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Reform Jewish Movement Applauds $435 Million Allocation to International Debt Relief

Contact: Bethany Gotkin or Danielle Hirsch, (202) 387-2800

Saperstein:"Jewish tradition informs us of our moral obligation to those who are in need... In allocating substantial funds toward debt relief, the United States has upheld its responsibility as the leader of the free world, sending a clear message of its dire importance".

WASHINGTON October 25, 2000- The Reform Movement toady welcomed the inclusion of $435 million to relieve the crushing debt that afflicts many foreign nations in the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, released the following statement about the debt relief provision:

This type of large-scale commitment to international debt relief is long overdue. Relieving poor countries of their debt is a critical step toward ensuring that people living in Third World nations will receive basic human needs such as food, clean water, schooling for children, and medical care including desperately needed HIV/AIDS preventive education.

In allocating substantial funds toward debt relief, the United States has upheld its responsibility as the leader of the free world, sending a clear message of its dire importance to other countries who also have funds to contribute.

Jewish tradition reminds us of our moral responsibility to forgive debt incurred by those less fortunate than ourselves. Each year at the Passover Sedar, we say "Let all who are hungry, come eat." Today we declare, with a strong bipartisan majority of both Houses of Congress, that all those who suffer from the poverty and the burdens of debt shall be welcome at our table as we work together to break these chains of oppression. On behalf of the Reform Jewish Movement, I applaud this monumental step toward decreasing debt burden overseas.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations(UAHC),whose900 congregations across North America encompass1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR),whose membership includes over 1700 Reform rabbis..



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