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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.
Seven prominent, pro-Israel American Jewish organizations representing more than three-quarters of Jewish congregations and other constituencies in the U.S. sent a letter late yesterday to Israeli Prime Minister Bennett, Foreign Minister Lapid and Defense Minister Gantz, condemning "the ongoing terrorism and political violence committed by Jewish Israeli extremists in the West Bank against Palestinians, Israeli civilians, and IDF soldiers."
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.
The world is facing the worst refugee crisis in global history, and the United States is failing to do all it can to support those seeking refuge. More than 82 million people worldwide have left home to escape conflict and persecution, surpassing the record of displaced persons after World War II. Asylum-seekers - those fleeing persecution in their home countries - account for about 8 million of those displaced.
“We are grateful for the administration’s re-affirmation of support for pivotal legislation that will end discriminatory voting practices and allow every voice to be heard, and every vote to be counted. Now, it is time for the White House to turn their words into action and use their full power to compel the Senate to enact filibuster reform to ensure the passage of the Freedom to Vote Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act."
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.
Last Saturday, amid what should have been a peaceful Shabbat, our global Jewish family watched in horror as news emerged that members of Congregation Beth Israel, a Reform synagogue in Texas, were being held hostage by an armed gunman. After an 11-hour standoff, we breathed a collective sigh of relief and profound gratitude upon learning that all four hostages, including Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, were finally free.
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.
Last week, a narrow majority of Senators failed to protect Americans' voting rights. We are deeply disappointed by Senators' failure to make the necessary reform to the outdated filibuster that prevented the passage of the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act. This bill would have modernized the preclearance formula of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and established national standards for federal elections.