Some cynics suggest that serious health-care reform is only a project of the liberals, but that is shortsighted. Jews of all political persuasions have been leaders in establishing retirement homes, hospitals, and other health institutions in America for more than a century. Now the real test is on the line to hear the commanding ethical voice at one of the most crucial times in American history where Jewish power and influence are at an all-time high.
I exhort the American Jewish community to join the Jewish Council of Public Affairs, the United Jewish Communities, and the National Council of Jewish Women, among many other noble organizations that are currently at the forefront of the health care debate. With the entirety of the Jewish community behind us, we can ensure that Congress enacts a health care reform bill that secures all Americans and entitles everyone to adequate and comprehensive health care. Beyond our own Jewish self-interest to provide for our most vulnerable, we should take heed from our upcoming parsha and fulfill the moral imperative of ancient tradition: "Choose life!"
Shmuly Yanklowitz is the founder of Uri L'Tzedek, a rabbinical school student at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and a doctoral student in moral psychology at Columbia University.