On Sunday, September 16, 2001, the Rev. Al Sharpton, President & CEO of the National Action Network and Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Founder and Dean of the Oxford L'Chaim Society, will hold a press conference to discuss African American and Jewish ties in light of the recent tragic events that have occurred in our nation. Rev. Sharpton and Rabbi Boteach have forged a close friendship in which they have been working together to forge closer ties between the African American and Jewish communities on a local level and plan to extend those efforts to an international level by traveling to Israel imminently. Members of both the Jewish and African American communities will join Rev. Sharpton and Rabbi Boteach on this trip whose date will be shortly announced.

In a bold statement of conciliation toward the Jews and the Israeli people, Rev. Sharpton states: "I have been compelled to think of those who have lived under this state of siege while many of us have ignored or marginalized their condition. For a long time, we have given lip service to a "new and real relationship" between African Americans and Jews in this nation. I do not feel, however, that others, on both sides of this question, and I, have done enough to take the "quantum leap" needed to make this "new and real reconciliation" a reality. The tragedy of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks call for us to set aside any excuses and move toward this goal at this time. I recognize that people in Israel live everyday with the heart-wrenching experiences that we have witnessed over the past several days. I have asked Rabbi Shmuley Boteach to join me in a trip to Israel this October as part of my effort to show a greater sensitivity toward their plight as well as to work toward a coming together against world terrorists. This effort must happen and the African-American and Jewish communities must take the lead."

Rabbi Boteach said: "President Bush has characterized the attacks against the United States as an attack against freedom. Throughout history, no two communities have experienced the denial of freedom more forcibly than Jews and Blacks. Therefore, the horrific events of the past few days must spearhead a renewed effort on the part of these two communities to come together and renounce any previous animosities. The greatest testament to the innocent victims who died in this terror would be for their memory to inspire a new campaign by all segments of American society to increase their respect and love for each other. I am grateful to Rev. Sharpton for the courage of his strong statement of support for the State of Israel, on the eve of the Jewish new year, and for the victims of terror in Israel for whom Tuesday's catastrophic events in New York are an all-too common occurrence. I look forward to traveling together to Israel imminently where this feeling of comradery and partnership can be cemented, and a strong stand against terror can be taken. We pray for all the victims of Tuesday's attack. May G-d watch them and keep them."

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