Clergy Witness to White Supremacy's Violence and Hatred in Charlottesville

Posted Aug. 16, 2017

MP3 Interview with Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, co-founder of T'ruah, the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, conducted by Melinda Tuhus


Hundreds of counter-protesters came to Charlottesville, Virginia to stand against the Unite the Right march of neo-Nazis, Klu Klux Klan and alt-right supporters on Aug. 12. Among them were about 50 clergy who had been invited to come to the city by local anti-racist organizers. The clergy participated in an interfaith prayer service on Friday night and during a march Saturday morning before a violent confrontation began between white supremacist groups and anti-fascist militants known as antifa.

The violence in Charlottesville resulted in one person being killed, 32-year-old Heather Heyer, a progressive activist, and 19 others injured when a speeding car slammed into a crowd of counter-protesters. The accused driver, James Alex Field of Ohio, has been charged with second-degree murder. Two Virginia state troopers also died when their helicopter monitoring the rally crashed.

Mordechai Liebling is a Philadelphia-based rabbi who is a co-founder of T'ruah, the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights, and was among the clergy who traveled to Charlottesville. Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Liebling, who explains that he’s drawn to social justice activism due to the fact that both his parents are survivors of the Holocaust and he feels it's his responsibility to stand up against hatred whenever possible. Here, he describes some of the events of the tragic weekend in Charlottesville and his thoughts on the way forward to defeat hatred.

For more information on human rights, visit T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights website at

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