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Reform Jewish Movement Opposes Clinton Support Of Welfare Bill

How can Congress and the President possibly reconcile their support for this bill . . . with the clear Biblical mandate to care for the most needy of God's children?

WASHINGTON, July 31, 1996 -- The Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, representing 1.5 million Reform Jews and 1,800 Reform Rabbis in more than 850 congregations throughout North America, expressed their deepest regret today in President Clinton's decision to support the welfare legislation that has emerged from a conference committee. Citing the current welfare proposal for its detrimental impact on children, the Reform Movement noted that the legislation violated the most basic moral test of any society.

Recalling the edict from the Book of Proverbs, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC), exhorted, that "We are all commanded to 'Speak up, judge righteously, champion the poor and the needy' and sadly, the fate of the hungry, homeless, uneducated, and unprotected in our nation has been gravely threatened by the President's acquiescence to such a bad bill." Saperstein added: "How can Congress and the President possibly reconcile their support for this bill, which leaves more children, more disabled people, more legal immigrants in hunger and poverty, with the clear Biblical mandate to care for the most needy of God's children?"

Mark J. Pelavin, RAC Associate Director, emphasized that "this horrible bill may 'end welfare has we know it,' but it does so at a tragically high price. Pushing more children into poverty under the banner of 'reform' is immoral, and unacceptable. True welfare reform would ensure a guarantee of child care, job training, health care, and nutrition assistance to help move people out of poverty and into long-term self-sufficiency. This bill does none of that. Instead of offering hope to the most needy among us, it offers them instead more misery and less opportunity."


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 1,800 Reform rabbis in 850 congregations throughout North America.




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