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By Editor, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Times of SD Editor’s Note: This statement was prepared and signed by more than 45 leaders of the San Diego Jewish community.

June 28, 2022 (San Diego) - Jewish tradition is grounded in obligation and responsibility to ourselves, one another, and our community. As Jewish communal professionals and clergy, we understand Jewish approaches to autonomy and community have long protected the rights of reproductive freedom and justice, as exemplified by cases where health, wellness, and life are at stake. 

Jewish experience tells us that our reproductive freedoms are integrally bound to our religious liberty. At the core of the Jewish tradition is the affirmation of the sanctity of life. Further, the tradition recognizes that life does not begin at conception and the wellbeing (spiritual, emotional, and physical) of the parent takes precedence over an unborn fetus. 

The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade not only undermines 50 years of legal precedent, but this ruling also stands squarely in the face of the foundational American principle of religious freedom, which affects everyone in the Jewish community. The decision negates decades of progress in the fight for women’s rights, and the recognition of women as whole and autonomous human beings. 
The decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is deeply painful and distressing to millions, and will have an immediate, lasting, and irreversible impact for all women and those in need of reproductive care across the country. This ruling will exacerbate the reproductive restrictions and health outcome disparities that already disproportionately impact those in communities with less access to healthcare including low-income communities, communities of color, rural communities, immigrants, LGBTQ+, the disabled, and those who are being abused by partners or family members. In the coming days, months, and years we will continue to fight and advocate for our Jewish values that maintain religious freedom, cherish life, dignity, and enshrine the individual’s rights to make their own reproductive choices according to their own conscience. May we find the redemptive strength and courage to restore that which has been stripped away. 
Ilene Bernstein and Joan Rosenberg, San Diego Area co-Presidents, Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America 
Pam Ferris, President & CEO, Seacrest Village Retirement Communities
Karen Foster Silberman, Chair, Jewish Women’s Foundation 
Heidi Gantwerk, President and CEO, Jewish Federation of San Diego County
Michael Hopkins, CEO Jewish Family Service of San Diego 
Michael Rabkin 
Betzy Lynch, CEO Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, Jacobs Family Campus
Nicole Nevarez, Executive Director, Ta’amod 
Karen Parry, Executive Director, Hillel of San Diego 
Charlene Seidle, Executive Vice President, The Leichtag Foundation 
Beth Sirull, President and CEO, Jewish Community Foundation 
Buddy Voit, Executive Director, Camp Mountain Chai 
Rabbi Richard Agler 
Rabbi Gabi Arad, Jewish Collaborative of San Diego 
Rabbi Cantor Arlene Bernstein, Congregation Beth Israel 
Rabbi Alexis Berk, Temple Solel
Rabbi Aliza Berk 
Rabbi Michael Berk 
Rabbi Lenore Bohm 
Rabbi David Castiglione, Temple Adat Shalom
Rabbi Laurie Coskey 
Rabbi Ralph Dalin, Jewish Federation of San Diego 
Rabbi Joshua Dorsch, Tifereth Israel Synagogue 
Rabbi Wayne Dosick 
Rabbi David Frank 
Rabbi Susan Freeman 
Rabbi Benj Fried, Temple Emanu-El 
Rabbi Jeremy Gimbel, Congregation Beth Israel 
Rabbi Phillip Graubart 
Rabbi Brad Greenstein 
Rabbi Ally Jacobson 
Rabbi David Kornberg, Congregation Beth Am 
Rabbi Marty Lawson 
Rabbi Avi Libman 
Rabbi Mathew Marko, Tifereth Israel Synagogue 
Rabbi Devorah Marcus, Temple Emanu-El 
Rabbi Thomas P. Liebschutz 
Rabbi Scott Meltzer, Congregation Ohr Shalom 
Rabbi Jason Nevarez, Congregation Beth Israel 
Rabbi Alexis Pearce 
Rabbi Yael Ridberg, Congregation Dor Hadash 
Rabbi Dr. Michael Leo Samuel 
Rabbi Ron Shulman 
Rabbi Sammy Seid, Congregation Ner Tamid 
Rabbi Jonathan Stein 
Rabbi-Cantor Cheri Weiss 

The opinions in this editorial reflect the views of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine. To submit a reader’s editorial for consideration, contact



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The Bible's old testament

including Psalms, Judges and Isaiah has been quoted by Christians to claim that human life begins at the point of conception. This is the basis of the Supreme Court position. But Jews say that according to their tradition life does not begin at conception. The Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) includes the same books and passages as the Old Testament in the Christian Bible. Amendment I of the US Constitution: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; . ." so let's follow the Jews and not the Christians because the ruling prohibits the free exercise of the Hebrew religion while if the ruling is over-ruled Christians can avoid abortions if they want to.

Interestingly the Catholic Church will not baptize a stillborn

baby, since the Bible teaches that life begins at first breath. Yet the modern church claims life begins at conception for purposes of prohibiting abortion.  These positions seem contradictory, don't you think?

Of course there are many who believe in science over religion.  10 to 15% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, so any fertilized egg is really potential life, no guarantee it would reach full term. The vast majority of abortions are done during the  first trimester or early second trimester. An interesting scientific fact is that a fetus does not develop nerve cells to feel pain until 28 to 32 weeks, and some states have sought to require anesthesia if an abortion is conducted after this point to prevent pain.  

our rights

are being taken away everyday by the right retrumplicans. if we do not elect the correct people this will become a third world country.