Archive by Author
Barbara Weinstein

This Week at the RAC: Apply for Nothing but Nets Fellowship; People’s Climate March

As we finish up the last full week of our Jewish year, it’s been typically hopping at the RAC. Our program team of Michael Namath, Shira Zemel, Daniel Landesberg and Ariella Yedwab spent three days at the URJ’s Kutz Camp brainstorming, role-playing and case-studying along with the URJ’s Youth Division Staff, all with an eye to making our many youth-oriented RAC programs (L’Taken, Machon Kaplan, etc.) even better than they already are. Back here in DC, the LAs were zipping around from congressional hearings to mark-ups to meetings to briefings on Israel, voting rights, religious freedom and more.
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Barbara Weinstein

This Week at the RAC: Rabbi Saperstein 40 Year Anniversary, People’s Climate March

Tuesday marked a milestone in RAC history. 40 years ago this week, a young David Saperstein drove from New York to DC to begin work as the RAC’s director. As Eric Yoffie wrote, “Today, Rabbi Saperstein bears the distinct badge of honor of being the longest-serving faith leader representing a national denomination in Washington. And we, the nation and the world, are all the better for those many years of service.” I know you join all of us in wishing David “mazal tov” on this anniversary.
The second floor of the RAC is a bit quiet today. Our program team of Michael Namath, Shira Zemel, Daniel Landesberg and Ariella Yedwab – along with all the LAs – are at a retreat to prepare for our upcoming program season. We’re all looking ahead to the first L’Taken that begins on December 12 – and that is already sold out!

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Barbara Weinstein

This Week at the RAC: Preparing for High Holy Days & Get Out the Vote

The new Legislative Assistants jumped into work this week and are already busy with meetings, research, writing press releases and more. Get to know the class of 2014-2015 before you meet them at the October CSA gathering. I know you’ll enjoy working with them as much as we do.

This morning, the new LAs visited the Israeli Embassy and met with its Director of National Initiatives, a.k.a Katharine Nasielski (RAC LA 2011-2013). The meeting was an excellent opportunity to hear directly from Israel’s representatives in the U.S. about their priorities and interests – and an equally excellent opportunity to show off yet again the fantastic professional successes of former LAs.
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Barbara Weinstein

This Week at the RAC: End of LA Orientation, Labor Day

The news this week that an extended ceasefire was reached between Israel and Hamas is a much welcomed development after more than five weeks of heightened hostilities and the tragic loss of innocent lives. We pray that the ceasefire proves lasting and that future generations will know the reality of a lasting, just and meaningful peace.

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Barbara Weinstein

This Week at the RAC: New LA Class, ROR Victory, Statement on Events in Ferguson

The Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Class of 2014-2015 began work on Tuesday and is deep into the orientation program. This is my favorite time of year, when the new LAs infuse the office with their energy and enthusiasm, but also because it’s an excuse for me to invite former LAs back to the RAC to teach the new class.

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Double Booked: Northern Reflections

In 1987, my parents announced that we were moving from New York to Montreal. I adapted quickly, as kids do, but in truth the cultural gap between the U.S. and Canada wasn’t THAT wide. The radio stations still played Madonna, I watched “The Cosby Show” on NBC broadcasting from Vermont, and I learned to put the “u” in “colour.” I also came to love figure skating, like my Coffee Crisp, and tolerate schools’ obsessive demands that students write in Hilroys (google it).

What I also come to appreciate about my time in Canada was the perspective it gave me on the United States. With distance, I could contrast life in two robust countries, both with strong commitments to democracy, rule of law, rights and liberties, but which have expressed different societal priorities.

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The March for Women’s Lives, One Decade Later

In my 13 years at the RAC, I’ve had more than a few memorable days (and nights) at work. I’ve been to bill signings at the White House, gone to a Mexican border town with the Commission on Social Action to see our national immigration challenges up close, and rocked out to some late night concerts at URJ Biennials.

But when people ask me what my best day has been, the answer is easy: April 25, 2004, the day of the March for Women’s Lives. That was the day I literally carried the banner for the URJ – marching with our delegation of nearly 3,000 women and men, congregants and rabbis, WRJ members and NFTYites, and about 300 L’Taken teen social justice seminar participants the RAC happened to be hosting that weekend. Read more…

State of the Union

State of the Union: What Would You Talk About?

President Obama will deliver his annual State of the Union address on Tuesday, January 28but before that happens, we want to hear from you!  Even amidst Members of Congress jockeying for camera-ready seats and the theatrical cheering at mentions of favored programs, the State of the Union has historically been an important opportunity for Presidents to announce major initiatives that have become part of the fabric of our nation.

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