Rabbi Joel Berman
Mr. Mayor, members of the Council it’s nice to see you guys behaving and getting along well together. (applause)
I am Joel Berman and I am the Rabbi of the only Jewish synagogue in Anaheim and I have seen the video of Mr. Fitzgerald's anti-Semitic rant online. Know that whatever Mr. Fitzgerald sees in his broken tortured world will not be fixed by whatever I say here today. But the idea that Mayor Tait is blameworthy for not stopping Mr. Fitzgerald is spurious at best and the idea that he didn’t stop him because Mr. Fitzgerald is a supporter or that the Mayor himself is anti-Semitic would be laughable if this whole thing wasn’t so sad.
I want to thank attorney Houston for your comments earlier, you set a lot of things straight. I want to thank the Council for your acts of cooperation after the Mayor’s statement. You see, I am a Rabbi, some of you would put it I am a Jewish rabbi, like there were some other kind of rabbi...I don’t know….(laughter) and I have sat in the Mayor’s office at the Mayor’s invitation and we have discussed many subjects. He has explained to me the sacrosanct nature of these 3 minutes as you have yourself (gestures to Houston) and the limitations on anything including hate speech. Tom Tait came to my synagogue for my installation. He sent my son an official city notice congratulating him on his bar mitzvah. If Tom Tait’s an anti semite he does not know how to do it very well.
This whole business that they are talking about is designed to distract people from paying attention to the goings on that some people do not want the public to see. The same goes to taking away the Mayor’s agendizing power. There are those who do not want what they do to be exposed to light. There are creatures on God’s earth that gravitate towards light, toward truth and towards justice, there are others of God’s creatures that recoil from light, and hide in the dark. The Talmud says that in a place where there are no upright people, strive to be upright.
Your choice, your call, and God bless.
(Council Chambers explodes in applause and cheering.)