This week’s Torah reading of Parshat Kedoshim questions us about our human relationships, how we treat our siblings, and how we relate to our neighbors to make this world a better place to live. So here I go back to the beginning. When I read in Kedoshim, “Do not stand before the blood of your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:16), I feel the moral obligation to shout that it is not nationality that makes a life something sacred and that we have the responsibility to watch over our neighbors.
The horror stories we’re hearing about Uyghur people taken in the night, being separated from their families, having their heads shaved, put on trains, interned, forced into slave labor, and systematically murdered are all too familiar to the Jewish community.
In the current climate of police violence, particularly against people of color; political campaigns calling for law and order; and activist calls to defund the police, how might Jews respond? The following sources suggest an approach that flows from classical Jewish sources, through a lens informed by contemporary progressive values.