Archive by Author
refugee boy in boat

Reform Movement Urges Even Greater US Response to Global Refugee Crisis

In response to Secretary of State John Kerry’s announcement that the U.S. would increase the number of refugees admitted to 85,000 in 2016 and 100,000 in 2017, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

We welcome Secretary Kerry’s announcement that the U.S. will increase the number of refugees in the coming two years, even as we recognize that the new admission numbers remain insufficient considering the scope of the crisis at hand.

During these Days of Awe, we are acutely aware that our actions are being judged by God. Yet we are also being judged by the millions of refugees seeking a haven, by our fellow nations, and by history. The world is facing the greatest refugee crisis since World War II when it was in many cases our own grandparents and great grandparents who were searching for nations to welcome them in their time of need. Though the circumstances then and now differ in many ways, the struggle to survive and provide a better life for one’s children is universal and it is incumbent upon each of us to do our part to address it. The nations of Europe and the international community broadly must respond with greater speed, compassion and efficacy to this crisis, and so must we.

We call on Congress to work with President Obama to fully implement the increased number of refugees to be admitted over the next two years – even as we urge the President and Congress to welcome even more refugees into our nation and fulfill its tradition as a beacon of hope and refuge to those in need.

Julian Bond

Honoring the Life of Julian Bond

On Saturday night, legendary civil rights leader Julian Bond passed away at the age of 75. Mr. Bond spent his life fighting for social justice—he was a founding member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center and a longtime chairman of the NAACP. His loss is felt deeply by advocates, activists, national leaders and all those whose lives have been shaped – whether they know it or not – by his pursuit of justice. Read more…

new legislative assistants, Rachel, Jordan, Liya, Melanie, Claire, Jonathan

The 2014-15 LAs Say Goodbye

The legislative assistant offices at the RAC have a strange feel to them today—all of the zany pictures and decorations adorning our desks have been removed, the usual desktop clutter has vanished and there is a strong scent of cleaning solution flowing through the air. After 50 weeks at the RAC, it’s our last day, and an opportunity for us to reflect on what we’ve accomplished and what we’ve witnessed during our time here. Read more…

Man holding Torah at dawn

Beyond Cheesecake: Social Justice on Shavuot

Over Memorial Day Weekend, Americans will be honoring the lives of those lost in service to their country. This weekend is also known as the celebration of the symbolic beginning of summer (often with barbecues and white pants, sometimes a dangerous combination). And, coinciding with Memorial Day Weekend this year is the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, the Festival of Weeks, when we celebrate the giving of the Torah at Sinai (and cheesecake). Read more…

Protest in Tel Aviv

Unrest in the Israeli Ethiopian Community

Over the last week, thousands of protesters took to the streets of Tel Aviv to protest discrimination and unequal treatment by law enforcement against the Ethiopian minority in Israel. Read more…

RAC staff and supporters marching in Baltimore

Healing and Progress in Baltimore

A tragedy in the city of Baltimore and the protests and riots that followed have once again refocused national attention on race, class, and unequal treatment under the law. Even as Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced last Friday that charges would be brought against the police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray, RAC staff were en route to nearby Baltimore to stand with our partners in a peaceful protest calling for accountability and reform in law enforcement.

Read more…

Chinese dragon for New Years

Moments of Shared Celebration

Today is Rosh Chodesh Adar (chodesh tov!) and Chinese New Year (xin nian kuai le!). We should never lose sight of our responsibilities to and our place in the global community, but when these celebratory days coincide, we are reminded even more of how important it is to find opportunities for dialogue and connection. Two RAC staffers reflect on Chinese-Jewish relations, and how meaningful this relationship is. Read more…