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Nation's Largest Jewish Organization Submits Testimony on Public Policy Positions to Platform Committees of National Political Parties

Saperstein: "I think it's important that we, as advocates for the American Jewish community, express our positions on the pressing matters of the day to those men and women who will be doing the vital work of assembling the platforms for our national political parties. The platform of a political party - even when it is not incumbent upon every candidate to endorse every plank - provides a window into that party's most deeply held values."

Contact: Raanan Weintraub, (202) 387-2800


WASHINGTON June 30, 2000 — Today, on behalf of the Reform Jewish Movement, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism submitted testimony to the platform committees of the Democratic and Republican Parties. This testimony, submitted by Rabbi David Saperstein, director and counsel of the Religious Action Center, outlines the Reform Movement's public policy positions and will be provided to national convention delegates who serve on the platform committee of their respective party.

The Reform Jewish Movement is the largest organized Jewish community in North America, encompassing more than 1.5 million Reform Jews, 1,700 Reform rabbis, and 900 synagogues in every state and the District of Columbia, as well in American protectorates and throughout Canada. The policy statements represent the entire Reform Jewish Movement: the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC), the Movement's synagogue arm; the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), the Movement's rabbinic arm; and many of the Movement's affiliate organizations, including Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ), North American Federation of Temple Brotherhoods/Jewish Chautauqua Society (NFTB), North American Federation of Temple Youth (NFTY), American Conference of Cantors (ACC), American Reform Zionist Association/World Union, North America (ARZA/WUNA), National Association of Temple Educators (NATE), the Commission on Social Action (CSA), among others.

Among the topics addressed in the testimony are campaign finance reform, children's issues, civil rights and civil liberties, criminal justice, economic justice, education, environment, gun control, hate crimes, health care and bio-ethics, international affairs and foreign aid, religious liberties, reproductive rights and women's issues. The testimony not only states the Reform Movement's stance on specific proposals within each issue area, but also includes excerpts from appropriate Movement policies and discussions of relevant Jewish texts.

Rabbi Saperstein, the author of the testimony and director of the Religious Action Center, commented that "I think it's important that we, as advocates for the Jewish community and the values that the Jewish community holds dear, express our positions on the pressing matters of the day to those men and women who will be doing the vital work of assembling the platforms for our national political parties. Our federal budget is more than a list of our government's spending items; it is, instead, a clear indication of our nation's priorities and moral commitments. So, too, the platform of a political party - even when it is not incumbent upon every candidate to endorse every plank - provides a window into that party's most deeply held values."

For a complete copy of Rabbi Saperstein's testimony, visit the RAC's website

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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.



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