100 Rabbis Urge Stronger U.S. Action on Darfur 

As U.S. Prepares to Unveil New Sudan Policy,100 Rabbis Urge Stronger Steps on Darfur

by Martin Barillas Monday, October 19, 2009
100 Rabbis Urge Stronger U.S. Action on Darfur

The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies

News Release: October 19, 2009

For more information, contact:
rafaelmedoff@aol.com / 202-434-8994

As U.S. Prepares to Unveil New Sudan Policy,
100 Rabbis Urge Stronger Steps on Darfur

WASHINGTON - As the Obama administration prepares to unveil its new policy toward Sudan, one hundred rabbis from around the country have sent a letter to President Obama, urging him to take stronger steps to counter the Darfur genocide.

"President Obama last year called for 'real pressure on the Sudanese government' to stop the Darfur genocide, and we hope he will proceed accordingly, " said Dr. Rafael Medoff, director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, in Washington, D.C., which organized the rabbis' letter.

The rabbis urged President Obama to "impose the strongest possible sanctions on the Sudanese government" and "put pressure on Sudan's allies to stop propping up its genocidal regime." China, Russia, and the Arab League have provided the Sudanese government with crucial assistance.

The rabbis' letter also urged the president to take "practical steps to implement the International Criminal Court's warrant for the arrest of Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir."
In recent months, Bashir has traveled openly to a number of Arab and African countries, yet there have been no attempts to arrest him.

The Wyman Institute sponsors "Bashir Watch," a project that tracks President Bashir's travels and urges governments to treat Bashir as a pariah and cooperate in efforts to arrest him.

The letter from the 100 rabbis noted that "The Jewish community's memories of the Holocaust provide a powerful reminder of the importance of taking strong action to stop genocide, and to punish the perpetrators of genocide."

The signatories on the letter, representing a broad religious and political cross-section of the American Jewish community, include senior leaders of the Reform, Conservative, Orthodox, and Reconstructionist movements, among them three past presidents of the Central Conference of American [Reform] Rabbis; a past president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association; the chairman of this year's national convention of the Rabbinical Assembly [Conservative]; the director of Yeshiva University's Center for the Jewish Future; and the executive director of the International Rabbinic Fellowship.

The text of the letter, and the complete list of signatories, follows below.

* * *

The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies

October 19, 2009

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President,

We were heartened by your statement last year that "There must be real pressure placed on the Sudanese government. We know from past experience that it will take a great deal to get them to do to the right thing."

The Jewish community's memories of the Holocaust provide a powerful reminder of the importance of taking strong action to stop genocide, and to punish the perpetrators of genocide.

We therefore hope that your policy with regard to Darfur will include the imposition of the strongest possible sanctions on the Sudanese government, pressure on Sudan's allies to stop propping up its genocidal regime, and practical steps to implement the International Criminal Court's warrant for the arrest of Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir.


Rabbi Peter S. Knobel
Immediate Past President, Central Conference of American Rabbis
Beth Emet the Free Synagogue - Evanston, IL

Rabbi Charles A. Kroloff
Past President, Central Conference of American Rabbis
Vice President for Special Projects, Hebrew Union College
Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Emanu-El - Westfield, NJ

Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman
Past President, Central Conference of American Rabbis
and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
The Jewish Center of the Hamptons - East Hampton NY

Rabbi Barbara Penzner
Past President, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
Temple Hillel B'nai Torah - Boston, MA

Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt
Chairman, 2009 Rabbinical Assembly national convention
Past President, Washington Board of Rabbis
Congregation B'nai Tzedek - Potomac, MD

Rabbi Alison P. Adler
Congregation Mishkan Israel - Hamden, CT

Rabbi Andy Bachman
Congregation Beth Elohim - Brooklyn, NY

Rabbi Lewis M. Barth
Hebrew Union College - Los Angeles, CA

Rabbi Brian Beal
Templ Beth Torah - Upper Nyack, NY

Rabbi Karen Bender
Temple Judea - Tarzana, CA

Rabbi James Bennett
Congregation Shaare Emeth - St. Louis, MO

Rabbi Shalom Z. Berger, Ed.D.
The Lookstein Center for Jewish Education
Bar-Ilan University

Rabbi Kenneth Brander
The David Mitzner Dean
Yeshiva University Center for the Jewish Future

Rabbi Dr. Jack J. Cohen
Jerusalem, Israel

Rabbi Phil Cohen
American Hebrew Academy - Greensboro, NC

Rabbi Susan S. Conforti
Chaplain, VITAS Innovative Hospice - Irvine, CA

Rabbi Leon Wiener Dow
Binah Center for Jewish Identity and Hebrew Culture

Rabbi Mark Dratch
Yeshiva University

Rabbi Ira Ebbin
Beth Zion Congregation - Montreal, QUE

Rabbi Shira Koch Epstein
Congregation Beth Elohim - Brooklyn, NY

Rabbi Joshua Feigelson
Fiedler Hillel at Northwestern University

Rabbi Yitzchok Feldman
Congregation Emek Beracha - Palo Alto, CA

Rabbi David Forman
Founding Chair, Rabbis for Human Rights

Rabbi Aaron Frank
Lower School Principal, Beth Tfilloh Community Day School - Baltimore, MD

