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Reform Jewish Leader Praises Secretary Rice’s Statements in Support of Religious Freedom in China
Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and the first Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice praising her efforts in support of religious freedom in China upon her recent visit.

Saperstein: The United States of America has afforded the Jewish people, as well as all religious communities, this fundamental freedom of religion.  It is our duty as beneficiaries of this great liberty and citizens of this great nation to ensure that nowhere in the world is one imprisoned, tortured, killed, or silenced because of his or her religious beliefs.

Contact: Alexis Rice or Dena Wigder
202.387.2800

Washington, March 21, 2005 – Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and the first Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom,  sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice praising her efforts in support of religious freedom in China upon her recent visit.  The full text of the letter follows:

    Dear Secretary Rice:

    On behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose over 900 congregations encompass over 1.5 million Jews across North America, I write to applaud you for your recent efforts in support of religious freedom in China.  The freedom to worship without fear of persecution and intimidation is a fundamental human right, and we commend the bold leadership you illustrated not only by speaking out forcefully on behalf of religious liberty, but by attending church services in China.  We urge you to make religious freedom a priority for U.S. foreign policy in the region.  Human rights and religious freedom are fundamental issues in our nation’s relationship with China, and improvement on those fronts form the basis for future cooperation on trade, security, and other important issues. 

    The Jewish community has too often been the victim of religious persecution over millennia, precisely because, in the face of the oppression and degradations visited on us, good people stood by silently and let it happen. The Jewish community has, under the lash of brutal religious intolerance, been forced to flee from land to land, seeking asylum and safety only to find the doors of refuge closed to us.  However, the United States of America has afforded the Jewish people, as well as all religious communities, this fundamental freedom of religion.  It is our duty as beneficiaries of this great liberty and citizens of this great nation to ensure that nowhere in the world is one imprisoned, tortured, killed, or silenced because of his or her religious beliefs.

    We praise your courageous and moral vision and pledge our full support and cooperation in bringing about a world where all of God’s children are free to practice their faith.

    Sincerely,
    /s/      
    Rabbi David Saperstein
    Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

     ###

 The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis.



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