Tag Archives: International Affairs
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.

Join Reform Jews at the September 24 Climate Mobilization!

On September 25, Pope Francis will speak to the United Nations General Assembly in New York City as the members determine the new Sustainable Development Goals. These goals will guide global leaders in finding a way forward for international development. The Sustainable Development Goals are being finalized this September ahead of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change happening in Paris this December. Both UN gatherings are happening in the wake of global temperature rise, sea level rise, increased droughts and flooding, all due to climate change.

Read more…

Rohingya muslims CNN

Plight of Rohingya Muslims Continues

The persecution and plight of the Rohingya Muslims is nothing new. In fact, the United Nations has identified them as “one of the world’s most persecuted minorities.” The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic minority living in northern Rakhine State in western Burma. For decades, they have faced severe persecution and violence at the hands of the government. Read more…

Mitzvah Fatigue and the Power of Interfaith Climate Action

This past weekend, I attended the Religions for Peace USA Earth-Faith-Peace Teach In with a group of my fellow young faith leaders engaged in climate justice work. The group included participants from a wide array of religious traditions, from Franciscans to Zoroastrians, who flew in to the Teach-In from as far as Bombay and Brazil, as nearby as Boston and Washington, D.C. Together, our group explored sites of environmental degradation and pollution, learned about cap and trade and carbon tax models for mitigating climate change and shared environmental education and advocacy best practices from our communities.

Read more…

Global Gag Rule Protest

Lifting the “Global Gag Rule” Once and For All

Earlier this month, the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced an effort to repeal the “global gag rule,” which blocks all U.S. foreign aid to international family planning agencies that provide abortions or even mention abortion as an option for clients seeking health care. Formally known as the Mexico City Policy, the global gag rule has vast, harmful effects on women around the world who rely on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for these services. Read more…

Our Shared, Sacred Earth: Reflecting on the Papal Encyclical

By Jenn Queen

Combating climate change is a moral imperative. Faith leaders have been calling for better policies and encouraging better personal practices to turn the tide of climate change for years. This week, the Vatican released Pope Francis’ latest encyclical (a papal letter sent to all bishops of the Roman Catholic Church stating the Vatican’s position on a particular issue), which details a strong connection between faith and environmental stewardship.

Read more…

What Is the Pope’s Encyclical and Why Should Jews Care?

Today, the Vatican released Pope Francis’s encyclical titled Laudato Si, which roughly translates to Praised Be. The encyclical details a theology of “integrated ecology” – connecting care for the poor with environmental stewardship – leading many to call this an eco-encyclical, and Pope Francis the Green Pope. The document details specifically the human causes of climate change and our sacred obligation to care for our earth and combat climate disruption.

Read more…

Reaffirming the Value of All Lives on World Refugee Day

This Saturday, June 20, is World Refugee Day. According to the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention, a refugee is someone who fled his or her home and country due to “a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” Many refugees are also in exile to escape the effects of natural or human-made disasters. Read more…