SOURCE: Central Conference of American Rabbis

Central Conference of American Rabbis

September 08, 2010 15:45 ET

Reform Rabbis Denounce "International Burn a Quran Day" Proposed by Reverend Terry Jones

Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), World's Largest Group of Jewish Clergy, Urges All People to Join in Condemning Incendiary Act and to Donate Two Copies of the Quran for the Public Good

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - September 8, 2010) - The world's largest group of Jewish clergy, the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), issued a statement today condemning the proposed "International Burn a Quran Day" by Rev. Terry Jones of The Dove World Outreach Center of Gainesville, Florida, for September 11, 2010.

In its statement, the CCAR, which represents 2,000 reform rabbis said, "...the hateful burning of books considered sacred is frightfully reminiscent of the Talmud burnings in the 13th and 16th centuries and the burning of Jewish books in the 1930s by the Nazis." The statement also said, "...we call all people of reason and good faith, to condemn this incendiary act and the blindness and hatred which motivate it. Should this horrendous crime against moral decency actually take place, we encourage others so appalled to donate two copies of the Quran, or books explaining normative Islam, for every one book which is burned."

To arrange a conversation with Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus, President of the CCAR, or Rabbi Steven A. Fox, Chief Executive of the CCAR, please contact Itay Engelman of Sommerfield Communications at 212-255-8386 or itay@sommerfield.com.

The full statement from the CCAR is below:

As leaders of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the world's oldest and largest organization of Jewish clergy, we are appalled at the proposed "International Burn a Quran Day" proposed by the Rev. Terry Jones of The Dove World Outreach Center of Gainesville, Florida, for September 11, 2010.

For Jews especially, the hateful burning of books considered sacred is frightfully reminiscent of the Talmud burnings in the 13th and 16th centuries and the burning of Jewish books in the 1930s by the Nazis. Religious ignorance and intolerance will again show their ugly faces, to be reflected in flames which would bring forth, not warmth and light, but darkness and destruction. Indeed, we wonder if our own Talmud is the next to be burned, given that many of the accusations Rev. Jones uses to justify the burning of the Quran would also apply to the Talmud and other post-Biblical sacred Jewish writings.

In promoting the burning of the Quran as an ungodly book which keep Muslims from recognizing the truth of Christianity, this minister and those who would emulate him exhibit the same intolerance and exclusive thinking which they attempt to condemn in their sweeping condemnation of Islam.

The burning of books is a powerfully symbolic act which condemns to the flames not only the words contained therein but those who would live by those words as well. In the 20th century, we tragically witnessed the prophetic truth of Heinrich Heine's words, "Where they burn books, they will, in the end, burn human beings too."

We call on all people of reason and good faith, to condemn this incendiary act and the blindness and hatred which motivate it. Should this horrendous crime against moral decency actually take place, we encourage others so appalled to donate two copies of the Quran, or books explaining normative Islam, for every one book which is burned.

We join our voices to the rising opposition of other Jewish, Christian and Islamic groups to this affront to human decency and religious freedom and urge all religious and civic organizations to publically reject this act of hatred.

Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus     Rabbi Steven A. Fox
President of the CCAR     Chief Executive of the CCAR

About The CCAR

The Central Conference of American Rabbis, founded in 1889, is the oldest and largest rabbinic organization in North America. As the professional organization for Reform Rabbis of North America, the CCAR projects a powerful voice in the religious life of the American and international Jewish communities. Since its establishment, the CCAR has a rich history of giving professional and personal support to Reform rabbis, providing them opportunities for study, professional development and spiritual growth beginning while they are still in seminary, through mid-careers, and into retirement. The CCAR is uniquely positioned to meet the ongoing needs of its nearly 2,000 member rabbis (virtually the entire Reform rabbinate) and the entire Reform Jewish community. For more information please visit the CCAR's website at http://ccarnet.org/.

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