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In Parshat Va-eira, we watch as God's message of freedom unfolds across Egypt and is ignored, scorned by Israelites and Egyptians alike. We watch as moral suasion, peaceful resistance, and God's word fail to bring about liberation and an end to oppression. In the wake of this failure, God visits 10 plagues on Pharaoh and the Egyptians, the first 7 of which appear in this week's portion.
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.
Amy Spitalnick is the executive director of Integrity First for America (IFA), the civil rights nonprofit behind Sines v. Kessler - the successful federal lawsuit against the neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and hate groups responsible for the violent "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017. I sat down with Amy, the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, to get her views on the significance of this lawsuit.
New from CCAR Press, The Social Justice Torah Commentary demonstrates that the Torah is a guide to addressing the most urgent challenges of our time. This excerpt is from Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center and Senior Vice President, Union for Reform Judaism.
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.
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.
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.
We are in a time of great crisis, facing pandemics of systemic racism, poverty, climate change, voter suppression and COVID-19. Millions of Americans experience unemployment, hunger, and housing insecurity, facing the threat of climate change daily. People of Color and other marginalized communities experience the most adverse consequences. And the country continues to face endless attacks on our voting rights and reproductive rights. Before Congress breaks for their winter recess, there is much left to be done.