Building on WRJ’s Legacy of Supporting Women’s Legislation



I recently had the opportunity to represent WRJ at two events dealing with social action issues. Living in the greater DC area, both of these meetings were easily accessible in downtown Washington, and I welcomed the opportunity to be part of an impressive network of people coming together for tikkun olam, the repair of our world.

The first event that I attended was a senate briefing where a panel of national policy experts presented evidence in support of S. 1925, the Violence Against Women (VAWA) Reauthorization Act of 2011. Originally passed in 1994, VAWA has been hugely instrumental in the fight against intimate partner violence.  Even before the passage of the 1994 act, however, WRJ was involved in the grassroots efforts to bring this issue to the national forefront and helped craft the initial VAWA legislation. It was an honor to sit in the audience in the Senate building in January and to be part of WRJ’s continuing effort to help end domestic and partner violence.

In April, I participated in a meeting of the Council of Governors of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC), an organization in which WRJ has long had an active role. The Council of Governors is comprised of representatives from many different faith-based groups, including, among others, the Union of Reform Judaism, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, Jewish Women International, Catholics for Choice, the Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation, and the Episcopal Women’s Caucus. What an empowering experience to sit at the table with people from so many different faiths united under one common cause – reproductive justice. As with the VAWA legislation, WRJ has had an important presence since the beginning; in this case, before even the formation of the coalition that has become today’s RCRC. I was proud to represent WRJ at the April meeting and hope to be able to do more, on behalf of WRJ, in support of reproductive justice.

Last week, the Senate passed S.1925, the VAWA Reauthorization Act, and it has moved on to the House of Representatives for consideration. I encourage you to familiarize yourself with this legislation and to let your representative know how you feel regarding the passage of this bill. WRJ will continue, as always, to be an advocate for justice, but we all need to speak up as individuals, too!

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Jeanne W. Kahn

About Jeanne W. Kahn

Jeanne W. Kahn is a member of Women of Reform Judaism's Executive Committee. She attends Temple Beth Ami in Rockville, MD.

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