My name is Ben Dayanim and I am glad to be here today as the representative of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, this nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization with over 1,000 member synagogues nationwide.
The religious community in general and the Orthodox Jewish community in particular has long been concerned with the coarsening of our society, much of which can be traced to the entertainment industry and particularly television programming.
The television is a uniquely powerful force in our society, as we well know it has the power to inspire and educate and it has the power to insult and offend. In that way it is a prime example of the religious challenge in the modern world, to elevate and uplift the ordinary, the every day so that it can serve as a positive force – not a negative force for society.
As Americans, we rightly treasure our First Amendment freedoms. However, with those freedoms comes responsibility, the responsibility to provide television consumers with the best tools possible so that they can use the television as a positive and creative force in their homes, rather than a negative and destructive one.
As noted by our executive vice-president Rabbi Raphael Butler, American Jews have just celebrated the holiday of chanukah whose central feature is lighting a candle in the darkness – the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America is pleased to work with this coalition to make sure some useful light is cast upon the dark side of television programming.