More Than 800 Reform Jewish Movement Leaders Gather in Washington, DC to Organize and Advocate for Social Justice

For Immediate  Release
April 30, 2017

Contact: Max Rosenblum
818.304.4551 |

The 2017 Largest-Ever Consultation on Conscience will focus on racial justice, immigration reform and defending LGBT rights

Washington DC – More than 800 Reform Movement leaders, clergy and activists from across North America are convening today for the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism’s (RAC), Consultation on Conscience: Building the World We Want. The conference runs from today through Tuesday, May 2, featuring Reform Movement leaders as well as allies, elected officials, and experts. Among those speaking are incoming-President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights Vanita Gupta, NAACP President and CEO Rev. Cornell William Brooks, Orange is the New Black Author and Activist Piper Kerman, Michael Waldman of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU, former Governor Jack Markell of Delaware, Mayor Darrell Steinberg of Sacramento, Senator Sherrod Brown,  Representative Jamie Raskin, Representative Joe Kennedy III, Representative Lee Zeldin, Representative Jacky Rosen, and Representative Jerrold Nadler.

This year’s conference is the largest in the over 50-year history of the Religious Action Center, with attendees from 89 congregational and community-based delegations. At Consultation, they are strengthening relationships and building their skills to pursue Tikkun Olam at the local, state and federal levels, with the goal of protecting the most vulnerable members of our society.

“The urgency of the moment is clear,” said Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. “Across North America, there is a new sense of vulnerability. Immigrants are demonized, refugees are turned away at our borders, transgender individuals have their rights denied, and mass incarceration and racial disparities continue to plague our society. The Reform Jewish Movement is fiercely committed to the pursuit of justice. Reform congregations and activists are hungry to respond to the challenges we face, to get organized, and to strenuously defend our core values.”

Consultation attendees represent over 200 synagogues from across North America. They will learn community organizing and advocacy skills in action-oriented workshops. On Tuesday, the conference will culminate in a Lobby Day on Capitol Hill, during which hundreds of Reform Jewish leaders will visit their senators and representatives.

Complete Schedule of Events:

Who: Reform Movement clergy, lay leaders and allies. Speakers include:


  • Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
  • Vanita Gupta, Incoming President and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and former head of the Civil Rights Division at the US Department of Justice
  • Isabel Rose, Activist and Artist
  • Ari Ne’eman, CEO,
  • Megan Black, National Clergy Organizer, PICO National Network
  • Rabbi Rachel Timoner, Senior Rabbi, Congregation Beth Elohim (Brooklyn, NY)


  • Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President, Union for Reform Judaism
  • Rev. Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
  • Piper Kerman, Author and Activist, Orange Is the New Black
  • Michael Waldman, President, Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law
  • Governor Jack Markell, Former Governor of Delaware
  • Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Mayor of Sacramento, CA
  • Anat Hoffman, Executive Director of the Israel Religious Action Center
  • Rabbi Joshua Weinberg, President, ARZA
  • Rabbi Gayle Pomerantz, Temple Beth Sholom, Miami Beach, FL
  • Cantor Rosalie Boxt, Temple Emanuel, Kensington, MD
  • Rabbi Sharon Mars, Temple Israel, Columbus, OH


  • Rabbi David Saperstein, Senior Advisor for Policy and Strategy to the Union for Reform Judaism and the Religious Action Center and Director Emeritus of the Religious Action Center
  • US Senator Sherrod Brown (Ohio)
  • US Representative Joe Kennedy III (MA-4)
  • US Representative Jerrold Nadler (NY-10)
  • US Representative Jamie Raskin (MD-8)
  • US Representative Jacky Rosen (NV-3)
  • US Representative Lee Zeldin (NY-1)

What: Consultation on Conscience, the Reform Jewish Movement’s premier social justice leadership and advocacy conference

Where:  Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel
              2800 South Potomac Avenue
              Arlington, Virginia 22202
              (Sunday and Monday)

 Sixth and I Historic Synagogue
 600 I Street, NW
 Washington, DC 20001
 (Tuesday only)

When: Sunday, April 30 to Tuesday, May 2, 2017

More information about the 2017 Consultation on Conscience, including speaker and programming updates, can be found at:

The event is open to the media and coverage is welcome. To request media credentials, or make any inquiries about the event and speakers, please contact Max Rosenblum at


The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 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.