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From our colleague Rabbi Jonah Layman:

So I just hung up and I must say that President Obama is quite impressive. He framed his presentation around the “unetaneh tokef” prayer quoting who shall live and who shall die, etc. and the shofar blast. This season he says prompts serious reflection and debate about matters of life and death and that’s what the health care issue is. Reforming health care is essential especially for the 46 million Americans without health insurance. Everyone knows the system is broken and we need to trust each other to fix the system. We need to take bold steps to do that.

Background: NY Times article that mentions the conference call. NY Times blog on the overall debate.

BETTER: NY Times blog on the call with rabbis.

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President Obama is set to call a group of religious leaders today – that’s Aug. 19, 2009 –  to push his health care reform proposal. At least one rabbi with ties to Shalom Hartman Institute is going to be in on the call. Rabbi Jonah Layman, rabbi of Shaare Tefila Congregation of the Washington, DC, suburb of Silver Spring, MD, and a member of the current cohort of rabbis in the Institute’s Rabbinic Leadership Initiative, told us he is going to be in on the call.

That’s not surprising, as Rabbi Layman is co-chair of the Rabbinical Assembly’s Social Action Committee and Washington Board of Rabbis.

There are several faith-based groups supporting the president’s program, including Faithful America’s faithforhealth.org, and Reform Judaism’s jewsforhealthcarereform.org.

According to the LA Times, the president actually will be speaking with rabbis twice today (Shaharit and Mincha?). The first call is strictly to rabbis, a sort of Rosh Chodesh Elul, pre-Yamim Noraim (Days of Awe) health-care pep talk, and then the second call where rabbis are part of the larger group of pro-health-care-reform religious leaders:

First up is a “High Holy Day” call this morning with rabbis from Judaism’s Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements. Organizers hope the call will provide fodder for synagogue sermons when the Jewish holidays arrive next month.

To listen in on the call, go to the Faith For Health website.

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