The Coalition for Jewish Values (CJV), representing over 1000 traditional rabbis in public policy, today rebuked the Anti-Defamation League for its claim that permitting an Evangelical foster care provider to work exclusively with Evangelical families and mentors constitutes “discrimination.” The CJV responded that this was a misinterpretation of the First Amendment that runs against Jewish beliefs and values.

“Contrary to what has been said, no one is denied the ability to provide foster services because Miracle Hill Ministries is among the agencies licensed to operate,” said Rabbi Pesach Lerner, President of the CJV. “Any individual or family can turn to numerous other providers, including the state itself. So the loss of Miracle Hill’s license would only result in fewer children served, and a lack of religious support for families who share Miracle Hill’s beliefs. No one would gain, and many would lose — most of all the hundreds of children currently served through Miracle Hill.”

The CJV also clarified that although there are no Jewish foster care agencies in South Carolina, the current regulations threaten the ability of Jewish agencies elsewhere to work with coreligionists.

“Our Torah is replete with references to the need to educate the next generation,” said Rabbi Steven Pruzansky, East Coast Regional Vice President of the CJV, “and thus teaches that a Jewish child must be provided a Jewish education and a Jewish home. That a religious organization is able to work uniquely with co-religionists is a key freedom that Americans of all faiths, and especially American Jews, should seek to preserve.”

“The current regulations, dating to early 2017, deem religiously-motivated work with coreligionists to be equivalent to discrimination against others,” Rabbi Lerner concluded. “This is incorrect, and we hope that the Trump Administration will reverse these ill-advised regulatory changes.”

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