The artwork on this note card was created by 5768 WRJ Art Calendar artist Césan d’Ornellas Levine.
Gun violence is plaguing our country and impacting the lives of so many. Each year, a gun kills nearly 12,000 Americans. This is a rate more than 20 times higher than in other developed countries. For example, while the U.S. has 3.7 gun murders for every 100,000 residents, Spain only has .19, and Japan only has .01. As much as statistics such as these are disheartening, we know that our tradition calls us to take action to prevent gun violence. The Talmud teaches us that "he who takes one life it is as though he has destroyed the universe and he who saves one life it is as though he has saved the universe" (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5). The dehumanizing of the human being and the carelessness with which human life is taken stand in direct violation of these affirmations of our tradition.
One place where the Reform Movement has been doing great work surrounding gun violence prevention is through our youth movement, NFTY. Since last February, NFTY has held gun violence prevention as their official social justice campaign.
In addition to caring deeply about gun violence prevention, the Reform Movement also greatly appreciates and values the voices and power of youth in our social justice work. As a NFTY alum, I always felt empowered by Reform Judaism to take action on the issues I felt most passionate about. Now, as someone working with teens at the RAC, I feel enthusiastic about empowering them to advance their social justice initiatives.
If you are attending the URJ Biennial next week from November 4-8 in Orlando, Florida, you can attend a workshop to learn more about gun violence prevention, and how to best engage with NFTY and your congregation about this important issue. The workshop will take place on Thursday, November 5 from 3:45 – 5pm, and will include speakers from the NFTY North American Board and the RAC. After attending the workshop, you will be able to bring back the work of gun violence prevention to your own community!
Can’t attend Biennial? You can still get involved! To learn more about gun violence prevention and to contact your Member of Congress about key legislation, visit the RAC’s issue page. To learn more about NFTY specifically, and opportunities for education and advocacy with them, visit NFTY’s page on gun violence prevention.