Gun Violence Prevention: WRJ Executive Board of Directors Statement

[New York, NY, June 16, 2016] … “Do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor.” (Leviticus 19:16)

Gun violence has yet again shocked the collective consciousness of the United States. The tragedy at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016, took the lives of 49 people and left 53 people wounded in what is the deadliest mass shooting in American history, the deadliest act of terrorism on American soil since 9/11, and the deadliest attack against the gay community in our nation’s history.

In 1993, at its Biennial Assembly, Women of Reform Judaism passed a resolution calling for gun control. Sadly, the need for the implementation of that resolution and for gun violence prevention measures is even more urgent today. In June, 2013, the WRJ Board of Directors issued a statement following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, reaffirming its commitment to gun violence prevention, citing the danger we all face from the proliferation of guns in America. Tragically, guns continue to proliferate in the United States and the danger of gun violence has never been greater.

Women of Reform Judaism once again pledges to renew its efforts to advocate against gun violence and to strengthen gun laws in America, with special attention to banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. While we pray for the dead in Orlando, for healing of the injured and for comfort of their families, we call on our elected officials to take immediate action to end gun violence so that Americans can go about their daily lives, to a nightclub or to elementary school, without fear of a mass shooting.

Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ), founded in 1913, is the women’s affiliate of the Union for Reform Judaism, the central body of Reform Judaism in North America. WRJ represents tens of thousands of women in hundreds of women’s groups, strengthening the voice of women worldwide and empowering them to create caring communities, nurture congregations, cultivate personal and spiritual growth, and advocate for and promote progressive Jewish values.