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Reform Jewish Movement Opposes The Entrepreneur Development Program Act Of 1996; Calls For "Equality for All"
"Our history has taught us that all people benefit when the barriers totrue equality are removed."

WASHINGTON, September 18, 1996 -- Rabbi David Saperstein, onbehalf of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the CentralConference of American Rabbis, today expressed his strong opposition toThe Entrepreneur Development Program Act of 1996 (H.R. 3994) that wouldeliminate federal programs that open doors of opportunity to qualifiedwomen- and minority-owned businesses.

The full text of Rabbi Saperstein's comments follow:

As Jews deeply committed to the prophetic imperatives of ourtradition, we are dedicated to those policies that will create justice forall the people of our nation. In accordance with our historic commitmentto equal justice, the Reform Jewish Movement supports affirmative actionpolicies which serve as significant and successful vehicles for achievingequal opportunity for African Americans, Latinos, women, and members ofall groups suffering from discrimination. Our history has taught us thatall people benefit when the barriers to true equality are removed. Therefore, we support the 8(a) business development program, a vital andeffective tool for continuing our nation's commitment to correcthistorical injustice through affirmative action.

The Entrepreneur Development Program Act of 1996 (H.R. 3994),introduced by Representative Jan Meyers, would dissolve the Small BusinessAdministration's highly successful 8(a) business development program,endangering equal opportunities for women and minorities in this countryby closing those doors to equal opportunity which we have worked so hardto open. The 8(a) program is vital to assisting these businesses incompeting effectively in the growing U.S. marketplace, and we stronglyurge members of Congress to oppose this bill.

The promise of equality is not sufficient if there are obstaclesthat make the reality of equality impossible. We need affirmative actionpolicies in order to ensure equal opportunity for all; we need to opposeefforts, like this ill-advised proposal, which would reserve theseopportunities only for the privileged few.

The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, representing 1.5 million Reform Jews and 1,700 Reform rabbis in 850 congregations throughout North America.

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