Tag Archives: Civil Rights
2015-2016 LAs

Introducing the 2015-2016 Eisendrath Legislative Assistants!

It’s that time of year! The newest class of Eisendrath Legislative Assistants arrived at the RAC two weeks ago, and jumped right into the Washington, D.C. world of politics, advocacy and social justice. We are so looking forward to what they will do and accomplish for tikkun olam this year. Clockwise from the top left: Read more…

rally in Raleigh

Sound the Shofar


By Rabbi Fred Guttman

Adapted from a speech given on September 3, 2015 at a rally for voting rights in Raleigh, NC.

At this time of the year, Jewish people throughout the world hear the sounds of the rams horn or what we call the shofar.   In ancient times, the shofar was used to announce the coming of the Sabbath and the beginning of a new lunar month.  It was also used by guards on city walls to announce that the city was under attack. Read more…

Rabbi Paul Kipnes and Rachel with Torah, Arms around each other

The Call to Californians: Act to End Racial Injustice

By Rabbi Paul Kipnes

When the call came to drop everything and fly cross-country to highlight the racial injustice that still exists in America, nearly 200 Reform rabbis answered.  We put personal and work lives on hold to retrace the steps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from Selma to Montgomery and beyond. Read more…

Rabbi Limmer carrying Torah on Journey with Cornell Brooks

Why We’re Marching: America’s Journey for Justice

When the NAACP’s America’s Journey for Justice began in Selma, AL, on August 1, the Reform Movement was there as a partner and ally.

This historic 860-mile march in which nearly 200 Reform rabbis and activists are participating, will culminate in Washington, D.C. on September 16. Throughout, the marchers are demonstrating to our nation’s leaders that Americans from a diverse array of faiths and backgrounds share a commitment to racial justice, and that it is past time for passage of legislation that will help bring the United States closer to its founding ideals of equality for all. Read more…

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…

Rabbi Beth Singer marching with the Torah

We March in the Footsteps of the Great Figures of Our Tradition

Our Jewish tradition is full of journeys, from the very beginning of our sacred texts. Adam and Eve’s exile from the Garden of Eden; Noah’s Ark and his aquatic sojourn – while these are not explicit commandments from God, they are journeys for these Biblical figures. Later, in parashat Lech Lecha (literally, “go” or “leave”), God commands Abraham “go from your land … to the land that I will show you” (Genesis 17:27). Later on, we read of Moses’ journey from Egypt to Midian, back to Egypt, and then his leadership of the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt and the subsequent wandering in the desert for forty years before entering the Promised Land. Ruth leaves Moab with Naomi to a new land, Israel, where she is a stranger, and finds a new life. Over the course of millennia, Jewish individuals and the Jewish people have journeyed, whether by choice, whether by command from God, whether by necessity due to forced exile, anti-Semitism or more modern crises, such as the pogroms.

Journeys, both literal and figurative, are familiar to us as Jews. Journeys are not easy, and the miles walked and the distances covered illustrate for us the challenges and struggles of the time.

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…

Moving Forward: Sh’nat Ha-Evel for Michael Brown, and 50 Years after the VRA

This weekend marks one year since Michael Brown was shot and killed in the street by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MO. As we take this moment to reflect on the past year, I am reminded of the Jewish tradition’s unique way of coping with death, to help mourners gradually reenter into normal life after the death of a loved one. Read more…