58th General Assembly
Los Angeles, California
More than 14,000 North Americans have been diagnosed as having acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). This disease has taken the lives of over 7,000 people in the United States and Canada alone. In an article in the San Francisco Chronicle on September 4, 1985, it was reported that researchers believe that between one and two million men, women, and children have already been infected with HTLV-III, the suspected AIDS agent. Countless others are being diagnosed and are dying throughout the world.
The statistics related to the future spread of AIDS are staggering. Yet there is no effective prevention or treatment available. Medical authorities are unable to project when scientific knowledge will provide a solution to this crisis. It is universally accepted that a key element to this solution is an increase in funding for research to prevent and treat this disease.
Not only are people with AIDS facing the trauma of terminal illness, they are also being subjected to inhumane discrimination and isolation in all aspects of their lives. People with AIDS are being evicted from their dwellings, losing their jobs, and being denied access to public accommodations and community services.
The discrimination and isolation inflicted on people with AIDS result from misinformation and ignorance regarding issues of public health. Therefore, public education is an essential element in dealing with the AIDS crisis; only this can enable us to provide the human support that is part of our tradition as a caring community. Fear is generated by ignorance; education is the only solution.
Our Jewish tradition calls upon us to offer healing and give comfort to the sick. We must insure that people with AIDS do not become strangers in their own lands. These mitzvot must be translated into action for our time.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Union of American Hebrew Congregations:
1.Calls upon the governments of the United States and Canada, which have stated that AIDS is their top health priority, to increase in a manner consistent with the urgency of this human crisis the financial and human resources assigned to research the prevention and treatment of AIDS.
2.Calls upon the governmental bodies (legislative, executive, and judicial) and all public educational systems, consistent with public health, to prohibit discrimination against people with AIDS and their families, with regard to housing, employment, health and community services, and public education.
3.Calls upon the Board of Trustees of the UAHC to establish a panel of medical experts in this field to advise our movement on a regular basis about the status of the current research and its implications for our families and our congregations.
4.Calls upon its member congregations to support community education and to provide for congregational education about AIDS through written and oral material provided and presented by knowledgeable professionals.