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Reform Jewish Movement Welcomes Appointment of Danforth as Presidential Envoy on Sudan

Saperstein: "We are hopeful that Senator Danforth's tremendous gift for conciliation and mediation will allow him to facilitate all sides in this conflict to brings about a real, lasting and just peace."

Contact: Alexis Rice or Erin Glazer (202)387-2800

WASHINGTON, September 6, 2001 - Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, today praised the appointment of former Senator John Danforth as the President's Special Envoy for Sudan noting, "We welcome Senator Danforth's appointment, and stand ready to work with him, the President, our allies in the religious and human rights communities, and so many others in working to make sure that the year ahead is a better year for the people of Sudan."

The full text of Rabbi Saperstein's statement follows::

    In the Hebrew calendar, we are in midst of the month of Elul, a time of deep reflection for Jews around the world. This is a time in which we look back, and undertake a searching and honest examination of our own personal shortcomings. It is all together appropriate, then, that President Bush is now reexamining American policy toward the Sudan, where the world's shortcomings are all too clear.

    There is no place on earth which calls out for peace today more than the Sudan, a war-ravaged nation whose citizens have been systematically massacred by their own government. Since 1990, 2 million people have died. Over 4 million people have been relocated against their will, and countless thousands sold into slavery, victimized by rape, and persecuted for their religious beliefs.

    Elul ends in a few days, when we celebrate Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), a time for fresh starts and new approaches. In that spirit, we welcome today's appointment of former Senator John Danforth as the President's Special Envoy for Sudan. Senator Danforth is a man of conviction, integrity and determination. He brings a national and international prestige to this post that will significantly assist America's efforts to goad the conscience of the world to speak out against the moral travesty and human disaster in the Sudan. We are hopeful that Senator Danforth's tremendous gift for conciliation and mediation will allow him to facilitate all sides in this conflict to brings about a real, lasting and just peace.

    Since taking office, President Bush has, on several occasions, personally spoken out about the grave situation in the Sudan. Today's announcement builds on those remarks. We welcome Senator Danforth's appointment, and stand ready to work with him, the President, our allies in the religious and human rights communities, and so many others in working to make sure that the year ahead is a better year for the people of Sudan.

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    The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaismis the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC), whose 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) whose membership includes over 1700 Reform rabbis.



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