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Reform Jewish Leader Applauds Re-Introduction of Hate Crimes Measure, Urges Swift Passage
In response to today’s reintroduction of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2005, Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement noting, "If we wish to continue to view ourselves as a moral people, guided by compassion for others, we cannot allow another Congress to slip by without enactment of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act."

Pelavin: If we wish to continue to view ourselves as a moral people, guided by compassion for others, we cannot allow another Congress to slip by without enactment of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

Contact: Alexis Rice or Dena Wigder

202.387.2800

WASHINGTON, May 26, 2005 – In response to today’s reintroduction of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2005, Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

    We stand strongly with our coalition partners in welcoming the re-introduction of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2005. As Jews, we cherish the biblical commandment found in Leviticus 19:17: "You shall not hate another in your heart." We know all too well the dangers of unchecked persecution and of failing to recognize hate crimes for what they are: acts designed to victimize an entire community. We continue to work arduously for the day when violence based on fear, intolerance, and prejudice is a distant memory for all people. The Hate Crimes Prevention Act will bring us one step closer to this goal by giving law enforcement officials the resources they need to investigate and prosecute these egregious crimes.

    Studies continue to demonstrate that gays, lesbians, transgender persons, and those with disabilities face a significantly increased risk of violence and harassment based solely on who they are. This long-overdue legislation would rightly classify hate violence based on sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability as hate crimes under federal statues. If we wish to continue to view ourselves as a moral people, guided by compassion for others, we cannot allow another Congress to slip by without enactment of the Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

    This bill has come far too close to becoming law for far too long. We call on the Untied States Congress to pass this legislation speedily and on President Bush to sign it so that our nation’s laws reflect the values of tolerance, dignity, and respect for every human being.

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 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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