Reform Jewish Leader Congratulates New President and Vice President

January 20, 2021

WASHINGTON - On the occasion of the inauguration of Joe Biden as President and Kamala Harris as Vice President of the United States, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, Central Conference of American Rabbis, and wider Reform Movement:

We congratulate President Biden and Vice President Harris on their inauguration today. They have assumed the mantle of leadership in a time of unprecedented challenge. We pray that they will lead the nation with wisdom and fortitude.

It is especially inspiring to witness Vice President Harris, the first woman of Color, take the oath of office. Another barrier has been broken, long overdue, on the way to making the nation more racially equitable. That she is also part of a Jewish family adds even more poignancy.  Coming just two days after the country celebrated the life and work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are one step closer to realizing his dream of making justice a reality for all of God's children.

To say this is a deeply tumultuous time in our country’s history is an understatement. The devastating pandemic and ongoing systemic racism are but two urgent examples.  And now, in light of the recent seditious attack by white supremacists on our Capitol, and the rising threat of violent antisemitism, racism, and other forms of bigotry, the Biden-Harris administration will need to act with courage, speed, and vision to begin to heal the nation.

We look forward to working with the new administration on issues of common concern, as we have with administrations of both parties throughout our history. We will also not hesitate to call them to account when we believe their actions are failing those whose well-being has been entrusted to them.

In all endeavors, may the new president and vice president be inspired by the words of the prophet Amos, ensuring that “justice rolls down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream” (Amos 5:24).


The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose nearly 850 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.