Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner speaking at the Consultation on Conscience

At the Consultation: Sunday Programming Begins; A Celebration of Rabbi Saperstein’s RAC Tenure

Today, at the opening day of the Consultation on Conscience, we opened our programming with a short plenary followed by two rich and engaging workshop blocks. Participants had the opportunity to learn about the importance of national paid sick days legislation from Vicki Shabo of the National Partnership for Women and Families; to learn about […]

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Bella and Congressman McDermott

Fighting Malaria on My College Campus

By Isabella Merritt As I sat in Congressmen Jim McDermott’s office waiting to meet him, I was extremely nervous. I was about to have a meeting with someone who had served my district for 26 years to ask if he would speak to students at American University about the importance of fighting malaria. This was […]

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This Shabbat: Join Congregations Nationwide for a National Weekend of Prayer

Next Tuesday, April 28, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on four combined cases relating to marriage equality. The joint suit is known by one of the cases, Obergefell v. Hodges, and could establish the freedom to marry in all fifty states. As oral arguments approach, the RAC has joined other faith organizations in co-sponsoring a […]

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Building an Inclusive Movement to Advance a Sustainable Planet

We are all impacted by climate change and environmental injustice. Over half of us live in counties in violation of air pollution standards, storms like Katrina, Irene, and Sandy don’t discriminate in the devastation they unleash, and communities across the coastlines of this country are facing imminent displacement due to sea level rise, which is overtaking land and resulting in increased risk of storm surge.

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Rabbi Rebekah Stern

From Heartbreak to Action: Racial Inequality in California

by Rabbi Rebekah Stern

I lay in bed one night late last summer, scrolling, as I often do, through my Facebook newsfeed on my phone. As a congregational rabbi and a mother of two young children—a now almost five-year old girl and two-year old boy—these last moments before I fall asleep are the only ones I seem to have to catch up on the lives of my more distant friends.

These were the first painful weeks after Michael Brown’s death. The weeks when we were reminded that there is sometimes a shocking discrepancy between the way that my white family experiences interaction with law enforcement and the way that black families often do.

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At the Consultation: Fighting Climate Change with the Green Climate Fund

Starting on Sunday, April 26, Religious Action Center staff will be welcoming over 400 rabbis, cantors, and lay leaders to Washington D.C. to participate in our Consultation on Conscience. Over the course of the weekend, participants will have the chance to hear from amazing speakers, attend workshops and lobby their elected representatives on Capitol Hill.

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Ferguson clergy protest

At the Consultation: Black-Jewish Relations Past, Present and Future

At the RAC’s Consultation on Conscience April 26-28, 2015, we are thrilled to have Rabbi Susan Talve of Central Reform Congregation in St. Louis, Missouri and Aaron Jenkins of Operation Understanding DC lead a workshop on how congregations can engage in the important civil rights work of our time. Rabbi Talve will speak about her activism in the St. Louis and Ferguson area in the time since Michael Brown’s death, and the role of congregations and faith leaders in leading this work. Mr. Jenkins will talk about his work as Executive Director of Operation Understanding DC and the importance of dialogue, especially between the black and Jewish communities. Read more…

At the Consultation: Opportunities to Take Action against Gun Violence

When the Senate failed to pass bipartisan legislation that would have expanded background checks to almost all gun sales in April 2013, many in the gun violence prevention community were disappointed that this important reform was not achieved. This loss was especially more painful as the call for this legislation came in the wake of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. This legislative loss did not change the need for strong laws that prevent gun violence, and the strategy to fight for safer communities was adapted for new arenas. Read more…

At Consultation: Spotlight on Disability Inclusion and Advocacy

On April 26, 2015, hundreds of Reform Jews will gather for the Consultation on Conscience, the Reform Movement’s flagship social justice conference.  That Sunday, participants will have the opportunity to hear from Ari Ne’eman, president and co-founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, an advocacy organization run by and for Autistic adults seeking to increase the representation of Autistic people across society; Liz Leibowitz, Legislative Associate at the Jewish Federations of North America; and Edie Mencher, Coordinator of the URJ-Ruderman Family Foundation Partnership for Inclusion of People with Disabilities. In the workshop “Ramping Buildings and Ramping Attitudes: Disability Inclusion and Advocacy,” the speakers will discuss best practices for including people with disabilities in Jewish communities and how to complement your inclusion efforts with disability rights advocacy.

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At the Consultation: Hear From Former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick

On April 26-28, hundreds of Reform Jews will gather in Washington, D.C. for the RAC’s Consultation on Conscience, the Reform Movement’s flagship social justice event. This year’s Consultation will feature Former Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick, among many other luminaries. Tune in to the live stream of Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner’s installation as Director of the RAC at 10:15 a.m on Monday morning to hear Gov. Patrick’s remarks.

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Should Concealed Carry Permits Be Like Driver’s Licenses?

In April 2013, the Senate famously rejected an amendment to the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013 to expand background checks to most gun sales (often known as the Manchin-Toomey amendment), in large part due to concerns about a “national gun registry” and infringement on states’ laws. States’ rights remain a central feature of the conversation about gun violence, and have been raised again with the introduction of a new law. Read more…