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Washington, D.C., February 3, 2012 - This week, Reform Jews across the U.S. were vocal in their opposition to grant-making changes at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Foundation that would have eliminated funding for Planned Parenthood's breast cancer screenings - a health service particularly vital in low income communities. Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and Rabbi Marla Feldman, Executive Director of the Women of Reform Judaism, in a February 1st letter to Ambassador Nancy Brinker, the founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure and recipient at the December URJ Biennial convention of the Eisendrath Bearer of Light Award, the Reform Movement's highest honor, expressed their deep disappointment in Komen's original decision. That disappointment was mirrored throughout the Reform Jewish community traveling rapidly through Facebook, Twitter, and on the blogosphere. The RAC blog featuring the letter was viewed by over 9,000 unique viewers in less than 48 hours. Today, in response to the Komen Foundation's decision to revise its funding standards, Rabbis Saperstein and Feldman thanked Ambassador Brinker and the Komen Foundation and urged her to use her personal influence to prevent politicization of the new standards in a manner detrimental to women's health. The Reform Movement is also launching a campaign to generate thousands of thank you letters to the Komen Foundation, supporting their renewed commitment to working with Planned Parenthood and others on behalf of women's health. The full text of the thank you letter follows:
Dear Ambassador Brinker,
On behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, with membership of more than 1800 Reform rabbis, and the Women of Reform Judaism, which represents more than 65,000 women in nearly 500 women's groups in North America and around the world, we thank you and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure Foundation for reevaluating and revising your new funding standards and continuing to make women's health a top national priority. We are confident that your personal leadership played a vital role in establishing standards more reflective of the Susan G. Komen Foundation's values. Moving forward, we urge you to ensure that new standards will not be politicized in a manner detrimental to women's health nor manipulated by those with a political agenda and goals beyond those of the Komen Foundation.
The fact that these new standards will allow Planned Parenthood Federation of America to continue to place its good work before you for continued funding is encouraging to all who care about women's health. The new standard you have announced today will also diminish the likelihood that Komen's funding decisions will be politicized by partisan investigations launched by members of Congress or other elected officials. Such a standard, similar to that which we encouraged you to consider in our letter of February 1st, means that the mission to find a cure for a disease that has caused physical and emotional harm to millions can transcend politics.
We thank you for your leadership in reaching today's decision and for the Komen Foundation's tireless work to prevent and end breast cancer.
Rabbi David Saperstein Rabbi Marla Feldman