Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
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Jewish Organization Calls For Immediate Reversal Of Practices In Israel Of Disposing Ethiopian Blood Donations -- Aids Fear Cannot Justify Policy

January 25, 1996- The Union of American Hebrew Congregations deplores recent reports regarding the unwarranted disposal of blood donated by Ethiopian Jews for fear of the AIDS virus. In light of the miraculous and unprecedented Israeli effort to bring Ethiopian Jews into the Jewish homeland and integrate them into Israeli society, this news is utterly incomprehensible and intolerable on various grounds.

At a time when technological advances provide effective testing for the AIDS virus and other sexually transmitted diseases, we must insist that blood donors be treated as individuals. A fear of AIDS is insufficient justification for the categorical treatment of Ethiopian Jews. The discrimination by Israel's central blood bank provides further evidence of an AIDS paranoia present throughout the world, including the United States. But, as the Jewish community opposed different treatment, at times over the past decade, by the U.S., of donations by Haitians and African immigrants, so we now stand with our Black Jewish brothers and sisters in Israel and call on the Israeli government to cease this policy immediately.

--Statement of Rabbi David Saperstein, Director, Religious Action Centerof Reform Judaism (sponsors of "Project Reap," a major American Jewish program on behalf of Ethiopian Jewry)

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) , whose 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews , and the Central Conference of American Rabbis(CCAR) whose membership includes over 1700 Reform rabbis .

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