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  • Urge Congress to Oppose a Tax Bill that Harms the Most Vulnerable

    On December 2, 2017, the Senate voted in favor of tax legislation that represents a fundamental restructuring of the federal government’s priorities. Now, a conference committee of House and Senate members will work to reconcile the differences between their two bills, after which it must be voted on once again by both chambers – leaving one more opportunity to let your representatives know you oppose this dangerous legislation.

    The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act would limit the government’s ability to meet the needs of Americans nationwide and would make our tax code more regressive, threatening the programs and policies that help the most vulnerable Americans.

    Urge Congress to oppose any tax overhaul that will hurt the most vulnerable in our communities and limit the government’s ability to fulfill its responsibility to all Americans.

  • Support Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization

    For the last several months, Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) have been negotiating a bipartisan fix for some of the Affordable Care Act’s challenges. The ACA has allowed millions to access insurance for the first time, but high costs and decreased marketplace competition have prevented it from expanding access even more. On October 17, Senators Alexander and Murray announced the product of their negotiations, the Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2017.

    The legislation is an exciting step forward for the future of health care and a strong show of bipartisanship. At a policy level, the legislation offers several worthwhile measures for stabilizing the individual marketplace. It will give insurers and consumers the certainty necessary for reducing costs and increasing access. From a political perspective, this type of bipartisan approach will hopefully allow members of Congress to move away from the gamesmanship that has prevented any meaningful action to further strengthen our health care system this year.

    Urge your members of Congress to support the Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act of 2017 and take a much-needed step forward for the future of health care.

  • Urge Congress to Protect Transgender Servicemembers in Our Armed Forces

    In August 2017, President Trump issued a directive banning transgender individuals from serving in the United States military. The Reform Movement condemned this policy change in an open letter to President Trump. While legal battles have been launched to fight against the ban, the most tenable and sustainable solution is a legislative fix.  

    In September 2017, Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), John McCain (R-AZ), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Jack Reed (D-RI) introduced S. 1820, a bill that would reverse the effects of President Trump's discriminatory ban. An identical bill, H.R. 4041, was introduced shortly after in the House, led by Representatives Jackie Speier (D-CA), Charlie Dent (R-PA), Susan Davis (D-CA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Adam Smith (D-WA), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). This legislation would directly address the effects of President Trump's directive by protecting servicemembers on account of their gender identity.    

    Urge Congress to support this bipartisan legislation to protect transgender service members on account of their gender identity and reverse the effects of President Trump's transgender military ban.  

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  • Urge Congress to Pass Comprehensive Sentencing Reform

    Over the past 40 years, the American prison population has grown by 500%. Over two million Americans are currently incarcerated, and a disproportionate number are people of color. The explosion in the prison population has resulted in overcrowding, poor treatment of prisoners, and staggering costs for the public.

    On October 4, 2017, Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Richard Durbin (D-IL) reintroduced the bipartisan Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (S.1917) in the Senate. The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (SRCA) includes provisions that seek to address the problems of mass incarceration and over-criminalization by reducing mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenses and granting judges greater discretion in sentencing decisions. The legislation represents the most significant attempt at criminal justice reform in years.

    The Senate should act on this bipartisan consensus and demonstrate much-needed unity around urgent reforms to the criminal justice system. The SRCA has robust bipartisan support – if your Senator is already cosponsoring the legislation, please thank them. If not, urge your Senators to cosponsor the legislation, so that we can create fairer sentencing laws, improve prison practices and encourage successful reentry for formerly incarcerated individuals across the country.

  • Urge President Trump to protect sacred spaces and our public lands

    On October 27, 2017, President Trump indicated that the administration would be moving forward with a proposed plan to shrink Bears Ears National Monument. Bears Ears is one of several public lands under threat of reduction which contain important ecological and cultural sites that need protections. Urge President Trump to protect our public lands and preserve our national monuments.

    Background

    On April 26, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order directing Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to review all public lands that have been given national monument protections since 1996. The purpose of the review was to consider shrinking or eliminating special places previously conserved under the Antiquities Act of 1906 for being of national, historic, or scientific interest.

