This Week at the RAC: Meet S’more Interns, Immigration Reform & “Stump the LAs!”



The thirty Machon Kaplan participants have arrived and it’s officially summer at the RAC. Thanks to the infusion of energy from our MK interns, Lizzie Stein and Sam Stone, along with summer rabbinic interns Benj Fried and Stephen Morris, the office is even buzz-ier than usual. Thursday night was our annual “Meet S’more Interns” event (yup – we were making smores in the RAC lobby), welcoming Jewish interns throughout the city to the RAC for some informal schmoozing – and a chance to be swabbed into the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Registry.

We’ve been incorporating our summer staff into much of our usual work and they’ve been getting a taste of the range of issues we cover. They were down on the National Mall at the beginning of the week to see the One Million Bones installation (including the bones we made with organizer Naomi Natale during the Consultation on Conscience). There was good coverage in the Washington Post and elsewhere. They also joined the rest of the RAC staff for a Tuesday afternoon discussion with our Senior Advisor for Interreligious Affairs, Rabbi David Sandmel, who shared some of his expertise in Jewish-Christian relations. And yesterday, they were part of a commemoration of the anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT.  Today marks six months since the tragedy, yet Congress has yet to pass any gun violence prevention legislation. Take a moment to email your members of Congress if you haven’t done so recently.

It’s been a busy legislative week as well. The immigration reform bill has finally hit the Senate floor and our advocacy is in full swing. Rachel Laser and Sarah Krinsky joined Just Congregations’ Lila Foldes and Joy Friedman, as well as a group of other Jewish and Christian faith and lay leaders for a Monday meeting with Senator Rubio (R-FL). Sen. Rubio has been a leading force on this issue and we urged him to continue to support the bill that he authored as it is debated on the Senate floor. If you haven’t yet weighed in with your senators about the importance of passing common sense immigration reform, make sure to send them an email with our action alert.

I met on Thursday with House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and representatives from other faith groups that support the Affordable Care Act. Now that the law’s provisions are taking effect, urging states to participate in the Medicaid expansion is essential. If you want to see how your state would be affected, check out this chart from the Pew Charitable Trusts.

In case you missed it, Google announced this week that it is buying an Israeli creation called Waze, which is a huge hit with Israeli drivers navigating that country’s notoriously bad roads. The deal is reportedly worth more than $1 billion. If you’re curious about what Waze is and does, and why in a country with 2.5 million cars there are 1.7 million Waze users, check out this Washington Post story.

LAs - TornadoAnd finally, giving new meaning to the phrase “stump the LAs,” enjoy this photo (at right) from yesterday afternoon when a big storm brought down the tree on the sidewalk in front of the RAC. Luckily, it fell onto our lawn and no one was hurt. Clearly, the tree was guided by its arbor for social justice.

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Barbara Weinstein

About Barbara Weinstein

Barb is the Legislative Director at the Religious Action Center. She is also the Associate Director of the Commission on Social Action.

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