Saperstein: The Reform Movement has long advocated for an increase in the minimum wage and embryonic stem cell research, and we are excited by the momentum we saw today on Capitol Hill behind both initiatives.
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Washington, DC, January 9, 2007 - Reform Jewish Movement leaders came together on Capitol Hill today to discuss with members of Congress issues of longstanding importance to the Movement, including the need for federal support of embryonic stem cell research and an increase in the minimum wage. Todays visits were part of the Religious Action Centers "100 Hour Agenda," highlighting key issues on the congressional agenda over the coming weeks. The group met with both Democrat and Republican House members, as well as freshman and members of the leadership on both sides of the aisle. Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
"Todays visits were a wonderful opportunity to talk with members of Congress about issues of longstanding importance to the Reform Movement. These are not partisan issues - raising the minimum wage will help millions of working men and women across this country who rely on their earnings to support their families and yet still live below the poverty line. Advances in science that experts indicate will be brought about by federal support for embryonic stem cell research are likely to extend the life and health of Americans in all 50 states who suffer from Alzheimers, Parkinsons, cancer, and other diseases.
The Reform Movement has long advocated for an increase in the minimum wage and embryonic stem cell research, and we are excited by the momentum we saw today on Capitol Hill behind both initiatives. With leaders from our national Board, the Women of Reform Judaism, National Brotherhood, Social Action Commission and others, we demonstrated our shared commitment to issues of social justice that are at the core of our Movement. Representatives Chris Shays (R-CT), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Keith Ellison (D-MN), and Ron Klein (D-FL) were just a few of the members with which we were privileged to meet.
We hope to continue to work with members of the 110th Congress on issues of common concern, and look forward to building on the relationships established during todays visits.
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.