During spring 2021, a lay-led team will lead RAC-OH’s issue research and selection process by meeting with partner organizations to determine where the Jewish community can have the greatest impact on state policies to advance racial justice. Once an issue is selected, RAC-OH will mobilize Reform Jewish leaders from across the state to work alongside coalition partners throughout the 2021-2022 legislative cycle to advocate for policies that will create a more just and equitable Ohio.
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.
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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.