The Jewish people have long been active in lifting up the voices of minorities and fighting for their rights and protection. Whether in the 1960s when Reform Jews supported and participated in the Civil Rights Movement or as recently as last month when the president and chief executive of the CCAR issued a statement denouncing […]Read more
As we approach Rosh Hashanah, the start of the Jewish New Year, we will think about how we have changed from one year to the next: how we have grown, and we can do differently in the year to come. This evaluative work is also done by the federal government through the United States Census […]Read more
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” These fifteen words shape our nation’s “First Freedoms,” enshrined in the Constitution’s Bill of Rights as the separation of church and state (the Establishment Clause) and religious freedom (the Free Exercise Clause). 227 years ago today, when the Constitution […]Read more
The URJ recently renewed its partnership with GreenFaith, an independent, interfaith organization that helps houses of worship become better stewards of the environment. As part of the renewed partnership, we are looking for 20 URJ congregations to enroll (free of charge!) in either GreenFaith’s Certification or Shield Programs.
What is the GreenFaith Certification Program? Read more…
As we approach the end of the 113th Congress, in which fewer bills have been passed than any previous congress, the lack of progress on crucial social justice issues can be disheartening. Fortunately, at least in the realm of criminal justice, there is still opportunity for positive change. Despite concerns that criminal justice reform was stalled, recent publications may give the topic the push it needs. Read more…
The People’s Climate March on September 21 in New York City is fast approaching. If you can be in New York that weekend you should come and march with Reform Movement congregations! The March is set to be one of the biggest climate rallies ever organized, making September 21 a day for the history books and a definitive step in the right direction for action on the environment. Read more…
More than a year after Wendy Davis took to the floor of the Texas State Senate for her famous filibuster in defense of abortion rights, the debate in Texas over a woman’s right to access abortion care is still not settled. On Friday, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments over whether to uphold a district court ruling to strike down a provision of the infamous Texas bill that would require all clinics to become licensed as surgical centers or to close their doors to women seeking care. Representing a federal district court in Austin, Judge Lee Yeakel, who sought to strike down another of the bill’s provisions last fall, ruled the restrictions pose an undue, and thus, an unconstitutional burden on a woman’s right to choose. Read more…
On Thursday, the Senate passed the first of two procedural measures to advance the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 2199), which would deter pay discrimination by closing loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and barring retaliation against workers who disclose their wages. Rachel Laser, Deputy Director of the Religious Action Center, and Rabbi Marla J. Feldman, Executive Director of Women of Reform Judaism, released the following statement:
We are pleased by today’s Senate vote to proceed on the Paycheck Fairness Act (S. 2199). This vote marks a significant step toward addressing the longstanding obstacles to women’s economic security, and broader equality and participation in our society. The persistent lack of pay equity is offensive to all who believe in our nation’s commitment to the fundamental equality of women and men as well as equality of opportunity for all. This inequity is also offensive to us as Reform Jews and as moral people who believe in the dignity of work and fair compensation (Leviticus 19:13). We look forward to the bill’s final passage in both the Senate and House, and the day when all workers are paid justly for their work.
This is the farthest the Paycheck Fairness Act has ever moved in the Senate. Contact your Senators before today’s second procedural vote to encourage their support for the bill.
After decades of fighting for the rights of same-sex couples to marry, supporters of marriage equality experienced an amazing summer, full of numerous victories in courts throughout the country.
Since the beginning of June 2014, the one year anniversary of United States v. Windsor, courts ruled or upheld rulings that same-sex couples have a right to marry and that marriages performed in other states must be recognized in the following states: Colorado (state and federal courts), Florida (federal court), Indiana (federal & Seventh Circuit courts), Oklahoma (Tenth Circuit Court), Utah (Tenth Circuit), and Wisconsin (federal & Seventh Circuit courts). In a separate court case than the one mentioned above before the federal and Seventh Circuit, a federal court also ruled that marriages performed in other states must be recognized in Indiana.
In the midst of the month of Elul, a period of reflection, repentance and forgiveness, it is important for us to not only reflect on our shortcomings as individuals in the past year but also on our shortcomings as a community. Too often our communities, whether religious or secular, fail to create truly inclusive environments for all individuals, including people with disabilities. As we approach the year 5775, which will mark the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we must reflect on our efforts to include people with disabilities and make a commitment to make 5775 a year of active inclusivity. Ultimately, as individuals, as communities and as global citizens, we have the power to create a more just and equitable world for people with disabilities.
One of the coolest parts so far about working as a legislative assistant at the RAC is the opportunity to learn about such a wide array of political issues. Coming into the job, I knew almost every bill going through Congress that dealt with U.S.-Israel relations, but aside from that I never had the time or the resources to learn the legislative landscape for issues like reproductive rights or health care or climate change. I was always passionate about those issues and I knew what I wanted out of government policy for them, but I lacked a real sense of how our government was trying to make (or not to make) those policies a reality.