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Reform Movement Joins with Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, Renews Partnership with Nothing But Nets; Hires Program Coordinator to Manage the Two Partnerships


Feinberg: "The program will provide more than a simple, effective social action program for URJ members to participate in. It will, without a doubt, save lives."

Saperstein: "Strengthening the bone marrow registry and curbing the spread of malaria will help prevent the deaths of untold numbers of people. The RAC is delighted by these new partnerships and we are excited to engage our congregations in both initiatives."

McDonnell: "We look forward to this new chapter in our partnership that will focus on advocating to our elected officials about the importance of U.S. leadership and robust funding for the fight against malaria."

Contact: Sean Thibault or Veronica Grant
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

Washington, D.C., March 8, 2013, 2013 - The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism announced this week two life-saving partnerships with the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, North America's only Jewish bone marrow donor registry and Nothing But Nets, a global, grassroots campaign to raise awareness and funding to fight malaria, a leading cause of death among children in Africa. Both initiatives reflect the RAC's longtime commitment to engaging Reform Jews and congregations in impactful social action programs that touch lives in North America and around the world.

The Gift of Life collaboration brings the organization's mission to save the lives of patients suffering from leukemia, lymphoma, other cancers and genetic disorders to the forefront of social action initiatives within North America's largest Jewish movements. Nothing But Nets, with which the Union for Reform Judaism has collaborated since 2006, has mobilized hundreds of thousands of Americans to send over 7 million bed nets to vulnerable populations in Africa, primarily children under five, pregnant women and refugees. In the past 6 years, the URJ has raised over $750,000 to purchase 75,000 bed nets to fight malaria. In addition to fundraising, the renewed relationship will focus its efforts on advocacy for the President's Malaria Initiative and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which are critical programs in the fight against malaria.

Veronica Grant joins the RAC as the Program Coordinator to oversee the two partnerships. Before joining the RAC, Ms. Grant worked on political campaigns and spent time working with non profits in the Middle East. She will provide educational tools, resources, and support to bring the two initiatives into URJ congregations with particular focus on religious schools and youth groups.

Jay Feinberg, Gift of Life's Founder and Executive Director, himself a bone marrow transplant survivor explained, "We are thrilled about this opportunity to offer URJ congregations the tools they need to participate in the greatest mitzvah of all, pikuach nefesh, saving a life. The program will provide more than a simple, effective social action program for URJ congregants to participate in. Cutting edge technology enables potential donors to join the Gift of Life Registry with a simple cheek swab. It will, without a doubt, save lives."

Nothing But Nets' Deputy Director Margaret Reilly McDonnell said "The RAC has been a key partner for us the past 6 years in raising money to send life-saving mosquito nets to families in Africa. We look forward to this new chapter in our partnership that will focus on advocating to our elected officials about the importance of U.S. leadership and robust funding for the fight against malaria."

Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the RAC, also expressed his enthusiasm. "The work of tikkun olam, repairing the world, has no more powerful manifestation than the saving of lives. Strengthening the bone marrow registry and curbing the spread of malaria will help prevent the deaths of untold numbers of people. The RAC is delighted by these new partnerships and we are excited to engage our congregations in both initiatives."

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.



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