To be honest, before I started as a legislative assistant, I didn’t know much about the RAC or David Saperstein. I knew that David was a sort of Washington macher and that the RAC was an institution that united both my desire to live and work by Jewish values and my passion for politics and social justice. So, when I found out I got the job in March 2013, I was pretty sure my dreams of becoming the next Josh Lyman were coming true. Inspiration had truly struck about two weeks before I graduated – David came up to Cornell University (both of our alma maters) for the annual Harold I. Saperstein Class of ’31 Sermon Contest, and met with some Hillel student leaders. I don’t remember all too much about what David said – either to the group or to me individually – but I do remember calling my parents and trying to explain how I felt. It was the first time I had seen someone give so much Jewish meaning to the critical, complex issues of today, and understood how I could play a role in helping make our world a better place. Clearly, there are many extraordinary qualities David has as a professional. Yet, for the staff – and I’m sure for the many people who know David – we know well his graciousness and care for the people around him. No matter how famous/important/influential the person he’s speaking with, or how high-powered the event is, David always makes sure to introduce especially the LAs and the RAC junior staff to the luminary. David always makes time to be with the college student Machon Kaplan participants who come through the RAC every summer. David even called me when he found out my dad was sick in the middle of a few deadlines and other items that needed his attention. I think these examples illustrate a feeling common among the staff that for all the cool meetings and interesting events that we’ve been able to participate in, the best moments have been the small ones. “Thank you” or “we’ll miss you” don’t really cover it. Words like gratitude or appreciation don’t really either. Needless to say, we’re all proud of David and his new chapter, honored to work at the RAC, and excited for what comes next.
January 7, 2015
Today I will assume my responsibilities as the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. It is a great honor. It is linked with the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism with what has been the abiding passion of my heart: to make real the Jewish prophetic ideals of justice, peace, freedom, equality and compassion, in America, in Israel, in the lives of human beings everywhere. The greatest blessing of my life was to do so for 40 years at the RAC. Imagine: someone giving you a job to do what you love doing more than anything in the world, day in and day out. Of course, by this point in his journey, Moses had approached the Promised Land and we have a bit longer to go, but…
December 14, 2014
As you may have heard, the United States Senate voted to confirm Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center to the post of United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom at the State Department. We are incredibly proud of the legacy Rabbi Saperstein has built at the Religious Action Center over these last 40 years. The RAC is a cornerstone of the identity of the Reform Jewish Movement. Its engagement with and support for and by synagogues, rabbis, lay leaders, and the broader Jewish community, has situated social justice at the heart of expression of Jewish values and Jewish living across North America. Thousands come to the RAC to learn about how our Movement seeks to apply our moral values to shaping the policy decisions of our government; our online resources have impacted countless more.