The Union for Reform Judaism, the governing body that represents the largest sect of American Jews, has voiced its support for the House of Representatives vote to impeach President Donald Trump.
“We applaud the House of Representatives’ bipartisan vote to hold President Trump accountable for his incitement of violence against the United States government and we urge the Senate to act on this Article of Impeachment,” The group said in a statement.
The president’s incitement of the mob which stormed Capitol Hill last week represented an “abdication of moral leadership” the group said, adding that the president would do well to examine the Jewish concept of teshuva or repentance.
“In Jewish tradition, when a wrong has been committed, the expression of remorse is central to the act of teshuva, repentance,” they said. “Yet rather than accept responsibility or express contrition for the role that his words played in the desecration of the Capitol and the deaths of at least six individuals, including two Capitol Police officers, President Trump has stood by his disproven lies and provocative rhetoric.”
However, the group believes that the statement isn’t just a political act, but also a religious one with biblical and rabbinic support.
“Leviticus 19:17 calls on all people of conscience to rebuke the evildoer, lest we incur guilt on account of the evildoer’s actions, but to do so without hate in our heart,” said the statement.
With the statement, the Reform movement becomes the first major Jewish denomination to issue an opinion on impeachment. The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism has not made any statement, and while no equivalent body exists for Orthodox Judaism, major umbrella groups like the Orthodox Union and Agudath Israel have so far stayed quiet.
However, other Jewish organizations like the ADL, The American Jewish Congress, National Council of Jewish Women, Bend the Arc, J Street, T’ruah and IfNotNow have all voiced their support for impeachment.