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Letter Regarding COVID-19 Relief Priorities

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Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association were among 23 Jewish organizations writing to Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer regarding priorities for COVID-19 relief. The letter’s text follows:


Dear Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Schumer:

Our country’s response to this crisis must be judged by how we care for the most vulnerable among us. Right now we are failing this test.

We are being offered a false choice between our lives and our livelihoods, when we should be in mourning for over 60,000 lives lost unnecessarily. We should be fighting to end the horrific racial disparities in deaths and illness. We should be ensuring our healthcare workers are safe and supported, and that every person in this country has access to testing and the care they need. We shouldn’t just be calling essential workers heroes — we should be ensuring their essential needs are met and honored.

We write you as American Jews. A people of all races and ethnicites, who have survived genocide and fascism, deportation and slavery, plagues and tyrants. We know the dangers of leaders who scapegoat and distract, spread lies, and dehumanize mass death. 

We recognize that this moment has rich lessons to teach us. It has exposed places where our country is in desperate need of repair: in our healthcare access, staggering economic inequality, racial disparities, and the failures of our leadership. We also recognize that in the midst of these tragedies is an opportunity unlike any we have seen in our lifetimes. An opportunity for transformation of old systems into new ones. 

We call upon you in this extraordinary hour to provide the clear, moral political leadership that this country desperately needs. We ask you to fight with righteous fury, to demand nothing short of justice. 

As Jews, we believe in the infinite equality and dignity of each human being, that we are all interconnected and that relief to those who need it is a holy obligation. We believe that the preservation of democracy and the safety of minority communities go hand-in-hand.  

Therefore we call upon Congress to pass legislation rooted in the values of human dignity, interconnectedness, and support for our democratic institutions that results in increased economic equality, greater public control of resources, and a government truly built for the common good.

The next Covid relief package must:  

Protect public health

Provide full coverage for all COVID-19 health care to every person in our nation, and the resources all frontline workers—from medical professionals to public transit workers, child care providers to grocery store employees—desperately need.

Provide financial relief, expanding aid to the most vulnerable, 

including direct cash assistance, increased food aid, debt relief, and eviction protections. Keep people on payrolls: Stop mass layoffs and preserve employment relationships for all businesses, including small businesses with paycheck guarantees and similar measures. Ensure federal dollars go to workers and small businesses, not already wildly wealthy corporations. 

Relief must be provided to every person in this country, 

regardless of tax or immigration status, age or ability.

Take bold steps to defend our elections 

by enacting a no-excuse vote-by-mail option for 2020 federal elections while maintaining access to in-person voting for those who do not have access to mail voting.

In this moment of national crisis, we face a choice between division or unity, corruption or justice, death or life. As American Jews, we are rising up to build a country that is truly for all of us, and we urge you to lead the way. 

Thank you,   

  • Bend the Arc: Jewish Action
  • ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal
  • Ameinu
  • Footsteps
  • Habonim Dror North America
  • IKAR
  • Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action
  • Jewish Community Action
  • Jewish Community Relations Council of the Sacramento Region
  • Jewish Council on Urban Affairs
  • Jewish Labor Committee
  • Jews United for Justice
  • Keshet
  • Lab /Shul 
  • Moving Traditions
  • National Council of Jewish Women
  • Reconstructing Judaism
  • Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
  • T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
  • The Workers Circle
  • Tivnu: Building Justice
  • Urban Adamah
  • Uri L’Tzedek


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