FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 7, 2020
Reform Jewish Leader Congratulates Biden and Harris on Victory
WASHINGTON - In response to Vice President Biden and Senator Harris’s achievement of the necessary 270 electoral college votes to make them the next president and vice president, respectively, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, Central Conference of American Rabbis, and the wider Reform Jewish movement:
We congratulate President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris on their victory in the 2020 election. We celebrate especially the first Woman of Color elected to the Vice Presidency, even as we note the essential and immense amount of work our nation must do to address ongoing systemic racism. Although we expect recounts over the coming weeks, the Biden-Harris ticket won the clear majority of the popular vote and it appears they have achieved the necessary 270 electoral college votes as well. Assuming the final count confirms this outcome, we urge a peaceful transition of power for the good of the nation and the integrity of our democracy.
As the new administration prepares to take office in January, it must act swiftly to address the many policies implemented over the past four years that have done untold harm to Americans and to the United States’ stature in the world. People of Color continue to live with the trauma and hurt caused by the disproportionate number of police shootings, higher rates of COVID deaths, and inequities in education, employment, housing, and more. Refugees and asylum seekers are being turned away; immigrant children have been separated from their parents; and members of immigrant communities overall are living in fear of deportation and persecution. The Supreme Court could soon dismantle the Affordable Care Act, leaving millions of Americans without vital health coverage. LGBTQ+ families are concerned about the possible end to legal recognition of their marriages and about having religious freedom claims to discriminate against them upheld by the courts. Transgender Americans are being marginalized and denigrated by the federal government, including those who wish to serve their country in uniform. Reproductive rights are being challenged in states nationwide and Roe v Wade is in danger of being overturned. And the impacts of climate change are seen in American communities grappling with floods, fires, hurricanes, and other extreme weather events. We will work to dismantle the systems that continue to oppress Americans from historically marginalized backgrounds and hold the Biden-Harris administration accountable for addressing these and so many other pressing issues of social justice and moral urgency.
We will also hold the new Congress accountable for addressing these issues. Though the Senate majority remains undecided, we are deeply concerned by the possibility that should Sen. McConnell return as Majority Leader, he will use his power to stonewall rather than to fulfill his legislative responsibility to the American people. The election has exposed the nation’s deep fault lines. Political leadership that places partisanship second to the well-being of the nation overall can begin the healing process that is so desperately needed.
Even as we await the final election results, we are especially proud that the Reform Movement's nonpartisan 2020 civic engagement campaign, “Every Voice, Every Vote,” has been our largest and most successful effort to engage U.S. citizens in our democratic process. Together, we have mobilized more than 500,000 voters and worked tirelessly to ensure that every voice is heard and every vote is counted in this election. As we look ahead, we recommit to passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Restoration Act in the next Congress so that every eligible American has access to the polls and has their vote counted.
We know that for many Americans, the results of this election are not what they hoped for. The Reform Jewish Movement will continue to support our congregations and communities as spaces that strengthen the essential and enduring ties among us, fostering unity and healing. Local, state, and national leaders must do the same. Private citizens and public figures alike have a responsibility to recognize and respect the humanity in others. Those unwilling to do so – including those who traffic in white supremacy – betray the values of our nation. As we move forward from this election, let us work together to build a nation of justice for all.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose nearly 850 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.