On April 26-28, hundreds of Reform Jews will gather in Washington, D.C. for the RAC’s Consultation on Conscience, the Reform Movement’s flagship social justice event. This year’s Consultation will feature Former Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick, among many other luminaries. Tune in to the live stream of Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner’s installation as Director of the RAC at 10:15 a.m on Monday morning to hear Gov. Patrick’s remarks.
On April 26-28, hundreds of Reform Jews will gather in Washington, D.C. for the RAC’s Consultation on Conscience, the Reform Movement’s flagship social justice event. This year’s Consultation will highlight issues of economic justice, including such issues as paid sick days, raising the minimum wage, and ending poverty.
We’re excited to welcome our Consultation on Conscience participants to Washington, D.C. in just over a week! In addition to briefings with public policy decision makers and the Reform Movement’s own social action leaders, we’ll head to Capitol Hill for a lobby day, meeting with Senators and Representatives to lift up our Reform Jewish voices on key policy issues. Read more…
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…
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.
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.
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was signed into law 22 years ago to allow workers to take a maximum 12 weeks unpaid time off of work to care for a new child (including adopted and foster children); care for a sick child; act as a caregiver for a parent; address personal serious health concerns; and care for wounded service members. After the decision in United States v. Windsor, in which the part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defining marriage as between a man and a woman for federal purposes was struck down, the Department of Labor announced that FMLA would apply to eligible employees in same-sex marriages if the employee resided in a state that recognized their marriage. Rachel Laser, Deputy Director of the Religious Action Center, submitted comments last August to the Department of Labor in support of this change when it was proposed.
On April 14, we celebrate Equal Pay Day, the symbolic day in the new year until which women would have to work to earn what their male counterparts earned in the previous year. In the United States today, women on average earn 78 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make. Women of color face an even greater disparity, with African American and Latina women earning an average of 64 and 54 cents on the dollar, respectively. The gender wage gap persists at all levels of education, within occupations and across industries. The pervasiveness of this disparity indicates that deeply embedded pay discrimination, rather than women’s occupational decisions, is responsible for the injustice of pay inequity. Read more…