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Reform Jewish Movement Welcomes the Enactment of the Sudan Peace Act

Saperstein: The Sudan Peace Act is a crucial step in promoting peace in Sudan and bring religious freedom to people around the world who suffer slavery, starvation, and torture simply because they love God in their own way.

Contact:Alexis Rice or Ariella Thal

202-387-2800

WASHINGTON, October 21, 2002 - Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, joined President George W. Bush at the White House today for the signing of the Sudan Peace Act and released the following statement:

On behalf of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, representing 1.5 million Reform Jews in more than 900 congregations, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, encompassing 1,800 Reform Rabbis, I welcome the signing of the Sudan Peace Act by President Bush and applaud our nation's ongoing commitment to religious freedom.

The Sudan Peace Act is a crucial step in promoting peace in Sudan and bring religious freedom to people around the world who suffer slavery, starvation, and torture simply because they love God in their own way. In addition to condemning Sudan for its practices of slavery and other human rights abuses, it imposes significant financial and diplomatic consequences on the National Islamic Front government if it does not enter into a signed agreement with the organized leadership of the south within six months. And, it provides the areas of southern Sudan that are not controlled by the government with $100 million in aid to be used for humanitarian and social services. This law sends a powerful message to the world: the United States will not stand idly by the persecution of innocent people.

Jewish tradition teaches, "in every generation, we are commanded to view ourselves as if each of us was personally brought forth out of Egypt." This instruction, along with the charge to "remember the stranger for we were strangers in the land of Egypt," serves as a mandate for the Jewish people to rise up against slavery and tyranny in our own time. It is in this spirit that the Reform Jewish community supports United States involvement in pursuing religious freedom around the world and congratulates President Bush for making a commitment to facilitate peace in Sudan.

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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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