The URJ, as a member of the Interfaith Disability Advocacy Coalition (IDAC), is proud to release Grounded in Faith: Resources on Mental Health and Gun Violence. We hope you will use this resource guide to inform your personal, professional and congregational life.
The Senate is voting on a gun violence prevention package today! Take action now! Tell Congress that you support the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013 (S.649) currently under consideration by Congress and the bipartisan Toomey/Manchin amendment to expand background checks. Read more…
On Purim we read about Esther
And how Haman’s plot didn’t best her
But this year there’s more
Evil plotting in store
As we worry about the sequester.
–Rabbi Joe Black
If you have been following RACblog at any point for the last few months, you know we have been following very closely what will happen to key programs that help facilitate social justice in our country if the looming sequester takes effect at the start of the next month. Mental health programs will also be hit hard if the looming across-the-board cuts take effect. Mental Health America, a leading advocacy organization on mental health and substance abuse issues, issued a report back in October with rather disturbing projections for the human cost of cuts to these programs. The analysis found:
- 684,000 individuals will lose critical employment and housing assistance, case management services, and school-based supports;
- 1.13 million children and adults will be at risk of losing access to any type of public mental health support;
- More than 320,000 children will miss out on coordinated mental health services, early intervention and prevention programming, and other suicide prevention services;
- 230,000 individuals will lose access to treatment and prevention services;
- 169,000 fewer individuals will be admitted to substance use treatment programs.
A large number of people may be evicted from their homes, there will be fewer resources to help suicidal teens, people already receiving treatment will suddenly loose their treatment, and people suffering from substance abuse will have even fewer options for seeking treatment.
The outlook wasn’t good when the report was released in October; however, there have been some major national developments in the last four months that are cause for further concern. In the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, a point of common ground between gun violence prevention and gun rights advocates has been around protecting mental health funding (although some argue that, while this is an important issue, it will not alone solve our nation’s gun violence epidemic). Let us hope that we can continue to work together to protect mental health funding throughout the sequestration debate.
Image Courtesy of the Columbus Dispatch.
You may not have heard, but Congress sure did—the Jewish community cares about disability rights! On Tuesday over 30 professional and lay leaders descended on Capitol Hill. They came from across the country, from different denominations, from social service agencies and philanthropic agencies—all to advocate for issues facing the disability community today.
Tonight, President Obama will deliver his State of the Union address to Congress and the nation. Leaders of the Reform Jewish Movement are highlighting key issues they hope President Obama will address in the speech and calling on the President and Members of Congress to act swiftly on pressing domestic and international concerns.
In 1903 in Kishinev, which was then part of Russia, there was a terrible pogrom, an anti-Jewish riot. During that riot, 49 Jews were killed and more than 500 were injured. In its aftermath, the Jewish community in the town of Odessa sent a well known Zionist and poet, Haim Nachman Bialik, to Kishinev who then wrote a poem in Hebrew entitled “On the Slaughter.” From this poem, there is a very famous line which says, “Cursed be he who says, “Avenge! Vengeance such as this, vengeance for the blood of a small boy.””
A few months later, Bialik wrote another poem in an entitled “In the City of Slaughter.” Instead of blaming everyone else for what occurred, Bialik chose to blame the Jews themselves. Bialik had heard tales of Jewish men who had been passive observers while their women were being raped, abused and murdered. In this poem he writes, “Concealed and cowering,—the sons of the Maccabees!” In this critique, Bialik was encouraging the Jewish community to look at its own responsibility for what had occurred before blaming others.