Rabbi Pinchas Teitz’s Civil Rights Polo Grounds Speech

11 Jun 2020

Mr. Chairman, Reverend Clergy, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I have the great honor to bring you greetings and blessings from the highest rabbinic tribunal in the world, the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada. I am here to express our full solidarity with the heroic struggle waged by awakened courageous Americans of all faiths to assure equal opportunity to our colored fellow citizens.

There is an old Talmudic saying that proper knowledge and awareness of a problem constitutes half a solution. Let me therefore, at the outset, define in as simple terms as possible, the problem which brought us out here this afternoon.

As we stand before the Almighty and this great assemblage, let it be declared without any reservations that racial discrimination of any kind, constitutes not only a social misbehavior or a civic crime, but a sin–a great sin, a sin for which, some day, we will be called upon to give an accounting to our Creator. Believing as we do that man was created in the image of G-d, it follows that he who judges his fellow man by the color of his skin debases the divine image of his own face.

Read the full speech on Sefaria.

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.