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.
In 2017, for the first time in modern history, substantially more Americans were killed with firearms than in motor vehicle accidents. The vast majority of Americans, including gun owners, support common-sense policies like background checks for every gun sale to prevent senseless violence. On February 27, 2019, the House of Representatives passed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 (H.R.8). We now await a vote on the Background Check Expansion Act (S.42) in the Senate, which will expand the federal background check requirement to include the sale or transfer of all firearms by private sellers, including those sales conducted online or at a gun show.
In 2018, almost 40,000 Americans died as victims of gun violence. The scourge of gun violence in America is both a public safety issue and a public health epidemic. Enough is enough. As Jews, we will not remain silent.
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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
Contact our Legislative Assistants
For more information on this issue, contact Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Katie Wysong at (202) 387-2800.
Civic Engagement Campaign
Get involved in Every Voice, Every Vote, the Reform Jewish Movement’s 2020 Civic Engagement Campaign, a nonpartisan effort to strengthen our democracy by encouraging everyone to participate in the upcoming U.S. election and ensuring that Reform Jewish values are represented in the public square. Voting and civic engagement are vital to ensuring we have partners in elected offices who can make changes on a whole host of issues, including gun violence prevention.
Join the Brit Olam
The Brit Olam, covenant with our world, is the primary way the Religious Action Center is supporting Reform Jewish communities in working together to make change. Join the Gun Violence Prevention cohort to mobilize individuals in your community and work to make the world a safer place.
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 prevention
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