I am saying rather than focus on externalities we can’t control, why don’t we do right with the things in our hands. Why don’t we take responsibility. Why don’t we build our families, why don’t we teach delayed gratification, why don’t we preach equality of opportunity rather than outcomes. The root of equality of outcomes is covetousness. You wanting what another man has and all you can do is envy that man for possessing what he has. If you think you are capable, you won’t spend time coveting what he has, you will work on getting your own .
I am typing from my phone and I have not had time to properly organize this response. I hope you read with an open mind and get my drift.
I am your Nigerian brother. I am as black as charcoal itself and I love it .
I would say that we agree with you that turning over inequity is a good thing. Equality is different as economist Thomas Sowell explains so well. Equality and freedom cannot go hand in hand. If you do a search for ‘equality’ in all our various writings, I think you will find much that we have written about that.
Our views are based on the Bible and ancient Jewish wisdom has never taught against interracial marriage. It certainly teaches about traditional marriage. People fighting on both sides of most issues (including pro-life and pro-abortion) often cite the Bible. It isn’t the Bible’s fault if it is misused.
Our position is that BLM is the wrong movement to lead to a positive outcome. Anointing it as “the group” one should support doesn’t seem wise to us, David. If you feel differently, then you are certainly entitled to your opinion as we are to ours. (Whoops. Didn’t see that my husband had already responded.)
Susan, you are so right. I learned today that the Clinton Foundation is behind BLM so who would want to donate to go into their pockets. Many wonderful people are standing against the BLM agenda and they are of that race. Let’s support the right people not the bad organizations who have the intent to destroy and by giving to them, we are helping their agenda. I would not support what they are doing to destroy and turn people against their own kind, Let us consider giving money to the black businesses that were destroyed and burned by their own kind. Let us help them rebuild, not line the pockets of the organization that did this to them. How we all need discerning hearts and not just let a title guide us.
What Afro-American group do you support for positive changes in America?
Michael, I would love to hear suggestions of worthwhile groups to support. I wouldn’t phrase it as “Afro-American” groups. I think charter schooling would disproportionately help minority children. (Here is a link to a Musing I wrote on this topic: https://rabbidaniellapin.com/stop-waiting-for-superman/) I think making it socially preferable to have children within marriage and after having an education and means of supporting oneself rather than saying, “All families are the same” would disproportionately help those in poverty. I think promoting the value of life and discouraging abortion (largely by valuing marriage and family) would do a tremendous amount to restore a belief in the value of life and would make communities safer, especially high crime areas. (See my Musing, Womanly Virtue) I think letting God back into our schools and communities is a worthwhile cause and support organizations that work to that goal.
Right now, I am supporting the #Walkaway Movement which gives a voice to all sorts of minorities who are targets of hatred for not toeing the line on every latest Leftist idea.
I’m giving the “side-eye” to the fact that the writer said “Afro American”. Anyway, all I can say is wow Rabbi Lapin, I am disappointed about how you feel about BLM. You don’t get it. You probably did not get the protests against the Vietnam War back in the 60s either (and there was police brutality against Blacks back then too!). However, you are entitled to your opinion. I’m going to unsubscribe now.
Dear Mother, I do hope you see this before you unsubscribe or perhaps another mother of a young black boy will respond. I imagine that you worry a great deal about your son and, yes, I agree that even if he follows all the proper rules, acts and dresses respectfully, he has a greater chance than my son of being suspected of doing wrong and being treated unfairly. I think we would also agree that in a better world that would be different.
I really would appreciate hearing the answer to these questions I have: 1) What policy changes do you advocate? For example, I think having police have cameras is a policy that helps both innocent police and innocent civilians. Making it easier to fire police who act badly is another policy change. (Ending racism is not a policy.)
2) What policies is BLM proposing that you support? Do you think it is good that they have become the organization of choice for donations? Are there other options that might be better?
3) Where is the money they are getting going? If that is being kept secret, does it make a difference to you?
4) Who is benefitting from the fact that a terrible incident ending in death that appalled almost every single American, turned into something that led to looting, anarchy, hatred and murder? (Is it the same people who benefit from the economy being shut down by Coronavirus? Is it the same people who benefit from editors and journalists being fired if they do not say exactly what the latest Leftist orders are today?
The question isn’t if the country and world can become a better place. It is whether the steps being taken might make it a worse place instead.
