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Reform Jewish Leader Expresses Support for Senate Stand on Behalf of Civil Liberties
In response to the bi-partisan effort in the Senate to prevent the Patriot Act from being reauthorized without further consideration of several controversial provisions, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement noting, “When seeking a careful balance between the two paramount values of liberty and security, we must not sacrifice the pursuit of an appropriate solution for the sake of a hasty compromise.”

Saperstein: When seeking a careful balance between the two paramount values of liberty and security, we must not sacrifice the pursuit of an appropriate solution for the sake of a hasty compromise.

Contact: Alexis Rice or Liz Kaplan, 202.387.2800

Washington, December 21, 2005 - In response to the bi-partisan effort in the Senate to prevent the Patriot Act from being reauthorized without further consideration of several controversial provisions, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

We applaud the efforts of the bi-partisan group of Senators who have spoken out in opposition to a renewal of the Patriot Act that fails to adequately safeguard Americans’ civil liberties. Among other controversial provisions, the bill under consideration would continue to allow law enforcement officials to obtain personal records without requiring any connection between records sought and an actual terrorism investigation. The bill would also make it nearly impossible to overturn gag orders on national security letters, would expand the federal death penalty, and would extend nearly all Patriot Act powers permanently, preventing further debate on their ongoing necessity to maintain our national security. These are measures about which the Reform Movement has repeatedly expressed concern, and we reiterate those sentiments today.

When seeking a careful balance between the two paramount values of liberty and security, we must not sacrifice the pursuit of an appropriate solution for the sake of a hasty compromise. We continue to express our sincere support for the Senate leaders who have this week taken a brave stand on behalf of these values, and we urge others to join in their efforts.

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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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