NEW YORK (JTA) — Nine liberal rabbis endorsed the Women’s March after meetings with organizers Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory and sharing their concerns about anti-Semitism.
The rabbis said in a letter that they had engaged in “frank discussions about the issues that are dividing our communities” with Sarsour and Mallory, including the latter’s ties to Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan, who has a history of making anti-Semitic and homophobic statements.
Though the letter acknowledged that differences remained, it encouraged members of the Jewish community to attend the march on Saturday.
“We pledge to remain actively involved with the Women’s March, its next steps, its hopeful agenda, and its leadership, Linda and Tamika in particular,” the rabbis said.
The statement came out of meetings between the two organizers and 13 rabbis, though not all the attendees signed it, the Forward reported.
Along with the Farrakhan issue, Mallory and fellow organizer Carmen Perez allegedly made anti-Semitic comments at Women’s March planning meetings. Also, some Jews feel uncomfortable by comments made about Israel and Zionism by Sarsour, a Palestinian-American activist and outspoken critic of the Jewish state.
The signatories of the letter are Rabbis Barat Ellman, Rachel Goldenberg, Lauren Grabelle Hermann, Lisa Grant, Sharon Kleinbaum, Ellen Lippmann, Mike Rothbaum, Joshua Stanton and Nancy Wiener.
Ellman is the the mother of Women’s March staffer Sophie Ellman-Golan and Kleinbaum works at New York’s LGBTQ synagogue, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah. Grant and Wiener both work at the New York campus of the Reform movement’s Hebrew Union College.