The Reform Jewish Voice of New York State Newsletter
As the weather heats up this summer, so does our agenda in Albany. Dealing with record budget deficits, the crippling affects of the economic crisis and the political temper tantrums in Albany have made our work all the more pressing over the summer. The progressive and moral agenda of the Reform Movement will be brought to the forefront of the minds of our officials in New York State. The Reform Jewish Voice is committed to providing Reform Jews across New York State with the materials, training and opportunity to have their voice be heard. Now is the time to take action.
"And Justice for All - A Reform Jewish Voice Shabbat"
Reform Jews from Buffalo to Manhattan, Rochester to Albany to East Hampton and everywhere in between will be working to end hunger and eliminate homeless this November 13, 2009 during the first annual And Justice for All - A Reform Jewish Voice Shabbat. Will your congregation join in this State-wide call to action? And Justice for All is an educational Shabbat program that teaches us how to make immediate and long-term changes in our committees to improve the lives of those who are less fortunate.Please contact Rabbi Marc Gruber to find out ways that your congregation can take part in this state-wide call to action. (Email :firstname.lastname@example.org phone:516-766-4300 X322)
Toronto is Near New York State - Join us for the Biennial!
While not exactly within the scope of RJV, any time 5,000 Reform Jews get together discussions of social justice and activism are sure to follow. And this November, for the first time in 30 years, the Reform Movement's Biennial Convention- the most exciting convention in today's Jewish world-will be held in Toronto, Canada. So join as we take time to explore synagogue life and gather new ideas; study with scholars and celebrate with friends; learn from the pros and each other; sing and schmooze and pursue justice all with 5,000 of our closest friends. Registration is now open. (http://biennial.urj.org)
Governor David Paterson, in an interview with the New York Times in July, reiterated his commitment to marriage equality and his intention to bring the New York State legislature back after Labor Day to take up the Marriage Equality bill.
Alan Van Capelle, Executive Director of Empire State Pride Agenda, stated in a recent message to the organization that he supported the Governor's stance but emphasized the need for the senate to function properly when it takes up marriage equality. Read more about RJV and Marriage Equality.
The Bigger Better Bottle Bill
In August, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced his office successes in rolling back an injunction that had blocked the State's new bottle bill, which was enacted in April of this year. The Bigger, Better Bottle Bill updated New York's 1982 Bottle Bill by expanding it to include bottled water and requiring beverage companies to return 80 percent of unclaimed bottle deposits to the State, and making the program more "user-friendly" by improving the infrastructure for collecting and recycling bottles and cans. This program will bring an estimated $115 million annually to the State for environmental programs.For more information please visit theAttorney General's website.
So you think you want a revolution? (Well, maybe just significant change)
Is there something on your mind? Do you feel like you need to do something but can't figure out how? Let us know and we can help you foster meaningful change in your community. One of our lay leaders in your area would be more than happy to lead a lobbying training seminar or help you organize a communications plan to influence your local leaders on the moral and social issues of the day. Don't feel overwhelmed, feel empowered to make change! Contact RJV's co-chairs for more ways to pursue justice in your backyard. (Rabbi Marc Gruber at email@example.com or Honey Heller at firstname.lastname@example.org)