Contact: Jeff Mandell, (202) 387-2800
WASHINGTON February 29, 2000 — In response to the senseless death of another American child — this time a six year old, shot by another six year old in Michigan — Mark Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, decried the killing and blasted an ineffectual Congress which has failed to enact meaningful legislation gun control legislation.
The full text of Pelavin's statement follows:
Our hearts go out to the parents of the children at Buell Elementary School — the parents of the girl so senselessly killed, and the parents of other children, children who should be working on grammar or math rather than wrestling with the impact of this horrific deed.
The Talmud teaches us that "one who takes a life it is as though he has destroyed the universe, and one who saves a life it is as though she has saved the universe." We never feel the wisdom of these words as fully as we do after the death of a child.
The shooting is all the more tragic because it appears that it could have been prevented by the passage of legislation currently pending in Congress. We challenge Congress to pass the Children's Gun Violence Protection Act, which would require gun manufacturers to make their products child-proof' using gun locks.
We implore Congress to work with us in the spirit of pikuach nefesh, the ultimate value of human life, to end the epidemic of gun violence. And we urge all Americans to keep this tragic episode in mind as they cast their votes in upcoming congressional and presidential elections.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, representing its 895 congregations across North America, whose membership includes 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the 1700 rabbis of the Central Conference of American Rabbis.