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Reform Jewish Leader Hails House Passage of Legislation Honoring Dr. Dorothy I. Height

Saperstein: Dr. Height has made the struggle for civil rights her life's work, and our country has been the beneficiary of her extraordinary achievements.

Alexis Rice or Barbara Weinstein 202-387-2800

WASHINGTON, October 17, 2003 - In response to this week's House passage of legislation to honor Dr. Dorothy I. Height with the Congressional Gold Medal, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, released the following statement:

This week, the House of Representatives has chosen to honor a true American hero; a leader in the struggle for civil rights; and a woman who has left an indelible mark on the 20th and 21st centuries: Dr. Dorothy I. Height. It has been one of the real blessings of my life to have been able to work with Dr. Height, and to have learned so much from her.

Since entering public life in the 1930s, and most particularly as president of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) since 1958, she has been at the forefront of the struggle for African American civil rights and our country has been the beneficiary of her extraordinary achievements.

She has been a long-time friend of the American Jewish community who has worked tirelessly to strengthen both Black-Jewish relations and the broader coalition of decency that transformed American for the better during her long tenure of leadership.

In her efforts on behalf of social justice, Dr. Height has worked with presidential administrations since Franklin Delano Roosevelt's. With First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. Height worked on human and civil rights issues. With President Dwight Eisenhower, Dr. Height encouraged the desegregation of our nation's schools. Her urging led President Lyndon B. Johnson to appoint African American women to sub-cabinet posts. And President George H.W. Bush appointed Dr. Height to the Advisory Council of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and to the National Advisory Council on Aging. It is a truly remarkable and inspiring legacy of service.

By passing legislation to give Dr. Height the Congressional Gold Medal, the House has chosen to pay tribute to Dr. Height's accomplishments over more than 60 years. It is now time for the Senate to pass companion legislation and share in the House's celebration of Dr. Height's remarkable achievements.


The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC), whose over 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews , and the Central Conference of American Rabbis(CCAR) whose membership includes over 1800 Reform rabbis .

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