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'No Time to Celebrate': SF Jews Conduct Ferguson Chanukah Protest

'No Time to Celebrate': SF Jews Conduct Ferguson Chanukah Protest

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As millions of Jews throughout the world lit candles, exchanged presents with their loved ones, and enjoyed traditional fare that is emblematic of the Chanukah holiday (also known as the Festival of Lights) on Tuesday night, far-left Jews in San Francisco and across America opted instead to take the next eight days to shine a light on police violence and to protest that #BlackLivesMatter.

In San Francisco, large groups of Jewish people took to the streets holding up signs which read “There is no time to celebrate” and “White silence is violence.” The protests were organized by a slew of religious leaders (rabbis), social activists, and concerned citizens. Twitter lit up with tweets documenting this action under the hashtags #ChanukaAction and #BlackLivesMatter:

There is a long history of solidarity between African Americans and Jews in America. They acted in unison during the civil rights movement, which culminated with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. On the Chanukaction.org website, a detailed document describes a plan of action for how the next seven nights of the holiday would be used to spread their message. Part of it reads as follow:

This Chanukah, we rededicate ourselves to the fight to end police violence and racial profiling. As we light the Chanukah candles, we remember those who have lost their lives to racist police violence. We remember the lives they lived and the loved ones they left behind, and we dedicate the Chanukah flame to their memory.

“Chanukah means dedication, and we dedicate ourselves to black lives, which are sadly undervalued in our society,” Rabbi Michael Rothbaum, an Oakland resident, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Close to 200 Jewish protesters shut down Market Street in order to observe mourner’s kaddish; a Jewish prayer which is said in honor of the deceased.

Nearby in Berkeley, dozens of protesters convened at a 400-seat auditorium in a middle school for a special City Council meeting held specifically for them to voice their concerns over police tactics at recent protests, according to the Chronicle. Many called for the resignation of Mayor Tom Bates, while questioning the credibility of the City Council. 

They also reportedly requested that all charges made against protesters who were briefly arrested following a series of violent protests throughout the Bay Area be dropped. 

A proposed January meeting by Mayor Bates to discuss police tactics, vandalism and other issues related to the protests, when students were back from winter break, failed to garner approval and was reportedly met with jeers and chants of opposition from those present; the protesters wanted to expedite that process.

Adelle Nazarian is on Twitter: @AdelleNaz


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