Liberal rabbi leads Orlando memorial at PinkNews Awards

30 October 2016

Liberal Judaism’s Rabbi Dr René Pfertzel joined with a Bishop and an Imam at The PinkNews Awards to lead a memorial to those killed in the Orlando massacre.

At the start of the Awards Dinner, a vigil was held in remembrance of the victims of the terrorist attack.

René, of The Liberal Jewish Synagogue, was joined in prayer by Alan Wilson, the Bishop of Buckingham, and Imam Halima Gosai Hussain from the Inclusive Mosque.

The PinkNews Awards celebrate the contributions of politicians, businesses and community groups towards what has been another historic year for LGBTQI+ equality in the UK and around the world.

Guests including Jeremy Corbyn, Justine Greening, Victoria Derbyshire and Susanna Reid attended the event at Speaker’s House in Parliament and One Great George Street.

The full text of René’s tribute to the victims in Orlando:

“If someone’s faith leads this person to kill, to hate, to despise, or even to judge another human being, this person’s faith is highly questionable. The problem does not come from God or from any religious faith; the problem comes from us, frail and limited human beings, and the violence that we sometime convey.

The God revealed in our most sacred text, the Torah, is a God of justice, of din in Hebrew, tempered by the attribute of rachmanut, of compassion. The core teaching of Judaism is the sanctity of life. No one has the right to take a life, and nothing can ever justify a murder.

Liberal Judaism has always been at the forefront of the fight for human rights. From the early 2000s, Liberal Judaism has fought for equality for LGBTQI+ people. We welcomed civil partnership in 2004, and the Same Sex Couple Act in 2013. We have been conducting same sex ceremonies in our synagogues since 2004.

There is no word strong enough to express our horror after the Orlando shooting. There is no excuse to explain the distorted use of religion by the perpetrator. It is the sign of a humanity that is at risk to lose its moral compass.

We mourn the victims of this terrible slaughter, and we will always promote a society that protects equality and respect for all forms of life.

May the God of Compassion have mercy on the victims, and help us to fight everywhere to promote the honour and the rights of every single human being.”
[Photo credit: Chris Jepson Photography]  

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