Rabbi Jessica Graf of Congregation Sherith Israel gave the invocation at a unity rally at S.F. City Hall, Aug. 25, 2017, ahead of planned far right rallies planned for the following day. (Photo/David A.M. Wilensky)
Rabbi Jessica Graf of Congregation Sherith Israel gave the invocation at a unity rally at S.F. City Hall, Aug. 25, 2017, ahead of planned far right rallies planned for the following day. (Photo/David A.M. Wilensky)

WATCH: Rabbis speak, shofar blows at S.F. City Hall rally against hate

Three San Francisco rabbis and a man with a shofar took to the steps of City Hall today to join a cavalcade of civic and faith leaders in condemning tomorrow’s Patriot Prayer rally at Crissy Field and the atmosphere of hate they say is engendered by President Donald Trump.

After several rousing gospel songs by the Glide Memorial Church choir, Rabbi Jessica Graf of Congregation Sherith Israel was invited to give a prayerful invocation.

“Dear God and the people of San Francisco,” she began. “We have entered the Hebrew month of Elul, the month leading up to the Jewish High Holy Days, a month of introspection and preparation for a new year. The shofar, the ram’s horn, is sounded each day during this month. It instructs us to wake up and live in the world with intention.”

She added: “We are here to say, unequivocally, that we will never stop working to ensure those basic rights for everyone. In honor of this vision, we sound the shofar.” Then she called out “Tekiah!” and local shofar expert Maurice Kamins blasted the shofar into the crowd of hundreds, who filled the street and extended back into Civic Center Plaza.

After speeches from San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Board of Supervisors President London Breed, Rabbi Noa Kushner of The Kitchen stepped up to speak. She wore a large silver Star of David on her chest, as did other members of her congregation, some of whom chose to wear yellow.

“In a moment where the basic idea of loving your neighbor is put to the test, this is when we show up. This is when we show up for one another. And this is a city that practically invented love, isn’t it?” Kushner said to applause.

Senior Rabbi Jonathan Singer of Congregation Emanu-El also spoke, calling out: “We come here today in love because God created the world with — what?” And the crowd shouted back: “Love!”

David A.M. Wilensky
David A.M. Wilensky

David A.M. Wilensky is the online editor of J. and "Jew in the Pew" columnist. He can be reached at david@jweekly.com.