Remembering Rabbi Leonard Beerman
By Dr Maher Hathout
MPAC Senior Adviser

Today, we pause to mourn the passing of our dear friend and a great man,  Rabbi Leonard Beerman , a fearless interfaith advocate whose inspirational legacy will live on forever. I recall my first encounter with Rabbi Beerman when we both spoke about the Middle East at a bookstore. Both of us were viciously criticized, but I knew that from that point onward, my destiny would be tied with this rabbi in the struggle for sanity and justice in the Middle East. Few people stand bigger than themselves, but Rabbi Beerman became a symbol for justice and at moments of despair, he embodies empowerment to me. To me, he is my brother.
Rabbi Beerman has always stood up against anti-Muslim speech and Islamophobia. He helped lead an interfaith group in defense of the  Islamic Center of Southern California  when it was targeted with hate speech and hate crimes. When MPAC President Salam Al-Marayati and myself were attacked by those within the Jewish community who wanted to marginalize and stigmatize Muslims, he spoke out in defense of justice and truth for the cause of what was right and the integration of Muslims.
Rabbi Beerman was a member of  Rabbis for Human Rights  in North America and following  Rep. Peter King’s (R-NY) 2011 hearing  on the “Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community,” he helped issue an electronic campaign of Rabbi video testimonies speaking out against the King hearings called  “Stand Together: Rabbis Speak Out Against Islamophobia.”
In 1991, Rabbi Beerman, along with my late brother Dr Hassan Hathout and Rev George F. Regas, founded an  interfaith coalition against war in the Persian Gulf In 2006 , Rabbi Beerman, Rev George Regas, and I met with  Senator Dianne Feinstein  (D-CA) and  Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to discuss the crisis in the Middle East and express our commitment to peace and human rights.
This year, on Yom Kippur, Rabbi Beerman courageously gave a sermon at  Leo Baeck Temple addressing Israel's aggression in Gaza this past summer that killed nearly 500 Palestinian children. He said, "Another Yom Kippur. Another 500 children of Gaza killed by the Israel Defense Forces, with callous disregard for their lives."
Our hearts and sincerest prayers go out to Rabbi Beerman and his family. 

 

 


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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