Israeli flag

At the Consultation: Supporting a Secure, Peaceful Israel



The past few months have been eventful for Israelis and those who care about Israel, in more ways than one. At Consultation on Conscience (April 26-28), there will be an opportunity to discuss current issues in Israel on Monday evening at 7:15 PM. The event will feature Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, Dr. Natan Sachs, a fellow at the Brookings Institution and Rabbi Noa Sattath, Director of the Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC). Earlier in the day, we’ll also have the opportunity to hear from Wendy Sherman, Under Secretary of State Foreign Affairs and the chief United States negotiator for the Iran nuclear negotiations. Tune in for the livestream at youtube.com/racrj. Read more…

Image Courtesy of Hispanically Speaking News (HSN)

Extend Funding for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program



For over a decade, the RAC has been a strong supporter of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) which provides health insurance coverage to children. Last month, the House passed a bipartisan bill, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), which includes an extension of funding for CHIP, as well as a fix to the flawed Medicare physician payment formula. The Senate is likely to vote on the bill this week.

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Equal Work Deserves Equal Pay

On Equal Pay Day, the March for Women’s Equality Continues On



This post originally appeared on WRJ Blog.

Today, on Equal Pay Day, we mark how far into this year women would have to work to earn what men did last year.

The road to equal pay has been long. Within the Reform Movement, as in secular society, this fight began with the fight for equal participation. In the years following the foundational Pittsburgh Platform of 1885, this struggle for equal participation centered on women’s role in synagogue life. Women sought, and slowly won, the right to serve on their synagogue’s board of trustees, seeking to bring their dedication and leadership within the synagogue community onto its governing body. On a national level, the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods, now Women of Reform Judaism, fought for representation on the Board of Trustees of the Union for American Hebrew Congregations. Read more…

Marriage Equality and the RAC

Banning Conversion Therapy is an Important Step Forward



At the end of last year, Leelah Alcorn, a trans teen from Ohio, committed suicide. In her suicide note, she cited her parents’ rejection of her gender identity, their refusal to let her transition and her feelings that things will not get better as some of the reasons for her decision. The final words in Leelah’s goodbye post were “Fix society. Please.” and people listened. A petition on We The People asking the administration to “enact Leelah’s Law to ban all LGBTQ+  conversion therapy” gained over 120,000 signatures and the administration and President Obama responded last Wednesday in opposition to conversion therapy.

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dad comforting sick kid in bed

At Consultation: Economic Justice Means Paid Sick Days



At the Consultation on Conscience on April 26-28, 2015, you will have the opportunity to learn about and take action on paid sick days by asking your members of Congress to support the Healthy Families Act (S. 497/H.R. 932).

Over 40 million Americans do not currently have access to paid sick days, and we need to pass the Healthy Families Act to ensure that more people do not have to make the difficult choice between going to work and caring for a sick loved one, or for themselves.

This legislation would allow workers in businesses with at least 15 employees to earn up to seven days of job-protected paid sick leave each year. Workers would earn one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. People working in a business with fewer than 15 employees would be able to earn up to seven job-protected days of unpaid sick leave annually.

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yom hashoah candle

A Light that Will Never Go Out: Am Yisrael Chai



This week, we mark Yom HaShoah (April 15-16) — Holocaust Remembrance Day — a day when Jewish communities gather together to commemorate the day through worship, music and stories from survivors and lighting yellow candles as symbol of the living memories of the victims. Yom HaShoah is a time to remember and reflect. It is also a time to also recommitment ourselves to fighting bigotry and anti-Semitism. And, for me, Yom HaShoah is a time to think about the notion of Jewish peoplehood. Read more…

A Vote for ARZA is a Vote for Progressive Zionism: Why We’re on the ARZA Slate



By Shira and friend of the RAC, Ronit Zemel, incoming Assistant Director of Harlam Day Camp

In the front hallway of our home growing up was a picture of our great grandfather, Rabbi Solomon Goldman, standing next to Chaim Weizmann at one of the gatherings of the World Zionist Congress in the late 1930s. This picture is a hallmark of our upbringing as liberal Zionist Jews. We heard lore of our grandmother’s grade school education at the Riali school in Haifa. Our dad told us stories of his first time in Israel as a thirteen year old, peering out into the still forbidden Old City from a lookout tower in Jerusalem. Then we had the opportunity to see Israel for ourselves; to see the vibrant Jewish life in cafes and the shuk, on buses and in kibbutz fields. Israel is a part of the fabric of our family. Read more…

A family enjoys a meal around a table. The US Department of Agriculture has just released a report demonstrating that SNAP (formerly food stamps) can play a major role in fighting poverty, especially among children.

SNAP to It: Time to End Food Insecurity



Now that it is Passover, boxes of matzah are abundant in the RAC office. Jews around the world are eating matzah instead of leavened bread to remember how the Jewish were slaves in the land of Egypt. Although matzah may not be the most delicious food, we are lucky to be able to eat something of substance at all.

Under the current budget debates, there is risk that many of the food programs that we care about so deeply will have their funding slashed. The House budget also has major impacts on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides nourishment for those living in poverty. The House plans to turn SNAP into a block grant block-grant and cut SNAP funds by $125 billion, or over one third, from 2021 to 2025. Further, “block-granting” SNAP would force states to make deep cuts to food assistance programs, and the benefit cuts would especially impact low-income workers, families with children, seniors, and people with disabilities.

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