Bipartisan Senate Passage of Disability Bill Renews Commitment to Equal Rights
Rabbi Landsberg: “Today, the Reform Jewish Movement reaffirms its belief that guaranteeing civil rights for the disabled community is a vital part of assuring comprehensive equal rights in our country.”
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WASHINGTON DC, September 11, 2008 — In response to today’s Senate passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Amendments Act of 2008, Rabbi Lynne Landsberg, Senior Advisor on Disability Issues for the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
Today, the Senate has renewed America’s commitment to ensuring equal rights and opportunities for all its citizens by passing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Amendments Act. We applaud the efforts of the broad coalition of civil rights, business, and disability organizations that worked tirelessly to ensure this bill’s passage. Faith groups in particular, and, specifically, the Jewish Disability Network, a disability rights coalition created by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and United Jewish Communities, also played a key role in the bill’s success.
The ADA was passed in 1990 to protect Americans who have, or who are perceived as having, disabilities. The ADA Amendments Act will close loopholes and ensure workplace protections through a clear and expansive definition of the word “disability,” as was originally intended by the Congress. The broad, bipartisan support of the bill indicates a clear consensus in our country that discrimination and unfair business practices will not be tolerated. Today, the Reform Jewish Movement reaffirms its belief that guaranteeing civil rights for members of the disabled community is a vital part of assuring comprehensive equal rights in our country.
We read in Leviticus 19:14, “You shall not insult the deaf, or place a stumbling block before the blind.” This teaching and its call for proactive steps to respond to the needs of those with disabilities is why so many people of faith across the country contacted their senators in support of this bill.
We thank the members of the Senate who led the fight for this crucial bill and encourage the President to sign it quickly and ensure its immediate enforcement.
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.