Hadassah panelists at town hall

Hadassah’s Greater Detroit region hosts Michigan politicians for a town hall meeting June 6 to address hot topics.

Featured photo courtesy of Greater Detroit Hadassah

Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization, has several advocacy priorities, including gun control, reproductive choice and combatting anti-Semitism. The organization’s Greater Detroit region invited Michigan state representatives and senators to a town hall meeting June 6 to discuss those issues and more.

Approximately 75 attended the meeting at Hadassah House in West Bloomfield, where they heard state representatives Ryan Berman, Kyra Bolden, Christine Greig and Robert Wittenberg and state senators Mallory McMorrow and Jeremy Moss. All represent districts that include parts of Oakland County.

Hadassah’s position on guns states that “the widespread availability of and easy access to firearms significantly escalates the violence” and supports stricter legislation for gun control.

All of the speakers agreed efforts are needed to stem gun violence, though Berman, the only Republican in the group, said he thought existing legislation might be sufficient. A reserve police officer and firearms instructor, he said he is committed to working with Democrats to find solutions.

On women’s health, Hadassah “reaffirms its unwavering support for full and complete access to reproductive health care services and a woman’s right to make health decisions according to her own religious, moral and ethical values.”

Berman said he voted for legislation that would outlaw a medical procedure called “D & E,” dilation and extraction, performed in a small percentage of pregnancy terminations. He described it as “dismembering a live baby.”

The other representatives felt equally strongly that legislators should not dictate medical choices to physicians.

D & E is the safest way to terminate a pregnancy in the second trimester, said Bolden, and whatever choices a woman makes about her own body is none of her – or other legislators’ – business.

All of the speakers agreed about the need to combat the rising tide of anti-Semitism. McMorrow noted that Oakland County is very diverse and has been a leader in tamping down hate by being thoughtful and “intersectional.”

Moss noted that a recent ranking of states made Michigan 44th in “quality of life,” which includes combatting hate crimes. Attorney General Dana Nessel wants to create a statewide hate crimes unit, but the GOP legislative majority cut that request from the budget, he said.

Greater Detroit Hadassah President Fran Heicklen commended the panel for working with the organization. “We have almost four thousand members in Detroit,” she said, “and we vote!”

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