Resolution Adopted by the CCAR

Welfare Reform: From Dependency to Self-Sufficiency

Adopted at the Convention of the
Central Conference of American Rabbis
1994 / 5754

Our tradition teaches that welfare should enhance the dignity of the recipient, have self-sufficiency as its highest form and enable those unable to attain self-sufficiency to be supported with the basics of life in a manner that keeps the recipient family together.
        
Maimonides taught that the highest degree of tzedakah is to enable a person to earn one's own livelihood. With millions of Americans living below the poverty line, it is our duty to aid the transition of those in need from dependency to self- sufficiency.
        
To do this effectively, we must deal with the root causes of poverty and the reasons people are in the welfare system today. We are aware that there are many single adults in need for whom there are no federal programs of assistance. In many cases there is no state program to serve them, or only an inadequate one at best. This is an issue for study and reform.
        
We believe that the goals of genuine welfare reform can be achieved only through a public/private effort that creates full employment with jobs and wages sufficient to sustain families.
        
We recognize, however, that until such goals are attained, the nation must continue to relieve the suffering of those in poverty through programs such as Aid to Families with Dependent Children.

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the CCAR urge that state and federal legislation to reform the welfare system reflect the following principles:

1) Financial Self-sufficiency

a. Develop and maintain a flexible system, without arbitrary time limits that includes a continuum of benefits and case management until the recipient obtains employment that will economically sustain her or his family.

b. Allow people to achieve financial self-sufficiency by creating programs to allow for some welfare recipients to stay at home to care for dependents.

2) Family Stability. Programs should promote, rather than discourage, family stability through:

a. Adequate and appropriate child care, with recognition that part-time parental child care, together with part-time wage work, may be a substitute for full-time wage work.

b. Education, including life-skills training.

c. Maternal and paternal responsibility.

d. Improved child support enforcement, without penalizing the single parent for non-disclosure of the absent parent.

e. Comprehensive health care coverage.

f. Responsible family planning, without "family cap" penalties.

g. Encouraging teenage mothers to live with their families, but not penalizing them for choosing otherwise.

3) Citizenship should not be an eligibility requirement for benefits.

4) Funding:

a. Funding of these programs should not be at the expense of established government programs that currently serve the economically disadvantaged, the disabled and immigrant populations.

5) Job Training and Placement programs should:

a. Teach marketable skills.

b. Lead to long-term employment that would not displace current workers.

c. Encourage workers to take advantage of the Earned Income Tax Credit.

National Holocaust Museum

WHEREAS, The United States Holocaust Museum offers an unparalleled educational experience for all who visit it; and

WHEREAS, the United States Holocaust Museum has successfully completed its first year, drawing over two million people from all over the United States and from all over the world; and

WHEREAS, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum provides a profound educational and emotional experience for all people, warning against the evils of prejudice, racism, anti-Semitism, the politics of hate and intolerance; and

WHEREAS, the United States Holocaust Museum continues to rely on the financial support of private donors to maintain the high quality of its exhibits and related programs; and

WHEREAS there exists a National Congregational Campaign in support of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum that encourages congregational communities to become donors to the Museum and to memorialize synagogues or communities destroyed during the Shoah ; and

WHEREAS, the National Congregational Campaign has enjoyed the endorsement of the CCAR since its inception in June of 1991, and its early success is the result of the leadership of several CCAR members and their congregations; therefore

BE IT RESOLVED, that the Central Conference of American Rabbis urge all of its members to encourage their local school systems to make a visit to the United States Holocaust Museum a part of the program of all Junior and Senior High School trips to Washington, D.C., and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that members of the CCAR encourage their congregations to participate in the National Congregational Campaign in support of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum to the fullest extent they are able.