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Leibel Fein

Leonard “Leibel” Fein: Judaism’s Liberal Lion

We have lost a giant: Leonard “Leibel” Fein, patriarch of American Jewish liberalism, RAC Senior Adviser, and former director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, has died at 80. Our grief can no more be summed up than in the endless tributes to Leibel’s gifts and leadership of Jewish causes. Read more…

Reform Movement Responses to Presbyterian Divestment Vote

Presbyterian Church (USA)Late last week, the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to divest from three companies doing business in Israel. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, had addressed the church’s general assembly earlier in the week, imploring Presbyterians to choose engagement with Jewish partners on Israel-Palestine peace issues.

Update: Listen to a conference call about the PC(USA) divestment vote


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Drifting from Israel, per Rabbi Eric Yoffie

Rabbi Eric Yoffie’s most recent piece in Ha’aretz, the Israeli daily, makes the case that young U.S. Jews are not all that enamored with the Jewish state, and goes on to explain why. Read more…

Reform Judaism Presents…

Training and building awareness are core parts of the RAC’s mission on behalf of the Reform Movement. Coupling engagement in communities from across the Movement with moral advocacy in Washington, D.C. is the recipe for demonstrated legislative and public policy successes; and our programs and learning opportunities that are part of Movement-wide initiatives to catalyze congregational change and expand our reach. We have several different opportunities that touch on a broad array of topics, but here we’ve collected several of them in one place for easy reference.

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Is there only one set of religious values?

For a long time the common refrain has been that “religious values” meant “conservative or traditional.” With the decline of the so-called Religious Right the monopoly on terms like “Values Voters” or descriptions that equate religion with only one set of beliefs and values about some contentious issues in civil society. So, when I saw this video from the Center for American Progress, I wondered if there’s a rising set of religious leaders who are asserting their values in the public sphere. Take a look after the jump.

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Consultation on Conscience

Consultation on Conscience – Register Today!

The Consultation on Conscience, April 21-23, 2013, is Reform Judaism’s flagship social justice conference, where we work together to help advance Jewish values and enlightened and progressive social policies. As always, we bring together Jewish and public policy decision makers for three days of social action and legislative advocacy sessions.

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Anti-Torture Meeting at White House

The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) organized and led a delegation of 22 religious leaders and NRCAT staff in a meeting November 27, 2012, with White House staff, at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building to discuss the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT). NRCAT is encouraging President Obama to sign the protocol, which has already been ratified by 64 nations and signed by an additional 22. Torture inflicts more physical and psychological harm than other interrogation techniques which are, in fact, more effective means of obtaining crucial national security intelligence and therefore cannot be condoned by Jewish law.

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5 Rules for Faith and Politics: USA Today

Rabbi David Saperstein and his colleague Rev. Oliver “Buzz” Thomas have published an op-ed in today’s issue of USA Today. To summarize, Rabbi Saperstein and Rev. Thomas basically lay out five simple rules for the interplay between religion and politics in 2012, laying out a concise guide for candidates and voters alike!

They essentially argue that there should be no religious test for office or use of religiously based coercion: “Denying communion to candidates for their political views during a campaign” would cross the line.
They go on to urge that positions on public policy matters should not rely exclusively on religious teachings: “If a candidate claims that his or her sole source of justification for a policy is God, how can that assertion be tested and debated?”
You should take a moment to read and consider the entire op-ed. There’s a healthy discussion in the comments over at USA Today’s website too.