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Jane Wishner Elected Chair of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism

Contact:Alexis Rice 202.387.2800

New York, December 19, 2003 -- Jane Wishner, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, has been elected Chair of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism (CSA).

Wishner succeeds Robert M. Heller who served as Chair of the Commission since 2001 and was elected Chairman of the Union for Reform Judaism at the Reform Movement's recent General Assembly in Minneapolis.

For the last ten years, Wishner held many leadership positions within the CSA, serving as Vice Chair of the Commission and as Chair of the Women and Minorities Task Force and the Domestic Policy Task Force.

Wishner said, "It is truly an honor and a privilege to work with the staff of the Commission and its lay leadership. While many organizations do wonderful work both within and outside the Jewish community, for me, the [CSA], and the work I do within the Reform Movement, enables me to combine social justice advocacy with my spiritual life as a Jew. It is the integration of Torah (Study), Avodah (Worship) and Gemilut Chasadim (Acts of Righteousness) that has most enriched my life. I look forward to helping continue that tradition which was the hallmark of my predecessors."

Wishner, who was one of the first Eisendrath Legislative Assistants at the Religious Action Center back in the 1970's, is a founding member of the law firm of Peifer, Hanson & Mullins, P.A. a litigation firm in Albuquerque and a former Assistant Attorney General of New Mexico. She received her B.A. from Harvard University and her law degree from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley.

Active in a wide variety of local and national community organizations, Wishner currently is a member of the National Board of Trustees of the Union for Reform Judaism and has also served on the board of her own synagogue, Congregation Albert in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is currently Vice President for Community and has chaired the congregation's Adult Education Committee, Leadership Development Committee, and Mitzvah Day.

Wishner also served on the national Board of Governors of the American Jewish Committee and continues to serve on several AJC national committees, including its National Legal Committee.

Within her local community, Wishner has served on the Boards of the Jewish Federation of Greater Albuquerque and the Solomon Schechter Day School of Albuquerque. Wishner served for several years in numerous leadership positions on the Jewish Federation Board and chaired the Jewish Community Relations Council, the Israel Task Force, and both the Operation Exodus and general campaigns for the Federation. She has also been a member of the Board of Directors of Chamber Music Albuquerque.

"Jane has been involved the Reform Movement's social justice work for more than three decades, and is one of the most talented and dedicated leaders of the Reform Jewish Community. She brings an enduring and inspiring passion for tikkun olam (repairing the world) to everything she does," said Rabbi Marla Feldman, Director of the Commission on Social Action.


The CSA is a joint body of the Union for Reform Judaism, representing more than 900 Reform synagogues and more than 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, representing more than 1,800 rabbis, and other affiliated entities. It seeks to apply the insights of Jewish tradition to such domestic and foreign issues as human rights, world peace, civil liberties, religious freedom, famine, poverty, intergroup relations, as well as other major societal concerns. To help synagogue members become aware of social issues and stimulate them to appropriate action, the Commission assists congregations in establishing social action committees and provides a large selection of books, pamphlets, audio and videotapes, and other programmatic materials relevant to the whole range of contemporary social problems.

The CSA oversees the work of the Religious Action Center (RAC) in Washington, D.C. which pursues social justice and religious liberty by mobilizing the American Jewish community and serving as its advocate in the capital of the United States.

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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(CCAR) whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis .



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