Update on Iranian Nuclear Negotiations

This past Sunday, July 20th, marked the original deadline set by the P5+1 countries (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, the United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, and France, plus Germany) and Iran to reach an agreement after months of nuclear negotiations in Geneva.  As many people, including politicians, journalists, and faith […]

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Ratifying the Disabilities Treaty: Bringing the Shameful Wall of Exclusion Down

This Saturday, July 26th, will mark the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act being signed in to law by President George H.W. Bush.  President Bush ended his remarks that day by saying: “Let the shameful wall of exclusion finally come tumbling down.”  He was, of course, alluding to another wall that had only […]

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An Update on “Stop the Sirens”

This blog originally appeared at ReformJudaism.org on July 20, 2014. As you know, the conflict in Gaza has intensified. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the Israeli soldiers killed in action, with our brothers and sisters in Israeli, and with all who are in danger. When the conflict began, the Reform Movement […]

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The Moral Imperative of Non-Discrimination



Amidst the suffering and conflict occurring in too many parts of the world, the White House delivered good news and something to celebrate today.  Rabbi David Saperstein and I were privileged to be in the East Room of the White House this morning to watch President Obama sign an Executive Order prohibiting all companies that receive a contract from the federal government from discriminating against LGBT employees and adding gender identity to federal government’s current prohibition of employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. Read more…

Jewish Action for Immigration

Immigration: A Jewish Perspective



Thousands of years ago the Jewish people were expelled from the land of Israel into the Diaspora. They remained there until 1948 when the Jewish people finally achieved the dream of a homeland when the State of Israel was born. The Jewish people have never been strangers to exile or xenophobia. Having had this unique background and history enables Jews to examine the issue of immigration reform through a fresh perspective, which will hopefully add some common sense to the chaos with which this issue has been associated in recent years. The immigrants who come to the U.S. are often exploited for cheap labor while also being robbed of any semblance of human dignity and human rights. In the Bible, Moses flees from Egypt after slaying one of the Egyptians, eventually wedding Zipporah who bears him a son, Gershom. Translated into English, Gershom means the sojourner and the Bible exclaims that Moses named his son thus because “I have been a stranger in a strange land.” Read more…

Double Booked: Inspired by White House summit, Rabbi Sernovitz calls for change



As an attendee, thanks to the RAC, of the White House Summit on Working Families, I was honored to be interviewed by our local Jewish newspaper, the Jewish Voice of South Jersey. The article presents the opportunity we have to influence the powers to be in our individual committees to  think differently about  the way families function today. I hope that by reading this article, you too are inspired to make a difference in your own community. L’Shalom, Rabbi Larry Sernovitz.

This piece originally appeared on July 9, 2014 at Jewish Community Voice of Southern New Jersey.

By Jane Jacova Field

For Temple Emanuel Rabbi Larry Sernovitz, nearly every day is a balancing act between taking care of his congregants’ needs and carving out time with his wife and two young children.

And as hard as that is, he knows that countless American workers with children do not have the same flexibility he has to make it home for family dinners most nights and even to sing the nighttime Shema with five year old Sammy by telephone when work prevents him from being at his son’s bedside.

Outspoken in his support for family-friendly workplace policies, Sernovitz’s participation in the recent White House Summit on Working Families was both inspiring and challenging.

While sobered by the not surprising news that America is dead last among developed nations in terms of familyfriendly policies, he left empowered to work to make the change that needs to happen, he said.

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Reform Jewish Leader Praises Administration’s Plan to Bar LGBT Discrimination in Federal Contracts



In response to reports that the administration will ban discrimination by federal contractors against LGBT workers, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center, issued the following statement:

“We are elated by the reports of the President’s decision today to sign two executive orders, extending workplace protection to LGBT employees of federal contractors and to transgender employees of the federal government. We commend President Obama for these important steps affirming that the government should not fund discrimination through its contracts.  These orders represent a significant step in ensuring equal opportunity in the workplace. They expand the Administration’s consistently robust efforts to protect the fundamental rights of LGBT people (as it has done through key steps such as its support for marriage equality and the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act). According to the Williams Institute, this executive order would protect 14 million more workers whose employers or states do not already uphold non-discrimination policies. Moreover, this order will demonstrate to Congress that workplace protection for LGBT employees is good for individuals and good for business. Read more…

Sexual Violence on College Campuses



College students nationwide are uniting in the fight to prevent and penalize sexual attackers on their campuses.  The Obama Administration has taken a “strong stance” on the issue.  The White House has created a Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.  These and other attempts to combat sexual violence on college campuses are promising, but lack a critical collaboration of university administrators, government officials, student activists and concerned constituents.

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Humanitarian Crisis at the Border



By Leah Citrin

In the last several weeks, considerable press time has been spent covering the humanitarian crisis taking place at the U.S.-Mexico border. A surge in unaccompanied minors from Central America has spurred much discussion and debate about the best way to address the fact that to date, 58,000 undocumented and unaccompanied minors have entered the United States. This number is more than double the 24,500 unaccompanied minors who entered the United States in 2013.

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Senate Filibuster of Hobby Lobby Fix Bill Shows Continuing Disregard for Women’s Health



Following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Hobby Lobby almost three weeks ago, Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Mark Udall (D-CO) and Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY) introduced the “Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act” (S. 2578/H.R. 5051).

This bill was crafted in the aftermath of Hobby Lobby to ensure that all people will continue to access all kinds of medical needs and services whether their employer might have a religious objection or not. Additionally, it maintains the contraception mandate’s accommodation and exemption for religious non-profits and for houses of worship.

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A Gun Violence Prevention Update



Since last writing on gun violence prevention , the United States has seen more tragic reminders of gun violence in America. However, there have been  many positive developments. Here are the biggest stories from the last two weeks: Read more…

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