Below you will
find a letter directed to Senator Joseph Lieberman, concerning his intention of
supporting a filibuster to prevent an up-and-down majority vote on the
If you agree with its basic sentiments, please write us right away. (Please forgive the rush that prevents making changes in the text. The Senate will be voting soon.) We want to make this letter public as soon as possible with a siz able number of signatures from members of the American Jewish community, in the hope of bringing him to change his position.
You can sign by copying this "coupon," filling it out, and emailing it to email@example.com right away.
Thank you! May your Hanukah continue to be filled with light.
Rabbi Arthur Waskow
___ Please sign my name to the letter to Senator Lieberman.
Name (with title) ________________________________________________________
Organization (for identification only) _______________________________________
City/ State/ ZIP __________________________________________________________
Senator Joseph Lieberman
United States Senate
We are rabbis, cantors, and other committed Jews. Many of us were delighted in 2000 when you were nominated for Vice-President and proclaimed to all that you were an observant Jew, carrying into the highest level of public service the values of the Jewish people.
Now we see with deep distress that you have announced that you will not support the bill before the Senate to bring health care in America even part way toward the universal and affordable coverage that is assumed in every other industrial country, including Israel. You have announced that you intend to join a quasi-filibuster against even taking an up-and-down vote on the bill if it contains either a "public option" provision or one extending the universally praised Medicare system to some younger people.
Doing this would thwart the will of a majority of the Senate, the majority of the American people, and the majority of the American Jewish community.
In our eyes, this is not the behavior of an "observant" Jew. "Tzedek tzedek tirdof, justice justice shall you seek," is among the Torah's most important commandments. And in pursuit of justice, no autonomous Jewish community has ever allowed the poor to go without healing. It is clear that the present health insurance system based on private insurance companies is broken in every aspect except assuring enormous profits to itself. It costs Americans the highest medical costs in the world while providing mediocre health care as measured by life expectancies, newborn death rates, and other indices across the developed world.
We recognize that major health insurance companies are headquartered in Connecticut and that you may view your obligations to them as constituents as an important political responsibility. Yet thousands of Americans die each year unnecessarily because they are refused coverage by or are unable to purchase insurance from these same companies.
So we believe your obligation of pekuach nefesh, saving life, saving the lives of the flesh-and-blood citizens of Connecticut, shaped in flesh and blood in God's Image and subject to damage of that same flesh and blood that requires healing, is an even higher obligation than you owe to your insurance-company constituents. Indeed, two-thirds of your flesh-and-blood constituents support a health-care bill that includes a strong public option.