Gun Violence Prevention
The Reform Movement, led by students and NFTY, is outraged at the current lack of legislative action and political leadership that allows this horrible violence to continue. This epidemic is not natural, nor normal and gun violence can be prevented.
The epidemic of gun violence continues to plague individuals and communities across the United States, including our own Jewish communities as well as those of our friends, neighbors, colleagues, and partners. The Reform Movement, led by students and NFTY, is outraged at the current lack of legislative action and political leadership that allows this horrible violence to continue. This epidemic is not natural, nor normal and gun violence can be prevented. Drawing on Jewish traditions and values, we remain committed to taking action by engaging in community and legislative advocacy to end the gun violence epidemic.
Why Should Jews Care?
Jewish tradition emphasizes the sanctity and eternal value of human life. The Talmud teaches that:
“One who takes a life, it is though they have destroyed the universe. And one who saves a life, it is as though they have saved the universe” (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5).
The dehumanization of individuals and the carelessness with which human life is taken during incidents of gun violence stand in direct violation of these affirmations of our tradition. We are called upon to take action to prevent the loss of lives and end gun violence.
very year, almost 40,000 Americans die as victims of gun violence. That’s over 100 deaths per day. Americans are 25 times more likely to be killed with a gun than people in other developed nations, despite the fact that gun deaths are incredibly preventable. The scourge of gun violence in America is both a public safety issue and a public health epidemic.
The vast majority of Americans, including gun owners, support common-sense policies like background checks for every gun sale to prevent senseless violence. As Reform Jews, it is our duty to demand that Congress take action to pass gun legislation and save countless innocent lives.
Assault weapons are semiautomatic firearms that can kill many people in a short period of time due to the weapons’ rapid rate of fire and high muzzle velocity – such firepower is increased when high-capacity magazines are attached, allowing the shooter to fire more rounds without needing to reload. These weapons of war have been used in many of the deadliest mass shootings in America. The Assault Weapons Ban of 2021 would ban semiautomatic weapons and large capacity ammunition feeding devices, require background checks on all sales or transfers of grandfathered assault weapons, and mandate safe storage of grandfathered weapons – all of which would help safeguard American communities.
Gun Violence Prevention Shabbat Guide
December 14, 2023 marks the 11th anniversary of the Sandy Hook tragedy. The URJ is a partner of the National Vigil for All Victims of Gun Violence, organized by Newtown Action Alliance. In partnership and solidarity, the URJ is observing Gun Violence Prevention Shabbat in early December. For congregations and communities who wish to take part in this observance for erev Shabbat Friday, December 1 st or Friday, December 8th, the Religious Action Center prepared the following guide with accompanying text study.
Related Press Releases
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RAC-PA 2023 Campaign to End Gun Violence
NFTY Students Leading Gun Violence Prevention
- Youth and students around the United States have been the victims of gun violence, including horrific shootings at schools, and we refuse to stay silent. We are passionate about making the future—and present—safer, better, and full of hope. Join NFTY in advocating for gun violence prevention.
- Join the Gun Violence Prevention Fellowship to learn more about gun violence prevention and how to organize your community. Contact Logan Gerber for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org
Engage Your Congregation
- Educate, Pray, Engage: Community Resource Guide for Jewish values on discussing and advocating for gun violence prevention
- Avoid stigmatizing mental health as a cause of gun violence: educate yourself and others with these Resources on Mental Health and Gun Violence
- Join a local march or rally and bring a sign
- Use this Wear Orange Toolkit to commemorate Wear Orange Day on June 5
- Check out Chicago Sinai Congregation’s Interfaith Initiative Against Gun Violence
- Join the Gun Violence Prevention Group in the Tent
- Teens: Join the Gun Violence Prevention Fellowship to learn more about gun violence prevention and how to organize your community. Contact Logan Gerber for more information at email@example.com.
- Is your congregation doing interesting work for gun violence prevention? Let us know by emailing Logan Zinman Gerber, firstname.lastname@example.org, National Teen Campaign Organizer!
A Prayer for Gun Violence
Shine Your light through the gloom. Heal us and local, national, and global communities.
Lead us toward homes free of affliction and strife, bodies and spirits untrammeled by gun violence.
Help us to be the change we hope to see. Soon and in our own lifetimes. -- Amen
Adapted from “A Prayer Amid Gun Violence,” by Virginia Spatz