    On August 24, 2017, Secretary Zinke submitted a private set of recommendations to the White House. Weeks later, his recommendations were leaked to the press, and the public learned of ten national monuments Secretary Zinke has recommended to be diminished. The report recommends shrinking and rolling back protections in Bears Ears in Utah, Cascade-Siskiyou in Oregon and California, Gold Butte in Nevada, and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah. The report also recommends rolling back protections in while keeping the current boundaries of Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine, Northeast Canyons and Seamounts in the Atlantic Ocean, Organ Mountains Desert Peaks in New Mexico, Pacific Remote Islands near Hawaii, Rio Grande Del Norte in New Mexico, and Rose Atoll in Pacific Ocean near American Samoa. If Secretary Zinke's recommendations move forward, it would be the biggest loss of conservation protections in U.S. history. This could mean mining, oil and gas drilling, logging, commercial fishing, and grazing could take place in previously protected areas. It also could mean loss of wildlife habitat, destruction of delicate watersheds, and lost public access to wild places.

    In addition, Bears Ears National Monument was in large part set up to protect historic and sacred sites for five American Indian nations, the Navajo, Hopi, Uintah & Ouray Ute, Ute Mountain Ute, and Zuni. Removing protections and shrinking the area of the monument endangers sacred land that these tribes have spent years trying to protect.

    Sign our public petition, along with other Reform Jews and interfaith partners. Your name will be added to a letter we will deliver to President Trump telling him that we believe our public lands and national monuments must be protected.

    Jewish Values

    Our Jewish tradition insists that we care for the earth and preserve the goodness of God’s creation.  We are instructed in the Torah not to destroy (bal tashchit).  Rather, we are to become stewards and protectors of the land.  According to midrash, God charged Adam: “See my works, how fine and excellent they are! Now all that I created, for you I created. Think upon this, and do not corrupt and desolate my world; for if you corrupt it, there is no one to set it right after you.” (Ecclesiastes Rabbah 7:28)

    More Information

    For more on this issue, visit the RAC’s environment page, or check out the RAC Blog. You can also contact Legislative Assistant Jonah Baskin at (202) 387-2800

  • Call on congress to be stewards of the arctic refuge by keeping the refuge out of the budget process

    A provision in Friday's budget resolution calls on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to cut $1 billion of funding over the next 10 years. This provision is meant to pave the way for congress to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, which would devastate the indigenous Gwich'in people and cause irreparable environmental damage. As Congress goes through the budget process, insist that they keep drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge out of the budget. Please join an interfaith effort to save sign the petition below.

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  • Protect Common Sense Gun Safety Laws

    The House of Representatives may still vote on the SHARE Act (H.R. 3668), a bill that would weaken an 80-year-old federal law that regulates the sale of gun silencers. Silencers disguise the sound of gunfire and make it difficult for people - including law enforcement officers - to recognize and locate an active shooter.

    We are calling on Congress to reject and immediately forgo a vote on the SHARE Act. Rather than voting on legislation that would severely weaken gun safety laws and threaten the safety of our communities, Congress must implement common sense solutions that will help to prevent tragedies such as the recent carnage witnessed in Las Vegas.

  • Call Your Senators: Defend Affordable Health Care

    In a last-ditch effort, Senators Graham, Cassidy, Heller, and Johnson have offered a proposal, known as "Graham-Cassidy," that would repeal substantial portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The legislation would replace the ACA with a block grant system that would substantially limit funding for medical treatment for low-income and moderate-income Americans. It would also fundamentally alter Medicaid, disproportionately harming access to care for people with disabilities, children, and the elderly.

    Call your Senators and urge them to preserve the ACA and ensure millions of Americans maintain their access to health care. Fill out the form to access the talking points and call details to reach your Senators!

  • Oppose Repeal of the ACA

    In a last-ditch effort, Senators Graham, Cassidy, Heller, and Johnson have offered a proposal that would repeal substantial portions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The legislation would replace the ACA with a block grant system that would substantially limit funding for medical treatment for low-income and moderate-income Americans. It would also fundamentally alter Medicaid, disproportionately harming access to care for people with disabilities, children, and the elderly.

    Urge your member of Congress to oppose this proposal.

  • Urge your Members of Congress to Extend Funding for CHIP

    The Children Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides critical health coverage to almost nine million children across the United States. CHIP helps ensure that kids receive the medical treatment they need, and offers piece of mind to their parents and families. Thanks to CHIP, as well as the Affordable Care Act, the percentage of children in the U.S. with health insurance is at all-time high of 95%.

