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Pursuing Justice

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On November 8, 2020, we participated in the Global Day of Jewish Learning sponsored by Limmud-NA. The day's theme was "Human Dignity". Rabbis Sarra Lev and Micah Weiss presented lectures -- videos are includedhere. 

Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association joined with other members of the Jewish Rohingya Justice Network in condemning the military’s coup in Burma (Myanmar), its brutal crackdown on peaceful protests, and the unjust and arbitrary detention and arrest of democratic leaders, activists, and protestors.

Pursuing Justice

From its very beginnings, the Jewish story is full of journeys. When it comes to racial justice work, the Reconstructionist movement is in the midst of a profound journey.

Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association strongly oppose the plan of Keren Kayemet L'Israel / Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) to expand Jewish settlements by purchasing private land in the West Bank. We join our friends and colleagues in the Reform movement, the Masorti (Conservative) movement, Liberal Judaism (UK), the Reform Movement in Israel, the World Union for Progressive Judaism, and many others in the global Jewish community in speaking out against this plan. 

Israel, Pursuing Justice

As organizations that care deeply about the State of Israel and about the wellbeing of the Jewish people, we are deeply committed to the struggle against antisemitism. We are thus obligated to share our concerns about ways in which the effort to combat antisemitism is being misused and exploited to instead suppress legitimate free speech, criticism of Israeli government actions, and advocacy for Palestinian rights. In particular, the effort to enshrine in domestic law and institutional policy the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Antisemitism, with its accompanying “contemporary examples,” risks wrongly equating what may be legitimate activities with antisemitism. 

Pursuing Justice

We must act now in defense of democracy and in support of a vibrant, principled America that values all voices and that protects all minorities. We must insist that perpetrators of this insurrection — from those who instigated to those who acted — be held accountable. We must work to ensure that the Biden administration works with Congress to enact meaningful reforms in support of racial justice and voting rights, and to combat the white nationalist movement. American democracy is a great, unfolding experiment that requires attention and effort. Let us renew our commitment to the work of furthering it.

Jewish experience offers a valuable entryway into the study of race. Jewish identities and experience complicate conceptions that are overly simplistic or that lack nuance. Jewish history illuminates both the difficulty and the imperative of grappling with race and racism. To deepen our understanding of race, we have organized a series of online talks that will bring leading scholars of race, religion and Jewish life to a broad public.

We are alarmed by the recent set of moves by the government of Israel to initiate settlement projects and take other provocative and harmful actions in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, including home demolitions and forced evictions, which further damage the possibility of a negotiated future two-state solution.

Israel, Pursuing Justice

Many American Jews considering voting to be a mitzvah, a commandment. It is essential that every vote is counted so that every voice is heard and so that our full-throated democracy can flourish.

Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association joined an amicus brief to the Supreme Court opposing the claim of some religious social services providers to be exempt from nondiscrimination law.

Pursuing Justice

Reconstructing Judaism joined a letter signed by over 500 faith leaders and organizations, urging a national moratorium on water, electricity, and broadband shutoffs in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Pursuing Justice

Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association were among more than 500 Jewish organizations from across the racial and political spectrum; from different streams of Judaism; whose members trace their lineage from countries around the world; speaking with one voice to say that Black Lives Matter.

Pursuing Justice

Reconstructing Judaism is fully committed to building an anti-racist Jewish community. We state firmly and unequivocally that Black Lives Matter, and that working tirelessly to demonstrate that Black Lives Matter is a Jewish value. As leaders of Reconstructing Judaism, the central organization of the Reconstructionist movement, we commit ourselves to the Community Obligations articulated by Not Free to Desist.

Reconstructionist leaders were among 800 Jewish clergy from across the Jewish spectrum signing a letter in support of the fundamental right to peaceful protest. 

Pursuing Justice

The murder of George Floyd is a blatant display of the systemic racism built into the fabric of American society. To our black and brown siblings: your lives matter. We support non-violent protest to build a more just and equitable world for all people. Let our anger and our love lift us up into a better tomorrow.

Reconstructing Judaism's 2020 New York Day of Learning: Jewish Response to Homelessness, combined deep learning and practical action to help those among us who are homeless.

We urge every Reconstructionist community to stand with Dor Hadash and HIAS this coming March by participating in National Refugee Shabbat. In this way, we act on our values and gain strength from each other to create the world in which we want to live.

Pursuing Justice

“One who destroys one life destroys the entire world. One who saves one life saves an entire world.” This  dictum has new meaning to me since my congregation, Temple Beth Hatfiloh (TBH), welcomed our guest into physical sanctuary, making the commitment to provide housing and shelter for an asylum seeker who is at risk of deportation.

