Jewish Leaders Standing for Fairness

Since we first began to organize against the ban, Jewish leaders have stood with us.

In Madison, the Madison Jewish Community Council, Congregation Shaarei Shamayim, and Temple Beth El have all passed resolutions against the ban and are actively working to educate their communities and others about it.

This Thursday at 7pm, the Madison Jewish Community Council is hosting a community forum about the ban at Temple Beth El (2702 Arbor Drive). Here are details.

The Council has put together a terrific webpage with statements and resolutions against the ban from local Jewish leaders. Here's an excerpt from a February 29 statement signed by several leaders:
Our Jewish values impel us to create a society that is democratic, pluralistic, and just. This amendment, however, does just the opposite and promotes hatred. As religious people, we cannot be silent. The amendment denies equal rights to a historically persecuted group and relegates them to second-class status. Under federal law, over one thousand rights, responsibilities, and privileges accrue to married couples and their families. The history of the Jewish people compels us to vigorously oppose any attempt to limit the rights of a minority, and this amendment clearly is intended to do just that.


At 9:32 PM, Anonymous Leslie Shear said...

I want to point out two things. The first is that the Board of Directors of Madison's conservative Jewish synagogue, Beth Israel Center, also is among those synagogues and organizations that have stood up in opposition to the Amendment. Second, while it is certainly true that the leaders of the Jewish community in Madison have been fighting with us in our fight on our home turf for the past few years, on a national level, Jewish organizations have been among the first and most outspoken of all religious organizations to oppose discrimination in marriage equality. In 1996, long before we ever dreamed, much less had nightmares, that we would be fighting this battle here in Wisconsin, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the main organization of Reform Jewish rabbis in America, adopted the following resolution:

Resolution Adopted by the CCAR
Adopted by the 107th Annual Convention of the
Central Conference of American Rabbis
March, 1996
Consistent with our Jewish commitment to the fundamental principle that we are all created in the divine image, the Reform Movement has "been in the vanguard of the support for the full recognition of equality for lesbians and gays in society." In 1977, the CCAR adopted a resolution encouraging legislation which decriminalizes homosexual acts between consenting adults, and prohibits discrimination against them as persons, followed by its adoption in 1990 of a substantial position paper on homosexuality and the rabbinate. Then, in 1993, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations observed that "committed lesbian and gay couples are denied the benefits routinely accorded to married heterosexual couples." The UAHC resolved that full equality under the law for lesbian and gay people requires legal recognition of lesbian and gay relationships.

In light of this background,

BE IT RESOLVED, that the Central Conference of American Rabbis support the right of gay and lesbian couples to share fully and equally in the rights of civil marriage, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the CCAR oppose governmental efforts to ban gay and lesbian marriage.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this is a matter of civil law, and is separate from the question of rabbinic officiation at such marriages.

I am so proud of and thankful for the courageous and vocal support of the Jewish community.

At 9:41 PM, Blogger Joshua Freker said...

Leslie, thanks very much for sharing this information.


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