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When Jewish organizations use their political power to protect food stamps or a host of programs designed to help the most vulnerable members of society - Jewish and non-Jewish - it makes me feel proud to be part of this community and this tradition. But, when it comes to taxes, it becomes less comfortable. But a movement is afoot to reclaim not only the prophetic voice of our community, but to support a common-sense approach that is a good first step in repairing a broken budget and tax system.
The "buzz" at the 2012 White House Hanukkah Party was all about the so-called fiscal cliff. "The conservation that I thought dominated was the fiscal cliff," said Alan van Capelle, echoing others. "My sense was that most people in that room care about social justice and were talking about the fiscal cliff was because of the 300 rabbis nationwide that signed the letter about supporting the repeal of the Bush tax cuts."
Calling on the wealthiest to help shoulder the burdens of all is a longstanding tradition among my people. Shared institution-building was established in the Torah’s commandments, the imperative to care for “the widow, the orphan, the stranger, and the poor” taught by our prophets. Mutual support and responsibility has been a hallmark of Jewish communities throughout history.
About 240 American rabbis, including 15 from New Jersey, have signed a letter supporting the White House’s proposal to end Bush-era tax cuts for those making above $250,000 a year. Bend the Arc Jewish Action's director, Hadar Susskind, said that rabbis from all branches of Judaism have signed the letter.
We now live in a time that maximizes the ability to participate in the political process and thereby to be responsible for its effects. The way toward a more perfect union is the path of righteousness and justice. For this reason, we must urge our representatives to back the president’s plan to allow the tax cuts on the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans to expire. It should be the law because it is just and good.