Saperstein and Landsberg: The Reform Jewish Movement is committed to combating discrimination and intolerance, and today we reaffirm our belief that the restoration of civil rights to the disabled community is of crucial importance to this struggle.
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WASHINGTON, D.C., June 26, 2008 – In response to yesterday’s House passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Amendments Act of 2008, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and Rabbi Lynne Landsberg, Senior Advisor on Disability Issues for the RAC, issued the following statement:
After months of strong advocacy by a broad coalition of the civil rights, faith and disability communities, the House demonstrated a renewed commitment to ensuring equality for all Americans by passing the ADA Amendments Act. We are extraordinarily proud of all the work done to see this bill passed, particularly that of the Jewish Disability Network, a disability rights coalition created by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and United Jewish Communities in 2007.
The ADA Amendments Act of 2008 will close loopholes in the original ADA’s workplace provisions by clearly redefining the term “disability” to ensure that the law protects those whom it was originally designed to cover. The Reform Jewish Movement is committed to combating discrimination and intolerance, and today we reaffirm our belief that the restoration of civil rights to the disabled community is of crucial importance to this struggle.
Leviticus 19:14 reads, “You shall not insult the deaf, or place a stumbling block before the blind.” There can no clearer teaching that we have an obligation to ensure equal access for all and to help facilitate the full participation of individuals with disabilities in religious and public life. Building on these teachings, organizations within the Jewish Disability Network reached out to members of Congress directly and mobilized Jewish clergy and activists nationwide to convey the importance of this legislation.
We thank those members of Congress who worked so persistently to advance this essential bill, and we strongly encourage the Senate to vote on the bill quickly. The right to earn a livelihood is one that should be granted to all people, regardless of physical or mental ability, and enactment of this legislation will bring us nearer to that goal.