Rabbi David Saperstein

Senior Advisor for Policy and Strategy

Ambassador Rabbi David Saperstein was designated by Newsweek Magazine as the most influential rabbi in America and by the Washington Post as the "quintessential religious lobbyist on Capitol Hill." For 40 years as Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC), David Saperstein represented to Congress and the Administration, the Reform Jewish Movement, the largest segment of American Jewry. He continues as the Senior Advisory for Strategy and Policy for the RAC and the Union for Reform Judaism. Under Rabbi Saperstein, writes J.J. Goldberg in his book Jewish Power, the Religious Action Center "has become one of the most powerful Jewish bodies in Washington, second only to AIPAC."

During the second term of the Obama administration, Rabbi Saperstein served as the United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, carrying out his responsibilities as the country's chief diplomat on religious freedom issues. The first rabbi in American history to have served as an ambassador, Rabbi Saperstein has also served on two federal advisory boards and as the first Chair of the congressionally created U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. In 2019-20, Rabbi Saperstein served as the President of the World Union for Progressive Judaism, the international arm of Reform Judaism.

Also an attorney, he taught seminars on Church-State law and on comparative Jewish and American Law for 35 years at Georgetown University Law Center and continues his academic work as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and as a Distinguished Fellow at the PM Glynn Institute at Australian Catholic University.

During his career, Rabbi Saperstein has served on the boards or executive committees of numerous national organizations including the NAACP, People for The American Way, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Common Cause, the National Religious Partnership on the Environment, and the World Faiths Development Dialogue.

His work has been recognized over the years from many sources, receiving numerous national organizational awards (including the inaugural recipient of the Embassy of the Netherlands' "Anne Frank Award") and honorary doctorates from several universities (most recently from Yale University). His articles have been published in publications ranging from theNew York Times and the Washington Post to the Harvard Law Review. He has appeared on most major television news and talk shows, including Oprah, Meet the Press, ABC's Sunday Morning, the Rachel Maddow Show, Nightline, PBS News Hour, Crossfire, Hardball, and the O'Reilly Factor. His latest book is Jewish Dimensions of Social Justice: Tough Moral Choices for our Times.

Latest by Rabbi David Saperstein

The COVID-19 Crisis and the Faith Community

Rabbi David Saperstein
November 9, 2020
In addressing epidemics, there are a number of provisions of Jewish law directly relevant to challenges we face today. The spirit of these laws and their wisdom speaks across the centuries to us now.

Al Vorspan, z”l: A Jewish Social Justice Titan

Rabbi David Saperstein
February 28, 2019

Rabbi David Saperstein, director emeritus of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, delivered this eulogy at Al Vorspan's funeral on Wednesday, February 20, 2019.