Pursuing Justice

Reconstructionist Congregation Dor Hadash has responded to the antisemitic, anti-immigrant attack last year by doubling down on its commitment to help refugees, immigrants and asylum seekers. “We who are still alive have an obligation to honor the memory of those who are no longer with us by doing acts of loving kindness, doing socially conscious things to make the world a better place. That’s how Dor Hadash operates,” said Dan Leger, the Dor Hadash member injured in the shooting. “We pray with our feet, we pray with our votes,” he continued. “We might open a prayer book once in a while — some of us might do it more often than others — but we are an acutely socially responsible group of people who feels that the way we honor being Jewish and being connected with the Divine is by actively trying to make the world a safer, better, more wholesome place to live in.”

Pursuing Justice

We ask the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to re-hear and reverse a ruling that found that staff at an Illinois prison did not violate the Constitution when they forced female inmates to engage in a deeply humiliating and dehumanizing strip search as part of a training exercise. The ruling "opens the door to other violation of prisoners' First Amendement religious freedom rights and protections."

Rooted in the Jewish textual tradition and lived experience, Reconstructionist communities are aiding immigrants, refugees and asylum seekers through direct service, education and advocacy.

Looking for ways your community can get involved in immigration issues, directly assist a family, or advocate for systematic change? This resource offer a number of concrete steps your community can take.

Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Assocation were among seventeen Jewish organizations writing to the Consumer Protection Finance Bureau in opposition to an administration proposal to rescind protections against predatory lending.

Pursuing Justice

Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Assocation were among 15 national Jewish organizations writing Congress in support of  the Equality Act (H.R. 5). Driven by our Jewish values, we are committed to supporting laws that protect the civil rights and individual liberties of all people. The Equality Act is a significant step forward for the LGBTQ community, and we urge Congress to swiftly pass this important bill.

Pursuing Justice

Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association were signatories to a letter objecting to the Tennessee legislature's proposed legislation that would allow federally funded foster care and adoption agencies to practice taxpayer-funded religious discrimination against potential adoptive and foster parents.

Pursuing Justice

Rabbi Elliott Tepperman's vision of a synagogue: a community that sustains itself through prayer and Torah, while also "trying to be a powerful force for making change in the world.”

The American Jewish community stands united against the genocide of the Rohingya people and the persecution of all ethnic minorities in Burma. We applaud the bipartisan group of lawmakers in the Senate for their moral courage and leadership in introducing powerful legislation that would authorize humanitarian assistance for Rohingya refugees and hold the Burmese military officials responsible for this persecution accountable.

Pursuing Justice

Reconstructing Judaism joined 35 national faith-based organizations in a statement opposing attempts to restrict states from providing food aid to the hungry.

Pursuing Justice

Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association joined more than 100 organizations in protest of the recent decision to exempt federally funded foster care agencies in South Carolina from federal religious nondiscrimination protections.

Pursuing Justice

Emet Tauber, a rabbinical student facing terminal illness, devoted his last days to supporting causes and institutions that he values — including affordable and accessible rabbinic education. 

We lift our collective voices in support of transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people — our loved ones, our community leaders, and people across the globe.

Reconstructing Judaism has just rolled out Evolve: Groundbreaking Jewish Conversations with the intention of hosting difficult, groundbreaking conversations that are nevertheless mutually respectful and supportive. We invite you to visit Evolve and to join the conversations!

Rabbi Deborah Waxman, president of Reconstructing Judaism, reports on her participation in the national leadership mission to the San Diego-Tijuana border organized by HIAS and the Anti-Defamation League.

Pursuing Justice

The RRA recently became a partner of the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC). In the last two weeks the PPC has coordinated rallies and acts of civil disobedience in over 30 state capitals, including the participation of over 15 RRA members. 

Belonging connects us to something larger than our own individual experience. I belong to the Jewish people because claiming this connection enters me into a millennia-old conversation and joins me into community both vertical—all those who came before me and all those who follow—and horizontal—the Jews of today, in all our diversity.

With a welcoming ethos and a drive to break down barriers, Reconstructionist congregations and havurot have been part of a revolution that’s taken place in the public awareness of the importance of disability inclusion and related services.

The leadership of Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association condemn with horror the travesty that has become our immigration system under the administration of U.S. President Donald J. Trump.

People across Philadelphia gathered together for Fair Trade Shabbat Dinner, a night of Jewish learning, locally-sourced food, and provoking conversation about Jewish values.

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