50 Faces of Justice
2027 Massachusetts Ave NW at Kivie Kaplan Way, the building that the RAC has called home for over 50 years, has seen a lot in its day. Our Sillins Library was the site of the drafting of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the room in which the March for Soviet Jewry and the March for Women’s Lives were planned, the room in which Rabbi Saperstein met with George Clooney, John Prendergast and many other human rights leaders before they protested Omar al-Bashir at the Sudanese Embassy. The Dalai Lama even joined us for a Passover seder nearly 15 years ago. The work that the RAC staff does each day is informed and inspired by what came before us in this building, in the Nation’s capitol, and throughout the Reform Movement.
The key events that have lead to our many victories over the past 50 years have been the direct result of our amazing rabbis and cantors, lay-leaders, youth activists and Eisendrath Legislative Assistants. Over the next few months, we will be featuring some of these faces of justice who have lived the mission of the Religious Action Center and done more than their fair share to repair our world.
Continue to check back on Friday afternoons to read about each of our 50 Faces of Justice!
Born to parents who met while working in the landlocked African country of Lesotho, Rabbi Esther Lederman grew up in a household where nuclear disarmament rallies and Shabbat dinners discussing politics and world problems were just another part of family bonding. “I understood (social justice) was Jewish, but [we] didn’t talk about it in a Jewish way,” she says.
The RAC has a lot to thank former Legislative Assistant Daniel Kaufman for. It was Daniel, after all, who introduced his mother, Jennifer Kaufman, to the Religious Action Center —and now she is helping to set the foundation for the Reform Movement’s pursuit of justice as Chair of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, the RAC’s governing body. But more than that, the RAC is also grateful that Daniel Kaufman, along with some of his closest friends, is transforming the way 20s and 30s view philanthropy – something that he says will have a “huge impact on the Jewish community.”
Mark S. Anshan has spent his entire life in the Reform Movement. Born into a Reform congregation, he became engaged with his synagogue from a very young age. He spent his summers at URJ camps, including URJ Camp Eisner and Kutz Camp, and in 1970 became the first president of NFTY to hail from Canada. You heard that right: Mark Anshan is a Canadian Reform Jew steeped in the Movement’s traditions and customs.
Molly Goldberg is the sort of young person that Reform Jewish professionals dream about. Dedicated to Reform Judaism from her very first involvement, she has grown her participation not just by holding leadership roles but by using her influence to bring change and vision to the Movement’s youth efforts.
Doug Mishkin doesn’t regret many things in his life, but one of the things he does regret is that he never worked at the Religious Action Center. “I chalk that up to missed opportunity,” he says.