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This Week at the RAC: Urban Mitzvah Corps Visits & Progress on ENDA!



I hope you’re enjoying the summer and if you’re in the range of the heat wave gripping so many areas, you’re managing to stay cool.

As I mentioned in last week’s email, David Saperstein joined Rabbis Rick Jacobs and Julie Schonfeld, of the Conservative Movement’s Rabbinical Assembly, for a meeting with Jonathan Pollard. You can read their joint press statement here and see a story about their meeting in the Forward.

On the legislative front, we’re deep into efforts to make sure the Senate (and then the House!) passes the Employment Non Discrimination Act this year. After the bill was voted out of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee last week, Rachel Laser penned this piece that was published by the Washington Post’s On Faith section.

In other legislative news, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on Wednesday about the future of the Voting Rights Act. Our summer rabbinic Legislative Assistant Benj Fried wrote this blog about the hearing, which he attended, and which featured testimony from civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis.

On Friday we say goodbye to our two summer Machon Kaplan interns, Lizzie Stein and Sam Stone. They’ve been a terrific part of the staff for the past six weeks, helping with research, programs and writing great pieces for the RAC blog. (As sad as we are to see them go, we enjoyed having an excuse for a Krispy Kreme farewell party.) They and the other Machon Kaplan interns spent Friday on the Hill lobbying their members of Congress. It was a meaningful capstone to the program, which wrapped up after Saturday night’s celebratory dinner and visit to the Capitol Steps comedy troupe.

This weekend participants from NFTY’s Urban Mitzvah Corps came to the RAC for some social justice programming. Our program team of Michael Namath, Allison Porton, Laura Gorsky, Tanya Nathan, and the LAs put together a great weekend, with sessions focused on poverty, civil rights, gun violence, and the environment, among others. Plus, we had a Havdalah picnic dinner and tour of the national monuments. Not a bad weekend in D.C.!

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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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