    Federal funding for CHIP expired at the end of September, meaning Congress must act quickly to ensure that all eligible children keep their coverage. On Friday, November 3, the House of Representatives reauthorized funding for the program, but its bill included harmful funding offsets that threaten health care access and critical public health programs. Urge Congress to extend funding for CHIP and protect the millions of families relying on the program without harmful cuts to programs that help Americans access quality, affordable health care.

  • Urgent Action: Protecting Immigrant Youth from Deportation

    DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, has allowed for nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrant youth who were brought to the United States as children to obtain work permits, attend school, and contribute openly to our economy without fear of deportation. In many cases, these youth grew up in the United States and want to give back to society and raise their own families in the only nation they know as home.  
     
    President Trump is expected to make an announcement on September 5, 2017, about whether to terminate or phase out the program that provides protection from deportation.
     
    It is urgent that President Trump and your members of Congress hear from you today about the importance of protecting these youth from deportation or detention.   
     
    In addition to sending an email through our form above, you can also call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be directly connected to your Senators’ and Representative’s offices, and call the White House at 202-456-1111.

  • Protect DREAMers from Deportation

    On September 5, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the administration’s decision bring an end to the DACA program. DACA, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, has allowed nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrant youth who were brought to the United States as children to obtain work permits, attend school, and contribute openly to our economy without fear of deportation. In many cases, these youth, known as DREAMers, grew up in the United States and want to give back to society and raise their own families in the only nation they know as home. By ending DACA and its protections, the administration will again make DREAMers vulnerable to deportation or detention.

    Take action now to protect DREAMers from deportation.

  • Support the Presence of Israeli and International Staff at URJ Camps

    The Trump Administration is considering ending the J-1 Visa program that allows international staff – including Israelis - to work at Reform Movement camps for the summer. The recent White House order on “Buy American, Hire American” misguidedly targets these kinds of vital international cultural experiences for elimination – directly and negatively impacting our camps and our campers.

    Take Action: Contact your Senators, President Trump, and Secretary of State Tillerson and let them know you support the J-1 visa program.

  • Urge your Member of Congress to Condemn Hatred and Bigotry

    On Saturday, August 12, 2017, white nationalist and neo-Nazi protestors marched in Charlottesville in a day full of hate, bigotry, and violence. The protestors’ racist, anti-Semitic, and xenophobic language, chants, and images are deeply disturbing, and we mourn the violence that led to the loss of three lives and many injuries. All people of good will, especially public officials, have a responsibility to denounce the ideology that inspired the tragedy and stand up for equality, freedom, and justice for all.

    Urge your members of Congress to denounce the racism, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia that were at the heart of Charlotteseville’s events.

  • Urge Your Member of Congress to Defend SNAP!

    The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) provides basic food assistance for low-income families to combat hunger, food insecurity, and poverty. In 2015, SNAP lifted 4.6 million Americans above the poverty line. SNAP is also incredibly effective and efficient, reaching our country’s most vulnerable .

    Despite this, the House Budget Committee’s fiscal year 2018 budget resolution recommends dramatic cuts to the program that would directly harm millions of Americans. The Committee’s proposal would cut SNAP by $150 billion, a more than 20 percent reduction in the program’s funding.

    Urge your member of Congress to defend SNAP and support the millions of Americans who utilize the program.

  • Thank Your Senators for Defending Affordable Health Care

    Early in the morning on Friday, July 28, the Senate rejected the proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act by a 51-49 vote. The legislation would have substantially rolled back the enormous progress the ACA has made in the lives of millions of Americans. Thanks to the outcry of constituents like you, the Senate voted to protect access to affordable health care.

    Thank your Senator for voting against repeal of the ACA and urge them to work together in a bipartisan, transparent way to improve America’s health care system so that all people may access the medical treatment they need.

  • Defend Affordable Health Care!

    The Senate is currently debating the future of the American health care system. Senators will vote in the coming hours and days on various proposals to repeal or substantially undermine the Affordable Care Act. These plans are grave threats to the millions of Americans who have benefitted from the Affordable Care Act.

    Urge your Member of Congress to preserve the ACA and ensure millions of Americans maintain their access to health care.

