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Nitzavim: Launching in North Carolina

At the invitation of NAACP President Cornell Brooks and NAACP North Carolina President Rev. William Barber II, Reform Movement leaders will gather in Raleigh-Durham, NC to launch Nitzavim from August 18-20. Hear from moving speakers, participate in valuable trainings and register North Carolinians to vote. You can join us in-person for all launch activities or stream services and speakers online. Sign up here if you plan to attend or want to view events from your home community.

Why are we launching Nitzavim on August 18?  Because it is Tu B’av, the Jewish holiday celebrating love. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. taught us, “darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” In 2016, we are called to drive out the darkness of racial inequality by protecting the right to vote.

Why are we launching Nitzavim in North Carolina? North Carolina is a prominent site for many social justice issues, and voting rights is chief among them. The legislature there swiftly enacted one of the nation's strictest voter suppression laws after the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Shelby v. Holder that struck down a key part of the Voting Rights Act. The law would have eliminated same day voter registration, restricted early voting, and implemented onerous voter ID requirements. A recent court ruling found that actions disproportionately impact voters and communities of color and thankfully struck down these provisions. In order to celebrate this decision and make a clear statement in favor of voting rights, the North Carolina NAACP has asked us to help protect voters by joining them on the ground and registering as many people as possible.

Note: The RAC and our partners will not be able to provide logistical support for those traveling from afar to North Carolina. We suggest that those flying to the area arrive at Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU). The only way to get to and from our key locations is by car, so be prepared to rent a car or coordinate transportation with friends. You can find a list of suggested hotels in the Raleigh area, along with a map of all key locations below. The program will begin at approximately 7pm on Thursday, August 18 and will end at the end of the day on Saturday, August 20.


Program Schedule

All times and locations are subject to change. We will update this page as we confirm additional presenters. Please sign up for updates or contact RAC Senior Legislative Assistant Jacob Kraus by email or at 202-387-2800.

Thursday, August 18 – Temple Beth Or

5315 Creedmoor Rd, Raleigh, NC 27612

7 PM to 9 PM: Standing with Love, Standing for the Right to Vote

Join us as we kick off Nitzavim on Tu B’av, the Jewish holiday that celebrates love, and resolve to show love for our neighbors by promoting and protecting the right to vote for all Americans. Powerful speeches and memorable moments will center us emotionally as we embark upon days and months of learning and action on voting rights and racial justice.

This event will be live-streamed. Click here to access the stream, which will go live shortly before 7.

Featured Presenters

  • Rabbi Rick Jacobs: President, Union for Reform Judaism
  • Reverend Doctor William J. Barber, II: President, North Carolina NAACP
  • Bishop Dwayne Royster: Political Director, PICO National Network
  • April Baskin: Vice President of Audacious Hospitality, Union for Reform Judaism
  • Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner: Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and Senior Vice President, Union for Reform Judaism
  • Rabbi Steve Fox: Chief Executive, Central Conference of American Rabbis
  • Rabbi Lucy H.F. Dinner: Senior Rabbi, Temple Beth Or
  • Daryl Messinger: Chair, North American Board of Trustees, Union for Reform Judaism
  • Lexie Hallman: Director of Jewish Music, Temple Beth Or


Friday, August 19 – Judea Reform Congregation

1933 W Cornwallis Rd, Durham, NC 27705

9:30 AM to 10:00 AM: Show Me What Nitzavim Looks Like         

Begin our day of study and action by learning about what you can do in your own community and beyond through Election Day, November 8. Hear from some of our partners about the work of registering voters, turning out voters to the polls, and protecting every voter’s rights at the ballot box.

Featured Presenters:

  • Joy Friedman: Director of Organizing, Union for Reform Judaism
  • Barbara Weinstein: Associate Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and Director, Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism
  • Megan Black: National Clergy Organizer, PICO National Network
  • Isela Gutiérrez: Associate Research Director, Democracy North Carolina

10:00 AM to 10:20 AM: Story Sharing - Why are we here?

