Gun Control, Jewish Idealism, & Political Realities



In the aftermath of the recent shooting at an Aurora, CO, movie theater, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, rabbi emeritus of the URJ, writes in a recent op-ed in Haaretz called “U.S. Jews support gun control, but the political debate ignores it.” He wonders why both major U.S. political parties avoid the top of gun control – and what that means for American Jews, who overwhelmingly support stronger gun restrictions. He writes,

The massacre at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater has left Americans stunned, devastated, and once again searching for answers.

The killings, first and foremost, are a personal tragedy for the families of the victims, and expressions of grief, compassion, and concern were heard from American political and religious leaders of every stripe, including, of course, American Jews.

But in the media and on the Sunday talk shows, attention quickly turned to the what-can-be-done questions that Americans, a practically-minded people, typically ask in these situations.

And almost immediately, liberals, some Democrats, Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City, and even a very few mainstream Republicans demanded to know why laws have not been passed to keep guns out of the hands of those who commit these outrageous crimes.

And Jews were cheering them on.

Americans in general may be divided about gun control, but Jewish Americans are not. They have always been among the most enthusiastic advocates of legislation that will regulate gun ownership in a reasonable way. At the Million Mom March a dozen years ago, the largest gun-control demonstration in American history, Jews attended in droves.

Visit Haaretz to read the rest of Rabbi Yoffie’s op-ed.

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Kate Bigam

About Kate Bigam

Kate Bigam is the URJ's Social Media and Community Manager. Prior to this, she served as a Congregational Representative for the URJ's East District and at the Religious Action Center as Press Secretary and as an Eisendrath Legislative Assistant. Kate resides in Northeast Ohio.

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