Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
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Reform Jewish Leader Expresses Concern Over Reports of Religious Proselytizing, Discrimination, and Anti-Semitism at the Air Force Academy
In response to recent articles and reports of religious proselytizing, discrimination and anti-Semitism at the Air Force Academy, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, sent the following letter to the Honorable Michael L. Dominguez, Acting Secretary of the Air Force noting, "Members of our military who are sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution should be trained at our academies which embody its values, including respect for all."

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Saperstein: Members of our military who are sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution should be trained at our academies which embody its values, including respect for all.

Washington, June 2, 2005 – In response to recent articles and reports of religious proselytizing, discrimination and anti-Semitism at the Air Force Academy, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, sent the following letter to the Honorable Michael L. Dominguez, Acting Secretary of the Air Force:

Dear Mr. Dominguez:

    On behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 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, we write to express our serious concern over reports and allegations of religious proselytizing, discrimination and anti-Semitism at the Air Force Academy.

    According to a May 5, 2005 New York Times article and a report issued by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, incidents of religious intolerance and proselytizing have occurred ranging from a professor who required cadets to pray before taking a final exam to a Protestant chaplain who warned that anyone not proselytizing would “burn in the fires of hell.”  As you know, cadets and staff members recently reported 55 cases of religious intolerance at the Academy at the solicitation of commanders. 

    We find these allegations profoundly troubling not only as concerned American citizens, but also as members of a religious minority that has historically faced innumerable instances of religious intolerance and hatred. Members of our military who are sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution should be trained at our academies to embody its values, including respect for all.

    We welcome your efforts to conduct an internal investigation of these incidents.  We also applaud your attempts to educate all cadets and faculty members about the importance of religious tolerance.  Additionally, we look forward to hearing what concrete steps will be taken to create a true atmosphere of tolerance among Academy cadets and faculty as soon as the latest investigation is complete. 

    Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of assistance during this process.

    Respectfully,

     
    Rabbi David Saperstein
    Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

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 The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis. 

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