Bay Area Jewish groups push for gun control measures

In the wake of the Senate this week failing to advance four bipartisan gun control measures, Bay Area-based Jewish groups  are decrying congressional inaction and urging citizens to take action themselves.

The S.F.-based Jewish Community Relations Council this week announced “18 Days of Action” in response to the June 12 massacre at an Orlando gay nightclub and the Senate’s failure to move forward on gun-related laws. Citing the symbolism of the number 18, which in Jewish numerology translates as “chai” (Hebrew for “life”), the JCRC asked supporters to take steps every day for 18 days, starting June 21.

The Day One task was to contact congressional representatives and tell them gun control is “a Jewish issue.” The days following include tasks such as thanking officials who have promoted gun safety legislation, and urging California Gov. Jerry Brown to support funding for the state’s Firearm Violence Research Center.

“We’ve started at the national level, and that’s where the focus is in the media, but there is so much that we can do here at home as well,” said JCRC spokesman Jeremy Russell. “Gun violence touches every community.”

Rabbis Against Gun Violence, a national organization formed in the Bay Area earlier this year, also spoke out.

“We know that faith is ultimately measured by deeds,” said Rabbi Menachem Creditor, spiritual leader of Berkeley’s Netivot Shalom and co-founder of the organization. “We therefore commit to work as hard and as long as is necessary to heal our nation from this scourge of gun violence.”