Community Issues

Rabbi: "Think About the Impact of Your Words"

Speaking before an international panel, he says elected leaders are setting a bad example.

The rabbi of the Pittsburgh synagogue where 11 people were killed by a white supremacist last October says elected leaders are "stirring up an epidemic of uncivil discourse" that makes everyone think it's OK to speak to each other in ways that are divisive.

Rabbi Jeffrey Myers was a speaker at a hearing in front of a federal panel looking at how religious people have responded to acts of hate and persecution, from the attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, to China's mass incarceration of Muslims.

"Think about the impact of your words." Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

"I call you to task for this epidemic," Rabbi Myers is quoted by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette as telling the panel Responding to Hate: the Role of Religious Actors . The panel was led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and made up of representatives of Congress and the Trump administration. The Times of Israel reports, over 100 delegations attended, including witnesses and activists representing Muslim groups and other religious organizations facing persecution.

The memorial outside Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, where Rabbi Myers is the religious leader.

"As our leaders, you are teaching us that it is acceptable for us to behave this way, and it's simply not," said Myers, who didn't single out any specific politicians. "Is it any wonder that our fellow citizens speak in uncivil terms and use h-speech?" Myers refuses to use the word "hate" considering it a four letter word.

Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis. moderated the hearing and pointed to the actions and reactions of religious people in the face of injustice and even genocide as examples for everyone. "I am led to believe that it's time for the religious community to take its historic place in the forefront for the march of justice," she said, quoted in the PG.

Myers punctuated his address with advice that's food for though for us all: "Think about the impact of your words."

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