July 20, 2019

Poway Rabbi Tells UN to Fight Hate with ‘Random Acts of Goodness and Kindness’

Photo from Flickr.

Chabad of Poway Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein addressed the United Nations General Assembly on June 26, calling on the world body to combat anti-Semitism and other forms of hate through “random acts of kindness.”

Goldstein was speaking as Israeli U.N. Ambassador Dany Danon’s guest during the U.N.’s session on Combating Anti-Semitism and Other Forms of Racism and Hate in the Digital Age

He recounted moments from the April 27 shooting, the last day of Passover, saying he was excited to read a prophecy about there one day being “a perfect world” where “everyone would love each other and the knowledge of God will be everywhere.” Goldstein heard the “thundering sound of gunshots” while he was washing his hands in the lobby, and he soon found himself staring “down the barrel” of the shooter’s AR-15. Myriad children, including Goldstein’s grandchildren, were playing behind him.

“I have a fraction of a second to decide, what do I do?” Goldstein said. “Do I collapse and hide – the gun is pointing at me – or do I think about the children? It wasn’t a doubt in my mind of what I am to do: we need to save the children.”

He told the Assembly that anti-Semitism is one of the deadliest forms of hate throughout global history. Goldstein pointed out that Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler and radical Islamists all murdered Jews in addition to millions of non-Jews.

“Anti-Semitism, we need to realize, is not just about the Jewish people, it’s about the future of civilization,” Goldstein said. “Do we want to live in a world with blood and tears, or do we want to live in a world with love and beauty?”

Goldstein encouraged Jews to be even more open and brazen about their Judaism and expressed optimism that while hate can fester and spread online, the Internet can also be used as a tool to spread love.

“Through random acts of goodness and kindness, you create light in the world,” Goldstein said.

Goldstein unveiled a charity box and put some money into it, and encouraged others to start charity boxes in their own homes.

“Every morning, think about helping others,” Goldstein said. “So on behalf of all the nations here, I am going to begin an act of kindness, an act of goodness by giving charity, and this will certainly bring blessing to the whole world.”

The April 27 shooting at the Chabad of Poway resulted in the death of Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, and injured three others. Goldstein told the congregants gathered outside of the synagogue, “Do not let this moment define us, it will not consume us, but rather, am yisrael chai! The nation of Israel lives, will always live on!”

The full speech can be seen below: