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Reform Jewish Movement Calls for Continued Federal Support of Programs that End the Digital Divide


Pelavin: Our nation must not forget those who cannot reap the harvest of high-tech innovations. It is no longer a luxury to have access to technology; it has become a necessity for economic advancement.


Contact: Alexis Rice or Rachel Burrows 202-387-2800

Washington, May 15, 2002 - Mark J. Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism issued the following statement in support of the launch of the Digital Empowerment Campaign to support federal technology programs noting, "In the 21st century, we must ensure that low-income communities have access to all areas of economic opportunity and that all Americans have the necessary skills to advance in the new technology-based economy."

The complete statement follows:

The Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, as a member of the Digital Empowerment coalition, is proud to join the campaign to urge President Bush and Congress to support vital federal technology education and opportunity programs.

Jewish tradition teaches us to leave the peah (corners) of our fields for those in need (Leviticus 19:9). Technology can help move people and communities from poverty to prosperity, but there is a chiasm in our society between those who have both access to and the skills to take advantage of the latest technology and those who do not. Our nation must not forget those who cannot reap the harvest of high-tech innovations. It is no longer a luxury to have access to technology; it has become a necessity for economic advancement.

The Technology Opportunities Program (TOP) and the Community Technology Centers Program (CTC) are two federal programs that reflect our obligation to leave the corners of our field for those in need. Both the TOP and CTC programs provide grants for technology projects in low-income communities. Both programs seek to bridge the gap between the technology haves and have-nots. Unfortunately, the Bush Administration's Fiscal Year 2003 budget proposal calls for the elimination of these two critical programs.

In biblical times, Jews left the corner of their fields untouched so that the poor would have access to food. In the 21st century. we must ensure that low-income communities have access to all areas of economic opportunity and that all Americans have the necessary skills to advance in the new technology-based economy. We are proud to join this important call for continued federal support of the Technology Opportunities Program (TOP) and the Community Technology Centers (CTC) program.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) , whose over 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews , and the Central Conference of American Rabbis(CCAR) whose membership includes over 1800 Reform rabbis .



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