Thank you for taking action with our Every Voice Every Vote Campaign - our work to engage the electorate and advocate for issues goes hand in hand. Now we turn to Ohio's upcoming legislative session and our #NoDeathPenaltyOH Campaign. Will you join us in calling key representatives during our 11/14-11/18 week of action to abolish the death penalty? Commit to making the call here. RAC-OH has committed to making 400 phone calls to undecided members of the House Criminal Justice committee asking them to vote yes on the bill. Join us!
Please sign up for as many calls as you have the capacity to make. Even one call will get us closer to reaching our goal, and if you can, sign up to make a call every day for five days!
Inspired by our Jewish values of justice and the value of human life, RAC-OH has dedicated two years to advancing the bi-partisan, multi-faith No Death Penalty OH Campaign. Since we launched the campaign in 2021, over 600 individuals from 21 congregations and beyond have taken action to abolish the death penalty with RAC Ohio. We have engaged in deep learning to understand the death penalty and its devastating racial justice implications in our state and to get proximate to those directly impacted. The bill has already advanced further than in any other session. We have been part of shifting the culture in Ohio from one that endorsed the death penalty to one that is highly skeptical of its legitimacy and fairness - because of the work of people of faith in our state, we will eventually succeed in ending the death penalty in Ohio.
Our coalition's goal is to pass the bill out of the House committee during lame duck - the final weeks of the legislative session from the November election through the end of the year. If we can meet this goal, it will kickstart the chances of abolition moving through in 2023-2024. Join us in making this a reality! Sign up to call today and share widely!
We will be continuing our partnerships with the Ohio Transformation Fund, the ACLU, Women of Reform Judaism, and state-wide faith-based organizations as we pursue legislation that supports our key priorities.
Targeted Community Alternatives to Prison (TCAP) program
Thanks in part to Reform Jews across the state of Ohio, after Shabbat fell on Friday night, June 30, Governor Kasich signed the Targeted Community Alternatives to Prison program (TCAP) into law. TCAP diverts low-level felons away from incarceration in favor of community supervision or treatment and will keep an extra 3,400 people a year in their communities receiving the support and rehabilitation they desperately need.
Senate Bill 66: Record Sealing and Probation Reform
Teshuvah means a return to our true selves, a return to our community and ultimately a return to our Creator. Citizens returning and making teshuvah after prison face a period of probation and a permanent criminal record viewable by prospective employers, lenders, renters etc. Senate Bill 66 (SB66) returns autonomy to judges to treat probation violators within the community. It provides the options of intervention and treatment in lieu of conviction and makes time in prison for violating probation shorter and less likely.
SB66 was the focus of RAC-OH’s first lobby day in 2017. Seventy Reform Jews traveled to Columbus, Ohio to lobby to our representatives to pass this important legislation. The power of the Reform Movement in Ohio shows, as the bill was passed in 2018.
Ohio Lobby Days
On October 25, 2017, RAC-OH gathered in Columbus, Ohio to lobby our elected officials on criminal justice reform and other important Jewish issues.
On November 13, 2019, RAC-OH returned to Columbus with a focus on criminal justice reform and preventing gun violence.
RAC-OH Email Sign Up
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Learn More and Get Involved
RAC-OH is led by a Core Team of rabbis and lay leaders. The Core Team meets monthly to discuss state-wide legislative issues, determine opportunities for partnerships, participates in selected actions taken by faith-based organizations, and offers outreach and support to Reform congregations as they engage in social justice work. The Core Team is led by Rabbi Rick Kellner of Congregation Beth Tikvah and Amy Katz, a lay leader and past president of Isaac M. Wise Temple. We are supported by national RAC staff overseen by Joy Friedman, the RAC’s organizing director. Core Team members include Rabbi Allison Vann of Suburban Temple-Kol Ami, Rabbi Josh Caruso and Laura Katz of Anshe Chesed-Fairmount Temple, Rabbi Josh Brown of Temple Israel Akron, Rabbi Karen Bodney Halasz of Temple Israel Dayton, and Maria Rosenthal of Congregation Beth Tikvah.