Faith Leaders Convene Sentencing Reform Summit at California Capitol

Media Contact
Max Rosenblum, The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism,, office: 202-387-2800
Sarah Garfinkel, West End Strategy Team,, office: 202-776-7700, cell: 202-765-4290

The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, in partnership with PICO California, is holding a statewide summit to demonstrate broad interfaith support for Prop 57, a sentencing reform measure on the November ballot

Press Release from the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

SACRAMENTO, CA, September 12, 2016  – Today, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism’s California branch, Reform CA, in partnership with PICO California, is leading an interfaith effort to end mass incarceration and strengthen democracy in the Golden State.

Ahead of the November election, leaders and activists from the Reform Jewish Movement, the Catholic Church, several Protestant denominations and the Muslim faith are coming together in the Capitol to meet with Governor Jerry Brown and state legislators to share why they support Prop 57, the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act, and why sentencing reform is important to faith communities. The 150 participants will also take part in faith-based advocacy training throughout the day.

“Judaism teaches that God does not seek the destruction of those who sin, but rather repentance and rehabilitation,” said Rabbi Ken Chasen of Leo Baeck Temple in Los Angeles. “As we approach the Jewish High Holidays, we re-emphasize these themes of repentance and forgiveness. I am proud to stand with Reform rabbis, as well as our Christian and Muslim partners across California, in support of Prop 57 to restore hope and reform sentencing in our great state.”

“Mass incarceration hurts Californians and disproportionately targets people of color, placing an enormous burden on families and communities,” said Rabbi Julie Saxe-Taller of Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco. “As Jews, we believe in the pursuit of justice and in the human potential for change. Support for Prop 57 is an important step toward prioritizing rehabilitation for nonviolent offenders.”

Between now and November 8, Reform CA and PICO California will continue to build on their campaign to support Prop 57. Reform CA, in its Tikkun Tikvah campaign to support the ballot measure, is mobilizing 50 Reform Jewish congregations statewide, representing 120,000 Jews. These efforts will include educating members of affiliated congregations, canvassing in neighboring communities and forging new alliances and recruiting additional public supporters for sentencing reform and rehabilitation in California.

Media coverage is welcome. Members of the media who wish to attend an 11:00 a.m. public forum at Westminster Presbyterian Church are asked to RSVP to Max Rosenblum at or Sarah Garfinkel at

WHAT: The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, PICO California, and multi-faith clergy and leaders from across California are joining together to support a crucial sentencing reform ballot measure aimed at fixing the state’s broken criminal justice system.

WHEN: Monday, September 12, 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. PT at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1300 N Street


  • Rabbi Jason Rodich, Congregation Emanu-El, San Francisco
  • Rabbi Chuck Briskin, Temple Beth El of San Pedro 
  • Rabbi Mona Alfi, Congregation B’nai Israel of Sacramento
  • Rabbi Suzanne Singer, Temple Beth El of Riverside
  • Elizabeth Calvin, Human Rights Watch
  • Jay Jordan, Californians for Safety and Justice
  • Additional speakers, including those directly affected by the criminal justice system as well as members of the clergy and coalition supporting Prop 57

WHERE: The press event and advocacy trainings will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1300 N Street


The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose nearly 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit for more.