Resolution on Preserving Birthright Citizenship under the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
adopted by the 2011 JCPA Plenum
The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution affirmed the concept of birthright citizenship, i.e., determining a person's citizenship by place of birth. Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment provides "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."1 This provision echoes the founding precepts of our Declaration of Independence that, endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights, "all men are created equal"; it embodies the elegant thoughts of Abraham Lincoln in his July 4, 1858 speech and later the Gettysburg address2, and it inspired the words on our Statute of Liberty as it welcomes new immigrants to this day3. This Constitutional provision insures "that all native-born children, whether members of an unpopular minority or descendants of privileged ancestors . . . have the inalienable right to citizenship and all its privileges and immunities.”4 It reflects the American Dream that only hard work and ability, not ancestry or class, should determine one's achievement in our nation. As Jews we, or our immigrant forebears, or both have benefited greatly from this uniquely America ethos.
10:12 AM Mar 10, 2011 -
Resolution on Food Sustainability and Local Food Distribution
Adopted by 2010 Plenum
“Food insecurity” is a new term in the American lexicon. It has replaced the word “hunger” to accurately describe the experience of families who suffer from unreliable access to adequate food from non-emergency sources. One in six families in the United States are currently classified as food insecure--the highest level since the government began collecting data in 1995. To combat this troubling trend, numerous groups including Jewish agencies, the USDA, and Presidential initiatives, are encouraging local and sustainable farming and food distribution methods as a way to achieve increased food security. Local and sustainable food systems promise a smaller carbon footprint, safer food, stimulated local economies and structural solutions to the root causes of obesity and food insecurity. Over the last 20 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to have access to local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. CSAs link consumers as members or shareholders with a local farm by purchasing “shares” that result in a weekly produce box. The consumer benefits from fresh, local, seasonal food and the farm benefits from the support of community members. These farms help keep wealth within the local economy, and provide new farm-related jobs as well. Overall, small farms promise more sustainable agricultural practice, including a smaller carbon footprint and a reuse of natural resources. Currently, over 1,200 communities now support CSA farms.
06:04 PM Mar 02, 2010 -
Resolution on Breast Cancer Awareness and Treatment
Adopted by 2010 Plenum
Breast Cancer strikes women of all backgrounds, races, ethnicities and ages; however, certain populations are not only more vulnerable to this disease but are also at risk for higher mortality rates.
Ashkenazi Jewish women and young African-American women have an increased risk of breast cancer. Ashkenazi women are at greater risk for carrying the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations which significantly increases their risk for breast cancer. Women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 abnormalities are at increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. The lifetime risk is about 55% for women with BRCA1 mutations and about 25% for women with BRCA2 mutations. Caucasian women have a slightly higher risk than African- American women. African- American women with breast cancer have a higher risk of dying from the cancer because they are more likely to have an aggressive form of the disease. While the focus is on women, men also have BRCA gene mutations and are at increased risk of developing breast cancer. While women with BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations have a lifetime breast cancer risk of up to 80%, the risk, though much less lower, does exist for men. The lifetime breast cancer risk for men with BRCA2 mutations is about 5% to 10%. BRCA1 plays a role in only a small amount of male breast cancers, but it is more common in Jewish men.
05:45 PM Mar 02, 2010 -
Resolution on Sexual Orientation Discrimination in the Military
Adopted By 2010 Plenum
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 openly in the military. Any service member that reveals his or her homosexuality would be discharged. However, the policy also ostensibly precluded military officials from investigating soldiers suspected of being homosexual. Since the enactment of the DADT policy, more than 13,000 individuals have been discharged from the U.S. armed services due to their sexual orientation – a rate similar to before the DADT law.
05:39 PM Mar 02, 2010 -
Resolution on Civility
Adopted by 2010 Plenum
Robust, vigorous debate about the pressing issues of the day is vital and essential in a pluralistic society, including within our diverse Jewish community.
Deep divisions are to be expected over how to address many issues including but not limited to the domestic economy, the environment, health care, American military involvement abroad, the Arab-Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the existential threats posed to Israel by terror and Iranian nuclear ambition. A frank and civil exchange of ideas helps to inform and distill consensus. In recent years, however, we have been witness to an increasing challenge in general society and in our own community. There is greater political and socio-economic polarization, the deterioration of civil interaction, decreased sense of common ground among individuals with divergent perspectives, greater tension around global issues and their impact on American society. At times divisions spill over into racism, anti-Semitism, and other forms of prejudice and bias. It is cause for great concern.
As differences devolve into uncivil acrimony, dignity is diminished and people holding diverse viewpoints cease listening to each other, it becomes more difficult if not impossible to find common ground. We are experiencing a level of incivility, particularly over issues pertaining to Israel, that has not been witnessed in recent memory. Where such polarization occurs within the Jewish community, it tears at the fabric of Klal Yisrael – our very sense of peoplehood – and is a cause for profound concern.
Civility is neither the lack of difference nor the squelching of debate. It is the application of care for the dignity of every human being, even those with whom we may sharply disagree. It is listening carefully when others speak, not just to understand what they are saying and thinking, but to open ourselves to the possibility that they may have something to teach. It is the guarding of tongue and the rejection of false witness. As Jews, our shared past, present, and future require that we find ways to work for a common good, toward Klal Yisrael. Each of us has a sacred obligation to heal our broken world. This repair requires that we recognize that the divine is in every one of us.
05:08 PM Mar 02, 2010 -