10:25 AM to 11:00 AM: Focus on North Carolina: The Current Voting Rights Landscape

The 2013 Supreme Court ruling in Shelby v. Holder that struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act unleashed a wave of voter suppression laws that have disproportionally impacted low income people and people of color. North Carolina was the site of one of the nation’s strictest post-Shelby laws, though a recent victory in the courts means that voters this fall will not face onerous ID requirements or other restrictions. Learn from experts and leaders from North Carolina about how the ground has shifted in recent years and what they and we are doing to advance voting rights.

Featured Presenters:

  • Reverend Curtis E. Gatewood: Director of Field and Branch Operations, North Carolina NAACP
  • Irv Joyner: Professor of Law, North Carolina Central University School of Law

11:15 AM to 12:00 PM: Registration Training

Become an expert in registering others to vote. If you cannot participate in this training, there will be another one available on Saturday morning.

Trainer: Laurel Ashton, Field Secretary, North Carolina NAACP

12:00 PM to 4 PM: Depart for Lunch and Voter Registration

Come with us to register voters in a few key locations around downtown Raleigh and Durham. The North Carolina NAACP will identify key locations for us to work in. There will also be time during this window to grab a bite to eat at area restaurants.

Late Friday afternoon is free time for you to change and rest before Kabbalat Shabbat.

7:30 PM: Kabbalat Shabbat Services at Judea Reform Congregation

Root our commitment to justice in our Jewish tradition by joining as one community to welcome Shabbat.

D'var Torah: April Baskin, Vice President of Audacious Hospitality, Union for Reform Judaism


Saturday, August 20 – Temple Beth Or, Raleigh

9 AM to 10 AM: Shabbat Morning Services

Join us for a brief Shabbat morning service before our day of voter registration.

Leaders: Rabbi Leah Citrin, Assistant Rabbi, Temple Beth Or and Rabbi Brian Nelson, Education Director, Judea Reform Congregation

10 AM to 10:30 AM: Voter Registration Training

Get trained on registering voters in North Carolina and receive your canvassing assignment for the day.

Trainer: Laurel Ashton, Field Secretary, North Carolina NAACP10:30 AM to 1 PM: Register Voters!

Go door-to-door with other Reform Jews and NAACP volunteers in neighborhoods throughout the Raleigh-Durham area to register voters.

4:00 PM to 4:30 PM: Seudah Shlishit

Join us back at Temple Beth Or in Raleigh for Seudah Shlishit (the third meal), a Shabbat afternoon ceremony where we will enjoy a snack, share our experiences from the day and look towards the coming months of voter engagement and protection. Note: Please bring completed voter registration forms back to Temple Beth Or with you.

Leader: Rabbi Leah Citrin, Assistant Rabbi, Temple Beth Or and Jacob Kraus, Senior Legislative Assistant, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism


5 PM to 7 PM: Raleigh-Apex NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet

The Raleigh-Apex NAACP will be honoring Rabbi Lucy Dinner of Raleigh’s Temple Beth Or, along with other civil rights activists. Tickets are still available for this dinner for $40. You can also purchase a package including a table for 8 people and a full page ad for $525. Please register here by Wednesday, August 17.


Key Locations in North Carolina

Recommended Hotels

Marriott at Research Triangle Park

4700 Guardian Drive, Durham, NC 27703

(919) 941-6200

3 Stars

Airport Shuttle

About 20 minutes from both temples


Hilton Garden Inn Raleigh-Durham/Research Triangle Park

4620 South Miami Blvd., Durham, NC 27703

(919) 941-6066

3 Stars

Airport Shuttle

About 20 minutes from both temples


Holiday Inn Express & Suites Research Triangle Park

4912 S. Miami Blvd., Durham, NC 27703

(919) 474-9800

2 Stars

Airport Shuttle

About 20 minutes from both temples


Learn more about the Reform Movement's work to advance racial justice at RAC.org/racialjustice.