Message from the Rabbi August 26, 2019
Dear Congregants and Friends of Congregation L’Dor Va-Dor:
We recently had the privilege of hosting two representatives from Planned Parenthood to discuss the recent defunding by the federal government of Planned Parenthood’s life-saving services to the poor and their efforts to achieve a time when all children are wanted children. None of this money had been used for abortions, but the federal government told Planned Parenthood that if they wanted to continue to receive these funds, they had to violate their Hippocratic oath to their patients by voluntarily gagging themselves and remaining silent about abortion, even when necessary to protect the life and health of the mother.
In the case of In Re TW, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that the right to abortion is fundamental and thus it would be a flagrant violation of women’s rights for a health care provider to agree to remain silent about this right as a price to pay for continued funding.
Our congregation is committed to taking the best of all denominations in building the Judaism of the future. Having begun our journey as a Reform congregation, we take our lead on social issues from this branch of Judaism and its point at the end of the spear, the Religious Action Center, both of which are passionate in their support of reproductive freedom and Planned Parenthood. My father, our founding rabbi believed in their mission and I served on their board for years.
As a civil rights attorney, I have seen first-hand the gauntlet of hate that women often must endure when they seek to make a most emotional and difficult decision in their lives and the vital services, programs and education that Planned Parenthood provides for vulnerable teens and others at this time.
When the Komen Foundation For a Cure announced under political pressure that it would cut off all funding to Planned Parenthood, once again Jewish leaders such as Rabbi David Saperstein, the Director of the Religious Action Center and Rabbi Maria Feldman, Executive Director of Women for Reform Judaism rallied to support Planned Parenthood and asked the Komen Foundation to reconsider its decision to cut off funding to an organization which carries out the goals of Reform Judaism in protecting the health and the lives of all women, which it calls “holy”. This letter was sent on behalf of 900 Congregations, encompassing 1.5 million Jews as well as the Central Conference of American Rabbis, with a membership of over 1800 Reform Rabbis. These leading Reform organizations have urged all rabbis to speak and act in solidarity with Planned Parenthood in order to put into practice what we preach from the bimah.
With the recent decision to defund Planned Parenthood once again our nation’s synagogues have been called upon to defend health care providers against this assault upon religious freedom, to invite speakers to our synagogues, and to oppose the government’s efforts to violate the separation of church and state by forcing abortion providers to be silent about women’s rights and to deny them vital information about their health when they have nowhere else to turn.
I am pleased to serve a congregation with an active social action committee and members who act in concert with the teachings of our faith and Reform Judaism.
At Congregation L’Dor Va-Dor, we invite a free exchange of views. If you would like to get involved in this or other efforts, or wish to share any view or concern with me, please contact me at (561) 302-1818 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank-you for supporting our mission to serve the Jewish community and beyond.