What the Jews have to say about Obama and guns (WITH VIDEO)

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Here’s what we’re reading: Today, it’s all about gun control and President Obama’s tear-jerker speech about it. He announced Tuesday a package of executive actions to reduce gun violence, including expanded background checks for individual-to-individual sales of firearms. Rabbi Aryeh Cohen of American Jewish University and Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice was quoted offering his response in the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles:

“I thought it was a beginning of a good cultural shift, [although] the reforms he is bringing are minimal … I think it clearly should be a priority for the American body politic,” Cohen said of curbing gun violence. “It clearly should be a priority for the Jewish community in terms of pikuah nefesh,” referring to the Jewish obligation to save a life in jeopardy.

Gabby Giffords, the former Arizona representative who survived a gunshot wound to the head five years ago, was on hand for the speech, as The Forward notes in this article about Jewish groups pushing Obama to go even further on gun control:

Giffords, the first Jewish congresswoman from her home state of Arizona, received a standing ovation as she entered the East Room ahead of the President’s historic announcement that he would sidestep Congress and order more gun sellers to get licenses and more gun buyers to undergo background checks … “33 Americans are murdered w/ a gun every day. And Congress has done nothing. Today’s responsible actions by @POTUS will save lives,” Giffords tweeted in praise of Obama.

For a more offbeat take on the situation, consider Evangelical Christians: They’re slightly more divided on gun control than you might think — and they love the Jews. Like, LOVE us. This essay in Moment suggests there’s an opening for some serious interfaith work on the subject:

Liberal, pro-gun control Jews need to start a conversation with these evangelicals—and even with [Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University and son of the late Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell]. I say this not as a Pollyannaish believer in interfaith dialogue—I’m generally a skeptic—or even in the hope of generating a coalition of strange bedfellows to take on the gun lobby. Instead, I believe that this moment demands a cross-cultural conversation that will shed light on the respective embedded, communal commitments of both Jews and evangelicals. This could potentially lead to more fruitful organizing strategies for the broader battle against gun violence.

WATCH: President Obama’s January 5, 2016, gun-control speech.