October 20, 2014 · 26 Tishrei

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California Jewish Leaders Applaud State Legislature's Commitment to Affordable Homes and the Environment

Rabbi Stephanie Kolin: "It is with this dual responsibility in mind that we have come together on this issue as Reform Jews from every corner of California to turn our faith into action."

Contact: Max Rosenblum or Rabbi Stephanie Kolin
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

SACRAMENTO, CA, June 16, 2014 -- As leaders of Reform CA, an initiative of the California Reform Jewish Movement for justice, we are overjoyed by the bold decision of our state leadership to invest significant and long-term cap-and-trade funding into the building of affordable homes near transit in California.

Rabbi Stephanie Kolin, Co-Director of the Union for Reform Judaism's Just Congregations and Lead Organizer of Reform CA, stated:

"In the book of Genesis, the protection of the earth is placed in our hands. And as a Jewish people whose central narrative is that of wandering without a place to call home, we have a fundamental responsibility to address the suffering that comes when one who seeks shelter can find none. It is with this dual responsibility in mind that we have come together on this issue as Reform Jews from every corner of California to turn our faith into action."
Jennifer Brodkey Kaufman, a resident of Sacramento and Chair of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, added:

"Building these homes will help reduce the number of miles traveled by cars on our state's roads and highways by over one hundred million miles each year. The reduction of greenhouse gas emissions will be significant, as will be the impact on the lives of so many of California's hard working families who struggle to afford their rent or mortgage."

To campaign for this decision, Reform CA leaders traveled to Sacramento to meet with over 30 legislators and the Governor's office. Local clergy and lay leaders also campaigned in their home districts and sent over 700 letters to Assembly Members and Senators. In addition, 55 California rabbis and cantors signed a petition to Governor Jerry Brown, Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, and Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins. Dozens of Reform rabbis preached about this issue from their pulpits, making spiritual and moral calls to address California's urgent need for affordable homes and a healthy environment.

We applaud the courageous leadership of Governor Jerry Brown, Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, as well as our state legislature, including Senate President Pro Tempore Elect Kevin de León. Today is a great day for California -- and for our children, our grandchildren, and the many generations that will follow as we take another step closer to the California of our dreams.

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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 1.3 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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