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Pelavin Named New Director of Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism

Associate Director of Religious Action Center "welcomes this new opportunity to advance the values at the core of our Movement"

Contact: Kate Bigam
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 3, 2010 – Rabbi Eric Yoffie, President of the Union for Reform Judaism, has named Mark J. Pelavin to be Director of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism (CSA), the social justice policy-making body of the Reform Jewish Movement.

Pelavin’s distinguished service to the Reform Movement includes serving as Associate Director of the CSA since 1996 and as Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, a role he will continue.

The CSA is a joint instrumentality of the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, with a membership comprising clergy and lay leaders representing synagogues across North America.  Together, their 900 synagogues and 1,800 rabbis encompass 1.5 million people and comprise the largest Movement in American Jewish life. The CSA works with the Religious Action Center to implement Reform Movement policy and assists in development of programming for congregations.

“I’m deeply honored by my appointment as Director of the Commission on Social Action,” Pelavin said. ”I welcome this new opportunity to advance the values at the core of our Movement, and to work with the outstanding members of the Commission on issues like civil rights, the environment, Israel and human rights. I am delighted that I will continue to work every day with Rabbi David Saperstein and the RAC’s amazing staff.”

Rabbi Yoffie, who is himself a former Director of the CSA, said of Pelavin’s appointment, “Mark’s legal background, decades of experience as an advocate, and commitment to Jewish life make him uniquely suited to this role. The CSA has a long tradition of outstanding leadership, and Mark is now poised to make his contribution and shape a more just future. ”

Cheryl Gutmann, Chairperson of the CSA, echoed Rabbi Yoffie’s sentiments. “Mark is a dynamic, creative and strategic leader who will ensure the CSA’s future as a voice for social justice and help us bring the vision of Judaism to today’s most pressing challenges,” she said.

Past directors of the CSA include luminaries such as Rabbi Yoffie, Al Vorspan, Leonard Fein, Rabbi Gene Lipman, and Rabbi Marla Feldman. “I am humbled to be in such company,” Pelavin said, “and I will strive every day to live up to their examples.”

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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 1,800 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.



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