The Reform Jewish Voice (RJV) of New York State engages congregations as advocates for progressive social and economic policies at the state level. Through conferences and advocacy programs, RJV interacts with more than 100 Reform congregations in New York State with nearly 100,000 members. RJV brings Reform Jewish values and the spirit of tikkun olam to state policy makers through this extensive network of individuals and congregations.
RJV is a project of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, modeled after the nationally renowned Religious Action Center in Washington D.C. It takes positions consistent with those of the North American Reform Jewish Movement as they apply to New York State.
Registration for Advocacy Day is OPEN!
Visit our Advocacy Day 2013 page for everything you need to know!
Download a flyer HERE to share with your friends, family and synagogue.
We want YOU to join our Steering Committee!
Are you committed to Jewish social justice? Do you like public policy? Have you been looking for a way to influence your legislators? Nominate yourself or someone you know to join our Steering Committee and combine these passions, and many more. To find out more, please read our nominations appeal letter.
Advocacy Month Extended
Take advantage of our resource guide, Jewish values text study and religious school programming.
Engage in advocacy work to raise the state minimum wage. From adult education, to student programming and Jewish text sources, be sure to use our Advocacy Month Resource Guide for all of your congregations' needs.
This guide gives you the tools to bring Advocacy Month to your congregation! From background information on the minimum wage, to speaker resources and instructions for action, this guide has it all. Use our Jewish text resources to plan sermons and guide your congregations discussions on what our tradition says about a fair, living wage.
Take Action to Raise the Minimum Wage!
During the month of Cheshvan (October 17-November 14), RJV is asking congregations to dedicate one Shabbat service, one adult education program, or one religious school period to learning what our tradition teaches about fair and living wages. Earlier this year, the New York State legislature began to consider a raise in the state minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $8.50 an hour, but the attempt stalled and 1 million New Yorkers earning a living at minimum wage jobs were left to barely scrape by. Take action now to show Gov. Cuomo and the state legislature why an increase in the state minimum wage is imperative today.
Thank You Gov. Cuomo!
Governor Cuomo recently announced that permits for hydrofraturing in New York State will not be approved until a study of the health impacts of the controversial drilling method is completed. RJV supports the moritorum on hydorfracturing across the state until such a study is finished and submitted comments to the NYSDEC last year calling for extensive study of the effects of hydrofracturing on air, water and public health. Thank you Gov. Cuomo for requesting the study!
NY Legislative Session Close to the End
With the clock winding down on New York’s legislative session (it ends on June 21), there are still numerous important issues that have yet to be brought to a vote. As the legislature heads toward its final days in Albany, Reform Jewish Voice of New York State would like to spotlight three issues that remain unfinished: the Reproductive Health Act, campaign finance reform and an increase in the minimum wage. NY residents: Please join us in urging your state legislators to pass the Reproductive Health Act, campaign finance reform and an increase in the minimum wage.
This is What My Voice is For
Juliana Schnur, former RJV Staff, blogs about her time at this year's Advocacy Day in Albany and looks forward to her first Advocacy Day as an ordained Rabbi:
For too long, our Reform Movement undermined its potential to pursue our social justice agenda and the vital work of tikun olam with the full vigor and passion of our community by denying a leadership voice to women. Now, 40 years later, I have a front- row seat to the triumph born of this important anniversary.
For another look at Advocacy Day, head over to the Legislative Gazette.
Capitol Confidential Drops by Advocacy Day
Over 50 Reform Jews from around New York State joined Reform Jewish Voice on Monday to urge lawmakers in Albany to protect a woman's right to choose, increase the minimum wage and implement campaign finance reform. A highlight of the day was a fiery speech by Sen. Liz Krueger on the importance of RJV's advocacy and the presentation of letters of recognition for RJV's 10th Anniversary from Rabbi Rick Jacobs, incoming President of the Union for Reform Judaism, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center, and Rabbi Marla Feldman, Director of the Women of Reform Judaism. To read more about the day, head over to the Times Union Capitol Confidential blog.
RJV co-sponsored event featuring Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood
RJV co-sponsored an event hosted by One Voice to Save Choice on April 23 at 7pm that included a dialogue entitled The War on Women: What's at Stake and What You Can Do between Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America; The Rev. Dr. Katharine Rhodes Henderson, President of Auburn Seminary; and Rabbi Robert Levine, the Senior Rabbi at Congregation Rodeph Sholom.
The panel discussed how the concept of religious liberty is being used as a means of assaulting women's access to contraceptives and health care services.
RJV Supports Public Funding Option for Elections
In his State of the State address, Gov. Cuomo pledged to work towards "fundamental campaign finance reform by implementing a system of public funding of elections." Reform Jewish Voice of New York State signed a letter with 117 organizations from around New York expressing our support for Gov. Cuomo and his endeavor to create a public funding option for New York state elections. Read the full letter here.
Steering Committee Nominations are Now Closed
Much of the work of RJV is directed by a Steering Committee of committed volunteers from across our state. Thank you for nominating yourself or another individual with a passion for social justice work who can help RJV grow as an effective voice for Reform Judaism and advocate for social justice. Read more here to learn about service on the Steering Committee and add yourself to our mailing listto learn how to nominate yourself or others in the future.
Anti-Choice Censorship in State Senate Unacceptable
In response to the burgeoning controversy over the use of terms such as contraception and reproductive rights in a state Senate resolution celebrating "Reproductive Rights and Justice Week", which has been renamed "Women's Health Week", Honey Heller and Rabbi Jennifer Jaech, Co-Chairs of Reform Jewish Voice of New York State, sent a letter to all New York State Senators stating the Reform Movement's commitment to the notion that a woman should make personal decisions about reproductive health without governmental interference; that constitutes justice. Read the full letter here.
RJV Submits Hydrofracturing Comments to NYDEC
Reform Jewish Voice of New York State (RJV) has been supportive of the morotorium on hydrofracturing in New York State until more research into the effects of the process is conducted. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation is accepting public comments on the proposed regulations and RJV submitted comments calling for the extension of the morotorium and extensive research into the effects of hydrofracturing on water, air, and public health. Read our comments here.
WE DID IT!
RJV Applauds Passage of Historic Marriage Equality Act
Reform Jewish Voice of New York State (RJV) enthusiastically welcomes the passage of the historic Marriage Equality Act, which removes the current barriers same-sex couples face in recognizing their relationships, protecting their families and obtaining essential benefits. Honey Heller and Donald C. Cutler, co-chairs of RJV, issued the following statement: “We applaud the State Senate for passing long overdue Marriage Equality legislation. Friday’s momentous vote puts New York State on the right side of history ensuring that loving same-sex couples in our state enjoy the protections and benefits of the law granted to their heterosexual peers." Read more here.