With very best wishes on raising a son who has a strong moral compass and who is blessed to meet people who look at him for who he is.
Oh, if only the religious groups would cry out on our behalf. Other groups have taken the lead because it would appear that many of God’s leaders have chosen silence. This is probably bad theology but it’s almost like “the rocks are crying out” for us. We (the black community) many of whom serve the God of the Bible need help and we can’t do it by ourselves. I am admirer of your ministry and have previously bought your materials, and will continue to whenever able, but I am somewhat disappointed in your inability to understand the hurt and pain this matter is causing.
Barbara, your comment is gracious and personal and I am going to try to respond in kind. The important sentence is the last one and that is the one I want to address, but if I may, I would like to ask you for your definition of the “black community.” I ask this in honesty because I know that there is no ‘Jewish community’ as much as that term is used. Is every person with dark skin part of the ‘black community’? From my children’s experience in school, black students from Africa and other parts of the world- on the whole – were more diligent, better prepared and did much better than those born and raised in America. We meet many, many blacks upbeat and loving like you in churches but we also come across unhappy and surly blacks. Is the color of the skin the commonality or would it be better to group with people as “hard-working” and “entitled,” “grateful” and “resentful”? I do understand that there is an immediate identification by skin color, but how do you have a “community” when people have such different upbringings, values and ideas? I would very much like to understand how you see this.
As to your last sentence. You are right that I can’t feel the pain or understand it in exactly the same way as you do. When I hear about a tsunami in Asia, my heart aches, but it does not cause the same level of pain as a tornado causing damage in a neighboring state, and that causes me less pain than watching neighbors losing their homes to flooding. When family or friends are involved, the pain level does go up. I think that is absolutely human – most people cannot, or at least I cannot, feel exactly the same regardless of closeness to a situation. I always found Bill Clinton’s “I feel your pain,” to be fake (as I find many, many statements by politicians) as well as pandering. So, I will honestly tell you, that I do not feel the same level of pain when someone fires into a Black church as when someone shoots up a synagogue, like happened in Poway, CA. My heart hurts a little more when I wonder if I personally know someone who was hurt (and yes, I did.) If it is a Black church where my husband and I have been, I feel more pain than if it is one unknown to us as yet. I feel pain in all these cases, but not exactly to the same level. I think this is human.
What I’m trying to say is that I do feel revulsion and pain at the violence inflicted on George Floyd. If I personally had bad interactions with the police, I would feel it even more. The more ways his life and mine intersect the more pain I would feel. So, you are right that I do not feel the pain as deeply as you do or in the same way as you do, but I think that is human. I do feel it as an American and as a human being. I do feel it in empathy with parents I know who are raising children who look more like George Floyd than mine do. I feel it more when I worry about the pain that people I know personally who are black must be feeling – but I also think that they are also feeling pain at our-of-control looting and destruction of black-owned stores and businesses. Because I don’t believe they think of those looters as their “community” in terms of values. Maybe that pain is more similar to what I feel when I hear a Jewish person speak “as a Jew” and it is clear they have never met God or His Bible.
What I am saying is that I am more steps removed than you are from the pain. However, that doesn’t mean that I am not feeling any pain. It does mean that I am able to talk more clinically and analytically. Had the streets not erupted, that talk would be better down the road when, as ancient Jewish wisdom puts it, “the dead are no longer in front of us.” However, the emotion exploded in ways that damage all Americans and I’m afraid set back the idea that we should see each other as fellow human being created in God’s image and fellow Americans rather than finding color the most important distinction.
I appreciate your taking the time to communicate with me and know that the more connections we make with each other, the more we do share each other’s hurts.
Compliments. In response to David Spencer, if we remember, Moses was the only prophet who had seen God’s form. He was that close to God. But he married an Ethiopian woman. When his brother and sister, Aron and Miriam, spoke against Moses because of this, God was angry with them. Point being, there were different situations and reasons that God allowed or disallowed certain things in the bible. The marriage of Moses to the Ethiopian woman was interracial. And God allowed it.
Ms. Umoh, I know we responded to a comment like this before, but please know that according to ancient Jewish wisdom, Miriam and Aaron’s complaints about their brother’s marriage did not have to do with the color of his wife’s skin. It had to do with what they perceived as his neglect of her.
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