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Reform Jewish Leader Commends Senate Vote Opposing Torture
In response to the Senate’s vote (90-9) adopting an amendment to the Defense authorization bill prohibiting cruel and inhumane treatment of detainees, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement noting, "Yesterday’s overwhelming Senate vote is an important indication of our nation’s commitment to human rights at home and abroad."

Saperstein: Yesterday’s overwhelming Senate vote is an important indication of our nation’s commitment to human rights at home and abroad.

Contact: Alexis Rice or Liz Kaplan 202.387.2800

Washington, October 6, 2005 - In response to the Senate’s vote (90-9) adopting an amendment to the Defense authorization bill prohibiting cruel and inhumane treatment of detainees, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

We commend the Senate for its decisive vote respecting the human rights of detainees in the custody of the United States military. In the wake of events at Abu Ghraib prison and at Guantánamo Bay, it is essential that any future acts of physical and mental torture be prevented.

As members of the religious community, we condemn the practice of torture. Not only is torture in violation of the Geneva Conventions to which the U.S. is a signatory, but more importantly, torture is morally repugnant. An unequivocal rejection of torture is central to reasserting the United States’ role as a moral nation committed to justice and the rule of law. Yesterday’s Senate vote is an important indication of our nation’s commitment to human rights at home and abroad.

Jewish tradition teaches us that all humankind is created b’tzelem elohim, in the image of God. It is in that spirit that we oppose the physical or mental torture of any individual, for to do so defiles God’s creation. We call upon the House of Representatives and President Bush to affirm the commitment the Senate has made toward ending abuse of detainees by ensuring that this amendment is signed quickly into law.

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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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