On 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday, the RAC Talks Civil Rights



As the newly appointed director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, I am inspired by the storied history of our role in the critical social justice battles of our time. In fact, the RAC was founded at the height of the Civil Rights Movement to provide an outlet for Reform Jews to express their deep commitment to equality and justice in our society.

Next weekend marks the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, which was one in a series of Selma-to-Montgomery marches demanding voting rights for African-Americans. Like Reform Jews 50 years ago, my colleagues and I will be in Selma – alongside President Barack Obama, Rep. John Lewis, a number of congregational and community leaders and civil rights activists.

How can you participate?

  • I urge you and your families to join us on Tuesday, March 3 at 7:30pm EST, for a special webinar featuring Julian Bond, Al Vorspan, Rabbi Joshua Caruso, and others who will share their experiences fighting for racial and economic justice and their insights on the work ahead of us.
  • Choose from one of these two prayers your family or congregation can use to honor this anniversary.
  • If you can be in the area, I hope you will join the Jewish community in Selma at Temple Mishkan Israel, on Sunday, March 8, and march with us behind the RAC banner.

The Jewish call to care for the most marginalized in our society has led us to engage deeply in the fight against economic inequality on a state, federal and international level.

This work will continue at the RAC’s Consultation on Conscience, April 26-28th, 2015 in Washington. You can register here or follow along online. I am honored that this program will include a tribute to Rabbi David Saperstein’s 40 years of moral leadership and my formal installation as director of the RAC. Among our esteemed speakers will be former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Rabbi Denise Eger, president-elect of the CCAR.

The Consultation will be an opportunity for our Movement to come together, and for us to mobilize around the following exciting priorities:

As we continue to forge the path of tikkun olam, we are connecting the teachings of our tradition to the greatest struggles for justice in our world today. When we march arm-in-arm in Selma, we know that each step takes us closer to a world of justice, wholeness and compassion

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Rabbi Jonah Pesner

About Rabbi Jonah Pesner

Rabbi Jonah Pesner represents the Reform Movement to Congress and the Administration as the Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. He also serves as the Senior Vice President of the URJ.

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