SHJ Urges Calm Reasoned Responses in Dealing with Ebola
Farmington Hills, MI, November 10, 2014 – The Society for Humanistic Judaism (SHJ), like citizens everywhere, is concerned with the spread of communicable diseases such as Ebola and AIDS. In the past, fear and misinformation have only exacerbated the effects of communicable diseases. The SHJ urges a calm and reasoned response in dealing with the current health crisis.
For our government leaders to rely on myths and fear rather than medical facts in approaching the treatment and control of Ebola only serves to further enflame and frighten people. The SHJ, believing that reason, “scientific knowledge, and respect for human dignity should be the underlying principles applied in the prevention and treatment of communicable diseases,” issued a statement expressing concern “that certain populations may be unjustly stigmatized because of associations with frightening diseases poorly understood by the general public, such as Ebola and AIDS.” Such stigmatization can lead to isolation of those who are ill or who have come in contact with anyone thought to be ill, a failure to report symptoms or seek treatment, the spread of the disease, and death. Quarantines and travel bans, dictated by fear without basis in reason and scientific facts, can result in lost wages and even lost jobs, creating hardships for many.
The SHJ statement concludes by calling upon “governmental agencies and health professionals to provide responsible leadership and reassurance in responding to public concerns about the spread and treatment of communicable diseases, . . . upon pharmaceutical companies to develop and provide vaccines and medications to address outbreaks of communicable diseases,” and “upon the media to exercise restraint in reporting on such matters.”
The Society for Humanistic Judaism is the national umbrella organization for Humanistic Jewish congregations in North America. These congregations embrace a human-centered philosophy that celebrates Jewish culture without supernatural underpinnings. Humanistic Jews value their Jewish identity and the aspects of Jewish culture that offer a genuine expression of their contemporary way of life. Humanistic Judaism embraces the belief in the human capacity to create a better world rather than in reliance on a deity.
The Society for Humanistic Judaism helps to organize local congregations and havurot, creates and disseminates celebrational and educational materials, provides national programs, including programs for teens and young adults, and serves the needs of individual members who do not live near an existing Humanistic congregation.
For more information about Humanistic Judaism, contact the Society for Humanistic Judaism 28611 West 12 Mile Rd., Farmington Hills, MI 48334, (248) 478-7610.