The artwork on this note card was created by 5768 WRJ Art Calendar artist Césan d’Ornellas Levine.
Tuesday, August 22, 2017 was Reform CA Lobby Day, a project of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. 100 social justice activists and organizers from Reform congregations all over California converged on the state capitol to advocate for justice in our state. We had four goals:
Our dialogue with Senate leader de León was both inspirational and educational. Senator de León us that this is our state capitol, a place where we are welcome and should feel ownership as we engage with our elected officials. He explained the opposition to our bills without demonizing anyone holding opposing views. He affirmed our insistence on our Jewish values, and finished his presentation by saying:
“For those who have been bullied or demeaned, know that the great State of California will stand behind each and every one of you.”
While we ate lunch, our congregational teams met to plan our two lobbying visits. Appointments had already been set up for us; all we needed to do was show up and engage!
As we walked into the offices of Representatives and Senators, our nervousness dropped away. We discovered the truth of what Senator de León said in the morning: this statehouse is our statehouse. Our elected officials and their staff are glad to meet with us, for we are the people who sent them to Sacramento.
We told them what matters to our Jewish hearts, about our desire for a California that is a good and just place for all people. As we spoke and listened, as they spoke and listened, politics became personal. And a miracle: politics became holy.
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu lirdof tzedek.
We praise You, Eternal God, Sovereign of the universe, who calls us to holiness through mitzvot, commanding us to pursue tzedek, justice.