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We are excited to dive into our work as the 2021-2022 Eisendrath Legislative Assistants! We bring a diverse set of interests and experiences to the RAC but share a deep commitment to the pursuit for a more just, compassionate, and equitable world. We are proud to represent and join the Reform Movement and its values in this crucial moment in history.
In late August, the FBI released its annual compilation of hate crimes statistics, summarizing all hate crimes reported to the FBI in 2020. The data is alarming and only tells part of the story, as an increasing number of law enforcement agencies did not report data to the FBI. A new law will strengthen hate crimes data collection, reporting, and response measures, giving us hope that future statistics will be more accurate.
Amid an alarming rise in antisemitic rhetoric and violence, the Union for Reform Judaism, which represents the largest and most diverse Jewish movement in North America, and ADL (Anti-Defamation League), the world’s leading anti-hate organization, will join together in a multifaceted partnership to provide Reform congregations with the tools needed to address antisemitism in their communities.
I write this as the Sines vs. Kessler trial commences. This long-awaited lawsuit seeks to hold the organizers of the deadly 2017 Unite the Right rally accountable for their actions. Bone-chilling evidence will be presented in this trial that will make us realize how close we came to experiencing an even greater tragedy than the death of Heather Heyer and the wounding of so many others.
Our fears of toxicity and the preventative tactics they induce testify to how much surrounding American cultural norms have seeped into our institutions.
In response to the Senate filibuster of the motion to proceed to the consideration of the Freedom to Vote Act, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, director of the Religious Action Center, issued the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism and the Central Conference of American Rabbis in support of filibuster reform that achieves a proper balance between majority and minority rights in the Senate.
Today, we stand at a critical crossroads in the climate crisis. The reconciliation bill is a historic, watershed approach, uniting the success of American families, the American economy, and environmental protection and climate crisis amelioration. We must take care not to destroy or spoil God's creation. We still have time to prevent the worst aspects of the climate crisis.
The Reform Jewish Movement is appalled by the brutal assault on innocent Palestinians in and around their homes in Khirbet al-Mufkara, in the South Hebron Hills on September 29, 2021.
The use of executive power to protect our right to vote has never been more important: over 400 anti-voter bills have been introduced around the country in 2021 alone. Examples include the elimination of polling locations, reducing early voting, and enacting stricter voter ID laws. Some laws sink to new lows, including the banning of providing food and drink to those standing in line to vote, many of whom wait for hours.
The passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 teaches us that if we want Congress to enact legislation to protect the freedom to vote, we must organize our communities to be part of a sustained movement for justice.