Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership, Inc.
P.O. Box 270143
Hartford, WI 53027
Phone (800) 869-1884
Fax (425) 451-3959
August 17, 2000
[Updated August 21, 2000]
Letter to UAHC about their rejection of the 2nd Amendment
JPFO has received a copy of the following letter, sent to the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC). We thought we would share it with the subscribers to JPFO Alerts:
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July 21, 2000
Reform Jewish Appeal
633 Third Avenue, 7th Fl
New York, NY 10164-3290
Notice: Adverse Financial Impact of Your Anti-Gun Stance
Many members of the Jewish Community have noted with shock and distress the official position of the UAHC, coming out against the Second Amendment of the Constitution, which clearly delineates the God-given, inalienable right for lawful citizens to keep and bear arms in this country.
As Jews, we should be acutely aware of the need for self- protection. We are targets of violence from all sides, and history back through the Old Testament delineates our armed struggle for survival. Have you forgotten the true miracle of Hanukah, the armed insurrection of the Jews against a vile and oppressive government? In more recent times my family was nearly exterminated in Nazi Germany, powerless to resist because they had acquiesced to their Government’s demands for gun registration and then confiscation.
We are now victims of a litany of diatribe from such diverse groups as the White Supremacists and the minions of Farrakhan, all bent on our destruction. Temples are bombed, Jews are attacked. You would have us stand unprotected and be willing victims?
In Israel they have the right idea. Much of the civilian population is armed. My cousin there has an M-16 assault rifle and a Glock 9 mm hand-gun with which he can protect his home and family. The incidence of firearm violence in that heavily armed country is among the smallest in the world.
The UAHC has taken a position that is untenable for Jews. Had we followed such advice in millenia past, then our People would surely not exist today.
No, I will not contribute to the UAHC as long as this misguided position against firearms is embraced by its leaders. I will instead redouble my efforts to protect myself, my family, and my rights. I will continue to support the Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership, JPFO.
By taking your unreasonable position against guns, you have shot yourself in the foot.
Ralph Glasser, MD
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If subscribers to JPFO Alerts would like to send a POLITE letter (remember, be nice!) to the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) we provide the follow contact information:
633 Third Avenue
New York, NY 10017-6778
a web-form comments page is at http://uahc.org/write.html
or send e-mail to email@example.com
Their web site is: http://uahc.org/
-- The Liberty Crew
Addendum August 21, 2000:
We have received many letters from people wanting a reference to the specific document from Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC) outlining their anti-gun positions. We asked Dr. Glasser, and he provided this e-mail:
From: [Ralph Glasser]
Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2000 08:28:05 EDT
Subject: Re: UAHC Anti-gun position
I am sorry to say that I cannot locate the specific reference. I know that the Rabbi in the prime position of the UAHC has published statements about the moral requirement to take a position in the community, and that guns are evil since all they do is kill people, so they are anti-gun. The UAHC also came out in support of the MMM.
I think the best way to answer this question is to contact the UAHC to get their "official" stance, but I have seen enough to know what it is. It might be enlightening to publish this info on the JPFO website once it is obtained.
Numerous people have forwarded us the form-letter e-mail they received from Union of American Hebrew Congregations, which we provide here:
From: Jonetta Copeland
Subject: Gun Control
Date: Fri, Aug 18, 2000, 2:20 PM
Thank you for your recent correspondence regarding the UAHC's policy on gun control. Please know that we take your communication with us seriously. We know well that members of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership and its supporters disagree with the official stance of the UAHC on the issue of gun control.
The Jewish community, however, is overwhelmingly pro-gun control. This is one of the issues, like support for Israel, or opposition to school prayer, or abortion rights, where politicians know that the polls have consistently shown that 80-90% or more of American Jews are supportive of the positions of the national organizations. Again, not all. (One example. For several years, I had a most fascinating and illuminating correspondence with the president of one of our congregations who was the state president of the NRA). But we do not depend simply on polling data or our sense of the community's sentiments to provide a foundation for our actions. The UAHC has a democratic process by which policy statements are drafted, considered, and voted upon in an open, clear process that invites input from all members of our movement. At the most recent UAHC Biennial this past December, we adopted a gun control resolution with virtually no opposition at all; there were more than 4000 delegates from Reform Congregations all over North America, and no one rose to speak against the movement's prioritization of gun control as a top legislative concern.
We are aware that not every single Reform Jew agrees with the resolutions that the UAHC passes. Each individual must decide for him/herself how to react when such differences occur. However, we do have an obligation to speak out on those social issues that the UAHC, through its democratic process, has taken a position. This is the reason the Religious Action Center was created. If we are to take seriously the prophetic tradition that is so central to our faith, if we are to take seriously the obligation to be a "light to the nations," then engaging in social justice and speaking out on issues is integral to our religious life. This is our attempt to fulfill the command to be involved in "tikkun olam." Whether liberal or conservative, we, as a religious community, have the sacred obligation to speak out.
The UAHC supports common-sense gun control and safety precautions. It is not self-evident why the provisions that we have supported in last few years (waiting periods before purchasing to allow for background checks; holding sales at gun shows to the same restrictions as gun shops; banning general sales of bullets that can pierce police armor; restricting the access to semi-automatic military type weapons; consumer product regulation) would be objected to by those gun owners who are law-abiding citizens. When the Founders wrote the Second Amendment, the state of the art weapon was a musket that took 4-5 minutes to reload at the quickest. Had such a weapon been used at Columbine, consider how many lives would have been spared. Why is it self-evident that the same framers of the Constitution would have held the same views about automatic or semi-automatic weapons that can kill scores of people in seconds?
Again, this is a respectful debate. We recognize that gun control alone is not a panacea. We also support efforts on the local and federal levels to mitigate our culture of violence and to enact programs to sensitize Americans to violence. Such work, we believe, in conjunction with gun control, can and will save lives, and thus the UAHC and the CCAR believe it is both the moral and effective stance for us to take.
Thank you again for your letter. I suspect I won't convince you, but I hope this at least addresses the concerns you have raised.
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