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Reform Jewish Movement Commemorates Endangered Species Day, Condemns Border Fence Plans Threatening Biological diversity in the Southwest

Pelavin: “We recommit ourselves to combating the grave threats that continue to imperil the survival of hundreds of fragile species nationwide.”

Contact: Sean Thibault or Joanna Blotner
202.387.2800 |

Washington, May 12, 2008 –In advance of  the third annual Endangered Species Day, observed this year on Friday May 16, Mark Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center, issued the following statement:

“On Endangered Species Day we pause to celebrate the progress made in the recovery of hundreds of animal species since the 1973 passage of the Endangered Species Act.  We recommit ourselves to combating the grave threats that continue to imperil the survival of hundreds species nationwide.   

Jewish tradition recognizes that humanity is  dependent on the rich diversity of life on earth.  “Even things you see as superfluous in this world – like flies, fleas and mosquitoes – are part of the greater scheme of the creation of the world” (Midrash Exodus Rabbah 10:1).  As human beings, created last, we were entrusted by God with the caretaking of all plant and animal species that preceded us not only for their survival, but for our own as well (Genesis 2:15 and 9:9-10).

Despite the progress made in the past 35 years, there is still much to be done to raise awareness about the threats to our ecology including animal species.  Among the most urgent is  the Administration’s plan to waive more than 35 environmental laws, including the Endangered Species Act, in order to continue construction of the U.S.-Mexico border fence.  Across the country, the gray wolf, the polar bear, jaguars and scores of other precious animals that are an integral part of our nation’s ecology, risk devastation at the hands of irresponsible human actions on the part of individuals and government policies at all levels. 

The Reform Movement has long supported environmental stewardship.  Today, on Endangered Species Day especially, we speak out in a united voice demanding full legal protection for the miraculous diversity of species in this nation.” 


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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