Washington, D.C., July 27, 2015 – Yesterday, Rabbi Lynne Landsberg, Senior Advisor on Disability Rights at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, received the Thornburgh Family Award in recognition of her longtime advocacy for people with disabilities. Established by the American Association of People with Disabilities, the Thornburgh Family Award recognizes a religious leader who exemplifies the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Dick and Ginny Thornburgh for whom the award is named were instrumental in passage of the ADA and continue to be leaders in the effort to ensure the rights of people with disabilities worldwide. Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, released the following statement:
This honor bestowed on Rabbi Lynne Landsberg is richly deserved. Rabbi Landsberg has long been a leading voice in both the Jewish and broader faith community for people with disabilities. She has made our congregations and communities more welcoming and inclusive. She has inspired members of Congress to support measures to strengthen people with disabilities and their families. And she has educated countless young people about how they can be advocates for friends and others with disabilities. Lynne is truly a rodefet tzedek, pursuer of justice, and embodies the Reform Movement’s commitment to full equality and justice for all.
In her speech, Rabbi Landsberg noted, “I am truly honored and humbled—actually overwhelmed—to be the inaugural recipient of the Thornburgh Family Award…I began my career at the RAC as Associate Director in 1988. The first major bill I worked on was the ADA. Little did I know, that piece of legislation would directly affect my life a decade later. And so it has.” Lynne’s work has directly affected, for the better, the lives of countless others and I am honored to add my voice to the chorus of others celebrating her.
It is appropriate that this award was bestowed on Lynne when the United States marked the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA has expanded opportunities for and decreased discrimination against people with disabilities throughout the country. As a Movement dedicated to the full inclusion of people with disabilities, we celebrate this anniversary and recommit ourselves to working to ensure that people with disabilities can achieve true equality in both our religious and secular communities.
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 www.rac.org for more.