Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America — the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization representing nearly 1,000 synagogues nationwide, announced its support for efforts to impose a nationwide moratorium on executions of death row inmates while a comprehensive review of how the death penalty is administered in America’s courts is undertaken.
In explaining last night’s decision by the Union’s senior officers and directors, the organization’s president, Mandell I. Ganchrow, and public policy director, Nathan Diament, issued the following statement: While traditional Judaism clearly contemplates and condones the death penalty as the ultimate sanction within a legitimate legal system, Judaism simultaneously insists that capital punishment be administered by a process that ensures accuracy as well as justice; our valuing of human life as infinite demands no less. In recent months, too many questions have been raised as to whether in America’s courts the demand for accuracy is being met. These questions must be answered and appropriate corrective measures must be put in place before we can proceed with additional executions in this country. Thus, the we support putting an execution moratorium in place and the creation of a commission to review America’s death penalty procedures and any reforms needed to ensure that our justice system lives up to that name.