Congratulations, Anat!

On behalf of the North American Reform Jewish Movement and all people who appreciate equality in Israel, we offer our sincere and hearty congratulations to Anat Hoffman on her 10th anniversary with the Israel Religious Action Center. It is a true milestone for this committed Israeli activist.

Anat has long been a partner of the Reform Movement in North America, and it has been our unique pleasure to work closely with her on matters affecting progressive Jews in Israel and beyond. A fierce and inspiring Jewish leader, Anat has touched the lives of so many people in Israel and around the world.

It is Anat’s fiery passion for the issues on which IRAC works that propels her forward in the face of adversity and challenge. When she takes up a cause – be it fighting against segregation in the public sphere or addressing racist incitement by state rabbis – she dedicates her entire self to seeing it through. From the beginning of Anat’s career, she knew that women’s voices in Israel would stay on the margins if she did not make her own heard. It is no wonder, then, that today, Israeli women ranging from secular to Orthodox look to Anat with thanks and pride as she stands up to the tide of religious extremism that is trying to literally keep them on the back of the bus.

As an Israeli who understands and relates naturally to Diaspora Judaism, Anat also acts as an ambassador for Progressive Judaism, rallying supporters wherever she goes. In this capacity, she has traveled millions of miles to visit Jewish communities as far-flung as Sydney, London, Houston, Cape Town, and nearly every other corner of the world imaginable. Thanks to her dedication and perseverance, countless Jews outside of Israel have become active and engaged supporters of the vital work being done by IRAC.

Though Anat has seen important successes in the courts and in the Knesset, she has never been one to rest on her laurels. As soon as one battle is complete, she immediately begins to prepare for the next challenge, whether fighting a bill that would redefine “who is a Jew” or seeking to grant every Israeli the right to marry who they love without coercion from the Rabbinate. Who could have imagined that flooding the segregated bus lines with freedom riders would have yielded such astounding results? Anat remains focused on the end goal, never hesitating to think outside the box; her creativity and commitment make her one of the most notable – and most successful – activists of our time.

We and the entire North American Reform Movement thank Anat for her enormous dedication to our joint cause of establishing equality and religious freedom for the Jewish State. Her 10 years at IRAC have been marked by enormous struggles and immeasurable successes – and we are confident that in the years to come, she will persist in fighting the good fight for social justice. We look forward to continuing to act as partners and friends of Anat and the IRAC, bringing Israeli and Diaspora Jewry together to achieve justice and equality for all Jews.

To our dear friend Anat: Congratulations on your 10 years with the Israel Religious Action Center, and thank you for everything you have done and will continue to do. In this important and holy work, may you go from strength to strength.

The above letter appeared today in IRAC’s newsletter, The Pluralist, on behalf of Rabbi Saperstein and Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism.

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Rabbi David Saperstein

About Rabbi David Saperstein

Rabbi David Saperstein for 40 years served as the Director and Counsel of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. He was selected by Newsweek magazine in 2009 as the most influential rabbi in the country and described in a Washington Post profile as the "quintessential religious lobbyist on Capitol Hill.” He is now the Ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom.

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