URJ Leadership: President Obama Must Take Action to End Gun Violence in America

An Open Letter to President Obama

Contact: Lauren Theodore at 212-650-4154


December 3, 2015
21 Kislev 5776

President Barack H. Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

Yesterday, 14 Americans were killed and an equal number were wounded in yet another horrific, mass shooting, this time in San Bernardino, California. The time has passed for words of sadness, lamentations about the prevalence of gun violence, and calls for action.  Now is the time to act.

What specific steps do you support to end the epidemic of gun violence in America?

There is certainly room for disagreement about the best way to end gun violence.  But we hope there is agreement that the status quo is flatly unacceptable. Steps must be taken – urgently – to make guns less accessible, especially to those who have already been identified as possible threats to public safety.  How can it be that someone who is on the “no fly” list can, nevertheless, purchase weapons capable of the type of massacre we witnessed yesterday?

As Reform Jews, we are serious about our commitment to live our lives reflective of our beliefs that all people were created in the Divine image, that the spark of the divine glows in every single person, and that “one who saves one life it is as though they have saved the world."  As Americans, we are serious about our commitment to live our lives reflective of our belief in the principle that all are created equal and entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness - none of which are achievable under the daily threat of gun violence.

Let not another day pass without doing everything you can to stem this bloody tide.


Rabbi Rick Jacobs
President, Union for Reform Judaism

Jeremy Cronig
President, NFTY


About the Union for Reform Judaism

The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) builds community at every level—from the way we collaborate with congregations, organizations, and individuals to how we make connections across North America to advance contemporary and inclusive Jewish life. Providing vision and voice to transform the way people connect to Judaism, we help congregations stay adept and agile, motivate more young Jews to embrace Jewish living, agitate for a more progressive society, and foster meaningful connections to Israel. Founded in 1873, URJ has grown into the most powerful force in North American Jewish life, with almost 900 member congregations and work that inspires millions of people. Our legacy, reach, leadership, and vision mean that we can unite thousands of years of tradition with a modern, evolving Judaism to strengthen Jewish communities today and for future generations. Visit us at www.URJ.org to learn about our social justice initiatives, camps and programs for young Jews, services for congregations and communities, and how you can work with us to create a more just, whole, and compassionate world. Enjoy related content at ReformJudaism.org and connect with URJ on Twitter and Facebook.


About NFTY

For 75 years, has offered thousands of young people the opportunity to explore and live Reform Judaism. Through programs that are offered by nearly 500 Reform congregations, 19 geographic NFTY regions, and on a North American level, teens are encouraged to forge Jewish identities in consonance with the values of Reform Judaism. Participation in NFTY helps teens build confidence, friendships and leadership skills through experiential youth-led educational programming including social justice projects, worship, and community-building initiatives. NFTY is open to teens in grades 6 to 12. Connect with NFTY on Twitter and Facebook.