Keynote Address by Rabbi David Saperstein

Rabbi David Saperstein’s keynote address was a prophetic call for peace, justice, and tolerance in a world riven by polarization, violence, and disregard for the sanctity of the Earth and all of its inhabitants. He described a world in which we currently face a complex set of issues: military conflicts that destroy people and the countries in which they live; growing income inequality; the largest number of refugees and displaced persons that the world has seen since the end of World War II; and rampant climate change and the destruction of the environment.

He also stressed the tragedy of human beings who never reach their full potential because they are either killed or victimized by brutal wars and repressive regimes, and compared this loss of vitality, creativity, and capacity for good to the empty void that remained when so many perished during the Holocaust and World War II. He also called explicitly for a “bipartisan coalition of conscience” in this country so that we can put aside our differences and begin to address these issues and provide hope and healing for our communities, our country, and the world.