Rabbi Mark Friedman
Jewish Family Services - Ottawa, ON

Rabbi Ronne Friedman
Temple Israel - Boston, MA

Rabbi Zev Friedman
Dean, Rambam Mesivta - Lawrence, NY

Rabbi Stephen Fuchs, D. Min., DD
Congregation Beth Israel - West Hartford, CT

Rabbi Joyce Galaski
Congregation Ahavas Achim - Westfield, MA

Rabbi David Gelfand
Temple Israel - New York, NY

Rabbi Dr. Gershon C. Gewirtz
Young Israel Synagogue - Brookline, MA

Rabbi David M. Glickman
Congregation Shearith Israel - Dallas, TX

Rabbi Alan Goldman
Faculty, RavSiach- Melitz

Rabbi Lisa Grushcow
Congregation Rodeph Sholom - New York, NY

Rabi Sidney M. Helbraun
Temple Beth-El - Northbrook, IL

Rabbi Jason Herman
Executive Director, International Rabbinic Fellowship
West Side Jewish Center - New York, NY

Rabbi Mitchell M. Hurvitz
Temple Sholom - Greenwich, CT

Rabbi Steven L. Jacobs
Temple Emanu-El - Tuscaloosa, AL

Rabbi Dana Evan Kaplan
B'nai Israel - Albany, GA

Rabbi Stephen Karol
Temple Isaiah - Stony Brook, NY

Rabbi Paul Kipnes
Congregation Or Ami - Calabasas, CA

Rabbi David-Seth Kirshner
Temple Emanu-El - Closter, NJ

Rabbi David Klatzker
Temple Ner Tamid - Peabody, MA

Rabbi Yitzchak Kolakowski
Nachalei Emunah Institute Richmond, VA

Rabbi Stephanie Kolin
Temple Israel - Boston, MA

Rabbi Levi D. Lauer
Founding Executive Director, ATZUM-Justice Works

Rabbi Alex Lazarus-Klein
Temple Sinai - Amherst, NY

Rabbi Seth M. Limmer
Congregation B'nai Yisrael - Armonk, NY

Rabbi Dennis Linson
Temple Judea - Laguna Hills, CA

Rabbi Greg Litcofsky
Temple Shir Tikva - Wayland, MA

Rabbi Alan E. Litwak
Temple Sinai - North Miami Beach, FL

Rabbi Bernard H. Mehlman
Senior Scholar, Temple Israel - Boston MA

Rabbi Avis D. Miller
President, Open Dor Foundation

Rabbi Jason Miller
Congregation T'chiyah - Oak Park, MI

Rabbi Stephen F. Moch
Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

Rabbi David Oler
Congregation Beth Or - Deerfield, IL

Rabbi Eric Polokoff
B'nai Israel - Southbury, CT

Rabbi Sanford Ragins
Leo Baeck Temple - Los Angeles, CA

Rabbi Adam Rosenthal
Peninsula Sina Congregation - Foster City, CA

Rabbi Sara Sapadin
Temple Israel of the City of New York

Rabbi Mordechai Y. Scher
Beit Midrash Kol BeRamah - Santa Fe, NM

Rabbi Hanan Schlesinger
Community Kollel - Dallas, TX

Michael Schudrich
Chief Rabbi - Jewish Community of Poland

Rabbi Joel R. Schwartzman
Congregation B'nai Chaim - Morrison, CO

Rabbi Sanford Seltzer
Interreligious Center on Public Life

Rabbi Eric J. Siroka
Temple Beth-El - South Bend, IN

Rabbi Daniel A. Septimus
Temple De Hirsch Sinai - Seattle, WA

Rabbi Yerachmiel Shapiro
Congregation Beth Shalom - Red Bank, NJ

Rabbi Suzanne Singer
Temple Beth El - Riverside, CA

Rabbi Hesch Sommer, D.Min.
Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Beth Tikvah - Madison, CT

Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz
Cong. Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem - Cote St. Luc, QUE

Rabbi Keith Stern
Temple beth Avodah - Newton, MA

Rabbi Harvey M. Tattelbaum
Senior Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Shaaray Tefila - New York, NY

Rabbi Lawrence Teitelman
Young Israel of New Hyde Park, NY

Rabbi Dr. Jeremiah Unterman
Past Director, Association of Modern Orthodox Day Schools & Yeshiva High Schools

Rabbi Chaim Wasserman
Emeritus, Young Israel of Passaic - Clifton, NJ
President, Council of Young Israels

Rabbi Mayer Waxman
Director of Synagogue Services, Orthodox Union

Rabbi Elchanan J. Weinbach
Head of School, Shalhevet High School - Los Angeles, CA

Rabbi Elie Weinstock
Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun - New York, NY

Rabbi Jeffrey Wildstein
Temple Beth David - Westwood, MA

Rabbi David Wise
Hollis Hills Jewish Center - Flushing, NY

Rabbi Irvin M. Wise
Adath Israel Congregation - Cincinnati, OH

Rabbi Elaine Zecher
Temple Israel - Boston, MA

Rabbi Irwin A. Zeplowitz
The Community Synagogue - Port Washington, NY

Rabbi Henry A. Zoob
Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Beth David - Westwood, MA

(Institutions listed for identification purposes only.)

* * *

ABOUT THE WYMAN INSTITUTE: The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, located in Washington, D.C., is a research and education institute focusing on America’s response to the Holocaust. It is named in honor of the eminent historian and author of the 1984 best-seller The Abandonment of the Jews, the most important and influential book concerning the U.S. response to the Nazi genocide.

The Institute’s Advisory Committee includes Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel, Members of Congress, and other luminaries.
The Institute’s Academic Council includes more than fifty leading professors of the Holocaust, American history, and Jewish history.
The Institute’s Arts & Letters Council, chaired by Cynthia Ozick, includes prominent artists, writers, musicians, and filmmakers.

(A complete list is available upon request.)

1    submitted by Martin Barillas
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