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American Values, Religious Voices


Two Reconstructionist Rabbinical College faculty members are taking part in a powerful grassroots initiative titled “American Values Religious Voices: 100 Days. 100 Letters.” This national bipartisan campaign brings together 100 scholars from different religious traditions to articulate core American values that have grounded our nation in the past and should guide us forward at this time of political transition.

Check out the coverage in Tablet Magazine.

For the first 100 days of the new administration, a one-page letter, authored by a participating scholar, will be sent to the president, vice president, cabinet secretaries, and members of the House and Senate. The letters also will be shared with subscribers and available to the general public on the campaign website at www.valuesandvoices.com. The first letter appeared on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, 2017. (One letter will be published daily.)

Elsie R. Stern, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs and associate professor of Bible at RRC, is serving on the steering committee and has authored one of the letters. S. Tamar Kamionkowski, professor of Bible at RRC, is also a contributor.

Stern helped to insure there was demographic, religious and geographic diversity among the senders.

“This a deeply Reconstructionist project. Since Reconstructionism’s founding, democracy has been understood to be a key feature of Reconstructionism,” says Stern. “One of the core values of Reconstructionism is contributing to public conversations on topics of critical, timely concern.”

Stern adds that our movement’s “commitment to leading multifaith dialogue aligns deeply with this project.”

Andrea Weiss, Ph.D., associate professor of Bible at Hebrew Union College- Jewish Institute of Religion in New York, created the campaign in collaboration with Lisa Weinberger, creative director and founder of Masters Group Design in Philadelphia, and with the assistance of an advisory committee that reflects the diversity at the heart of this campaign.

In addition to Stern, other committee members include letter writers Deirdre Good, interim associate dean and visiting professor of New Testament at Drew Theological School; Herbert R. Marbury, associate professor of Hebrew Bible at Vanderbilt University; Hussain Rashid, founder of Islamicate, L3C; and Mark S. Smith, Helena Professor of Old Testament literature and exegesis at Princeton Theological Seminary.

This campaign is meant to reaffirm who we are as Americans, and to model how we can learn from one another and work together for the common good,” says Weiss.

100 Days. 100 Letters campaign is funded by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Authors of the 100 letters come from academic institutions and foundations across the nation and represent the rich religious and racial diversity that defines this country.

To subscribe to the letters, visit http://www.valuesandvoices.com/

Follow the campaign @ValuesandVoices on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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