The Community Synagogue of Port Washington announced last week that it would no longer use FedEx since the delivery service refused to end its relationship with the National Rifle Association.
“The hope is that in this small way pressure will be brought to bear to find common sense solutions to the rise of gun violence in this country,” the statement read.
The decision was made by the board of directors but other members and staff had advocated for the Sands Point-based synagogue to do something.
“We had been talking about this in the congregation for a while,” said Rabbi Irwin Zeplowitz. “Enough is enough.”
Companies such as Delta Air Lines and car rental service Hertz have cut ties with the NRA by ending special discounts they gave to members of the gun rights organization. FedEx itself has been pushed to end its discounts by Apple and the hashtag #BoytcottFedEx has been included in hundreds of posts on social media.
Nobody at the synagogue could give an exact estimate as to how much mail was sent through FedEx, but Zeplowitz said the company was the synagogue’s regular carrier.
Shortly before the synagogue decided to boycott FedEx, the company responded to the growing controversy over its partnership with the NRA. In a statement, the company said that as a common carrier under federal law it will not deny service to a legal entity regardless of political views.
The statement nonetheless pointed out that FedEx supported background checks for gun buyers and was opposed to citizens having assault rifles.
“FedEx believes urgent action is required at the local, state, and Federal level to protect schools and students from incidents such as the horrific tragedy in Florida on February 14,” the statement read.
Zeplowitz said the synagogue had advocated for gun reform in the past. He mentioned Do Not Stand Idly By, an organization that seeks to work with gun manufacturers to prevent illegal gun sales and to create new gun safety technologies.
But he said there was something different about the Parkland shooting.
“The Friday night after Parkland, I had services and there was a young girl there with her father,” he said. “And the father said, ‘Would you speak to her, she’s having nightmares,’ and I think it was her fear that kind of broke me. I don’t want to be a rabbi for citizens who go to bed afraid because we didn’t do anything.”
Although he pushed for the synagogue to advocate for gun control, Zeplowitz said that there were some members who did not agree with this stance or the boycott.
“I’m not opposed to the NRA or having guns,” he said. “But the NRA has become so out of sync with what the vast majority of Americans feel, I feel as though I have to take a stand.”