Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), recently attended the 50th anniversary celebration of Beth Chayim Chadashim in Los Angeles, California, the world's first LGBTQ+ congregation. This is a excerpt taken from his remarks at the event.
Buffalo, Uvalde, Tulsa, and other recent incidents of gun violence highlight the fact that the U.S. has been locked in a cycle of apathetic “thoughts and prayers,” while little federal action has been taken on this public safety and public health issue. We must end the helpless, apathetic cycle of “thoughts and prayers.” Enough is enough. To stand idly by and do nothing in the face of such senseless slaughter is unconscionable and antithetical to our Jewish values and beliefs. To paraphrase Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, we will pray with our marching feet and voices.
As Shavuot approaches and we celebrate the Giving of the Torah, I have been spending some time reflecting on some of my favorite teachings from Jewish sacred literature, both those that resonate with me, and those that feel most important or most timely.
In the story of creation, the first story we read in the Torah, we learn that every person is created b'tzelem Elohim - in the holy image of God (Genesis 1:27). Discrimination against any person arising from apathy, insensitivity, ignorance, fear, or hatred is inconsistent with this fundamental belief. It is this principle that guides that Reform Movement's advocacy for LGBTQ+ equality.
For many people, it is easy to think about gun violence and its impacts a few times a year, either following a horrifying, high-profile story in the news or during Wear Orange Weekend (this year June 3-5). Unfortunately, that is not a reality for an ever growing group of people across the country.
Though a draft decision has already leaked, before the summer is over, the Supreme Court will issue a final ruling in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the most consequential abortion rights case in generations.
I read a quote today by Sy Smith that said, "Black people in the U.S. are expected to keep on keeping on, no matter what..."
On Tuesday evening, we launched the Reform Movement's Every Voice, Every Vote campaign, our nonpartisan initiative to strengthen democracy by encouraging and protecting voter participation. As if this effort was not urgent enough already, the leaked draft Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women's Health Organization made clear that every issue of importance to our Movement is on the ballot this year, including abortion rights.
Even as we knew the Supreme Court was likely to undermine and even overturn abortion rights, to see the words in print in last night's leaked draft decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is shocking and painful. Here's how you can take action now.
Last month, the Illinois legislature passed HB 2775, a bill that would end source of income discrimination in housing. Working across lines of difference as a member of the Illinois Coalition for Fair Housing, RAC-IL is proud to have played a key role in this successful campaign, which makes Illinois the twentieth state in the country to pass protections against income discrimination in housing. Governor J.B. Pritzker is expected to sign the bill in the coming weeks.