Today I signed onto a petition, organized by the Jewish Council of Public Affairs, responding to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Newton, CT. I invite each of you to consider signing onto this petition yourself:
On Friday December 14, a gunman armed with three high-powered firearms and high-capacity magazines walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. Hundreds of shots were fired and twenty first-graders, ages six and seven, and six educators were killed.
This violent and horrific event aimed at children shocks our conscience and country. Our hearts are broken, our souls weep, and our arms are outstretched to the families of the victims, the survivors, the first responders, and the entire community of Newtown, Connecticut. In just the last few months, we have seen shootings at schools, malls, theaters, and houses of worship. We are pained and dismayed by the pandemic of gun violence, far exceeding other western nations, and we will not accept it.
Our tradition teaches us of the sanctity of life and how each and every person is created in the divine image. We must directly confront gun violence so that our nation is not marked nor the years measured by senseless massacres. We will not allow the intense emotion we feel now to return to a place of complacency where we become desensitized to the atrocities that unfold around us daily. We must come together to build a society worthy of those lost and a culture that represents our best virtues.
We stand committed to working with our local, state, and national leaders to squarely address these issues and honor the victims, survivors, and their families. We recognize the right of Americans to own guns, but we do not accept the current state of affairs. We stand united and call on our leaders to support comprehensive action, including meaningful legislation to limit access to assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines, aggressive enforcement of firearm regulations, robust efforts to ensure that every person in need has access to quality mental health care, and a serious national conversation about violence in media and games.
We, the undersigned, ask that President Obama, Congress, and every citizen to take direct and unequivocal action to stop the outrageous and unacceptable violence that is destroying the fabric of our society.
The letter was signed by the leadership of the Jewish community, including:
Rabbi Gary Bretton-Grantoor, World Union for Progressive Judaism
Rabbi Mark Dratch, Rabbinical Council of America
Rabbi Elliot Dorff, American Jewish University
Rabbi Amy Eilberg
Rabbi Steven Fox, Central Conference of American Rabbis
Rabbi Menachem Genack, Orthodox Union
Rabbi Shmuel Goldin, Rabbinical Council of America
Rabbi Lisa Goldstein, Institute for Jewish Spirituality
Rabbi Leonard Gordon, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism
Rabbi Susan Grossman
Rabbi Steve Gutow, Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Rabba Sara Hurwitz, Hebrew Institute
Rabbi Richard Jacobs, Union for Reform Judaism
Rabbi Rachel Kahn-Troster, Rabbis for Human Rights-North America
Rabbi Simcha Katz, Orthodox Union
Rabbi Jack Moline, The Rabbinical Assembly
Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, New York Board of Rabbis
Rabbi Yehiel Poupko, Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago
Rabbi David Saperstein, Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism
Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, The Rabbinical Assembly
Rabbi Toba Spitzer, Congregation Dorshe Tzedek
Rabbi David Teutsch, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
Rabbi Steve Weil, Orthodox Union
Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus, Central Conference of American Rabbis
Rabbi Steve Wernick, United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism