Civil Liberties

Civil Liberties

Submitted by the Union for Reform Judaism Board of Trustees
to the 68th Union for Reform Judaism General Assembly
Passed - Houston, November 2005


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56th General Assembly
December 1981
Boston, Massachusetts

The Congress is currently considering more than a dozen pieces of legislation that would seriously circumscribe the jurisdiction of the federal courts, specifically the Supreme Court, by eliminating their jurisdiction to hear certain cases. Among the individual issues affected by these proposed laws would be prayer in the public schools, abortion, school desegregation, and sex bias in the Selective Service.

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UAHC Board of Trustees
December l972
New York, New York

The Board of Trustees of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations reiterates its condemnation of international terrorism, which has reached new depths of depravity in the brutal murders committed by Arab fanatics and their emissaries in Munich and Lod Airport, in the hijacking of planes and in the outrage of violence by mail.

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The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon seem so long ago and yet remain so fresh in our minds.

What has happened in the last three months is the shattering of the fundamental trust that underpins our daily life. We try, of course, to restore our sense of continuity. Therapists advise us to go back to our daily routines. We reassure our children that everything will be all right.

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In light of the growing tendency in America to equate dissent with anti-patriotic or un-American attitude, we find it necessary at this time to reaffirm the right of American citizens peacefully to assemble and demonstrate whether in support or in protest against government policies.

We reiterate our long-held commitment to civil liberties and to the freedom safeguarded by the Constitution of the United States. In our democratic system, it is not the right of government, whether local or federal, to silence dissent, however unpopular or controversial.

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The First Amendment guarantees freedom of the press, the bulwark of a free society. When press coverage is limited or suppressed, a blow is delivered to the very heart of the democratic way of life. THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Union of American Hebrew Congregations affirms that, short of jeopardizing the success of military operations, the freedom of the press to cover such activities must be ensured. In this light, we deplore the Reagan Administration's restrictions of our press corps in regard to the Grenada action.

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Gentlemen: The undersigned, to whom was referred the communication of Dr. Cornelia Kahn, Chairman of the Jewish Women's Council Committee on the purity of the press, respectfully recommends the adoption of the following:

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BE IT RESOLVED, That the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, in the spirit of the traditional regard for our faith for the sanctity of law, especially where the protection of human life is concerned, or the protection of the rights of the minority, and with a sacred regard for civil liberty and an abhorrence of mob violence, solemnly sets forth its condemnation of the lawlessness and barbarity of lynching, and that it hereby calls upon the constituted authorities to use every precaution to prevent such occurrence whenever the danger arises.

Vol. XII, p. 207

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The current demands made by the American black community painfully remind us of the appalling hurt done by our nation to a long oppressed multitude. Certainly we in the Reform Jewish community cannot allow our country to ignore the plight of America's impoverished millions. Jewish imperatives require that we be ever sensitive to the aspirations and just demands of our country's minorities.

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"Resolved that the Council of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations asks the Executive Board to appoint a committee of laymen which jointly with the Committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis would consider the proper procedure for filling pulpit vacancies and other relations between rabbi and congregation."

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