Category Archive for: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

Inclusion and Disabilities

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In Genesis 1:27, we read that Adam, and by extension, all people, was created in “the image of God.”  This teaches us that there is holiness in all people, regardless of their physical, sensory, emotional or intellectual abilities.  Everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.   Each individual can contribute in some…



Sexual Orientation Discrimination in the Military

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The 1993 “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy was proffered as a compromise that held the promise that would allow gays and lesbians to serve in the military if they did not reveal their sexual orientation.  Established under the premise of discretion and privacy, the policy still barred lesbian, gay, and bisexual people from serving…



GENDER IDENTITY DISCRIMINATION

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The struggle for equality has taken many forms over the years as different groups have sought full participation in American society.  The inclusion of a group in anti-discrimination or hate crimes legislation is nothing more than recognition that the promise of economic freedom and physical security still eludes many Americans.  Legislation prohibiting discrimination based on…



CIVIL RIGHTS AND INDIVIDUAL LIBERTIES

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   The American Jewish Community has historically supported civil rights and individual liberties.   The mission statement of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs expresses a commitment to protect, preserve, and promote a just American society.  The American Jewish community has a “direct stake” in promoting individual liberties, and an “ethical imperative” to do so, recognizing…



Opposition to Torture

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  Judaism holds that every human being is created b’tzelem Elokim (in the divine image) and, as such, is entitled to dignity and respect.  Our government’s duty to protect the lives of our citizens must be balanced with the obligation to protect the precious rights guaranteed each individual. The war on terrorism has challenged law…



CIVIL LIBERTIES AND SECURITY

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  Our community understands that, as all other Americans, Jews have a profound and direct stake in the war on terrorism.     As part of a global community that has been a target of hatred and attacks, we recognize that the safety of our society requires the physical security that government is created to provide.  Events…



AFFORDABLE HOUSING

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  Jewish tradition teaches that “In one’s home, even a weaver is a ruler.” (B. Talmud, Megilla 12b)  The dignity that comes from having one’s own home is an essential component of a just society.  Increasing the availability of low-income, affordable housing can be a first step towards ensuring that all American have access to…



COMBATING TERRORISM AND PROTECTING CIVIL LIBERTIES

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  The Jewish Community continues to enjoy the unprecedented freedoms and opportunities of life in America.  Preservation and advancement of democratic values are central hallmarks of our community relations policies, because these ideals best foster the well-being and security of all citizens.  However, events of recent years – most dramatically the terrorist attacks of September…



Constitutional Freedoms in the Age of Cybertechnology

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Introduction:  The issue of hate crimes and the internet was selected in February 2000 for an in-depth JCPA review because it juxtaposes two central interests of the Jewish community: our interest in combating anti-Semitism, hate speech and violence; and our strong commitment to free speech, individual rights and privacy.  Between February 2000 and June 2001,…



Civil Liberties Issues Raised by War on Terrorism

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    The events of September 11th shocked our nation and shattered our sense of security.  Americans learned that day that terrorism is not a threat distant in time or place, but a present reality.    As Jews, we understand the need to combat terrorism aggressively and to provide law enforcement with the tools to…