  • Call Your Senators: Defend Affordable Health Care

    The Senate is currently debating the future of the American health care system. Senators will vote in the coming hours and days on various proposals to repeal or substantially undermine the Affordable Care Act. These plans are grave threats to the millions of Americans who have benefitted from the Affordable Care Act.

    Call your Senators and urge them to preserve the ACA and ensure millions of Americans maintain their access to health care. Fill out the form to access the talking points and call details to reach your Senators!

  • Defend Affordable Health Care!

    The Senate is currently debating the future of the American health care system. Senators will vote in the coming hours and days on various proposals to repeal or substantially undermine the Affordable Care Act. These plans are grave threats to the millions of Americans who have benefitted from the Affordable Care Act.

    Urge your Member of Congress to preserve the ACA and ensure millions of Americans maintain their access to health care.

    There is a growing bipartisan consensus in Congress and throughout the country that mandatory minimums make our criminal justice system unjust. Not only does our system also displays deep racial disparities, on the federal level, half of all inmates are locked up for drug crimes. Many of these individuals are serving harsh mandatory minimum sentences that are disproportionate to the crimes they committed. There have been legislative proposals to reform sentencing and corrections, and the Obama administration issued guidelines instructing federal prosecutors to not seek mandatory minimums to ameliorate these challenges in lieu of system-wide reform.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently revoked these guidelines, reinstating the high likelihood that offenders may face longer sentences that many have deemed to be unjust. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), along with Representatives Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) have introduced the Justice Safety Valve Act (S. 1127/H.R. 2435) in order to return discretion to federal judges in sentencing decisions. This bill would expand the safety valve, a tool judges can use to sentence offenders below the mandatory minimum in certain cases.

    Urge your Members of Congress to cosponsor the Justice Safety Valve Act today.

  • Urge Congress to Oppose Any Effort to Weaken or Repeal the Johnson Amendment

    For more than 50 years, a provision in the federal tax code has prohibited 501(c)(3) organizations, including houses of worship, from engaging in partisan politics. This crucial provision, known as the “Johnson Amendment,” has safeguarded the integrity of both religious institutions and the political process by protecting the separation of church and state. Any effort to weaken or repeal the prohibition on partisan politicking undermines synagogue’s independence and the First Amendment principle of religious freedom and must be opposed.

  • Tell Congress: Fully Fund State Department Office for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism

    On March 16, 2017, President Trump released his budget blueprint for Fiscal Year 2018. This document proposed cuts in a variety of vital government agencies, including a 28% cut to the State Department from FY 2017 funding levels. With such deep gauges to the State Department ‘s budget as proposed, funding for the Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism is vulnerable. This position is crucial for documenting human rights abuses against Jewish communities abroad, and it also develops vital programs and policies to combat anti-Semitism. In documenting anti-Semitic incidents abroad, the Special Envoy has worked closely with foreign leaders to address anti-Semitism in their countries and also inspired the creation of similar offices around the world.

    Underfunding or fully cutting funds for the Office of the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism would signal to the rest of the world that the United States is abdicating leadership in this important area. Without this essential office, Jewish communities around the world will lose a crucial advocate and ally.

  • Call Your State Senators and Urge Them to Vote Yes on SB 54

    Call today and urge your State Senator to support SB54 the California Values Act, which protects the safety and well-being of all Californians by ensuring that state and local resources are not used to toward deportation and separating California families. This important bill is up for a vote in the State Senate on Monday, April 3.

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  • Defend Affordable Health Care!

    In the six years since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), over 20 million Americans have gained health care coverage. Few laws in the last 50 years have positively affected as many people on a daily basis. Despite the outcry of opposition, the 115th Congress is considering repealing the ACA without a comprehensive replacement.  Urge your Member of Congress to preserve the ACA and ensure millions of Americans maintain their access to healthcare.

    In the six years since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), over 20 million Americans have gained health care coverage. Few laws in the last 50 years have positively affected as many people on a daily basis. The 115th Congress is considering repealing the ACA and replacing it with a less comprehensive alternative.  Urge your Member of Congress to preserve the ACA and ensure millions of Americans maintain their access to healthcare.


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  • Tell Senators: Oppose Nomination of David Friedman for U.S. Ambassador to Israel

    President Trump has nominated David Friedman to be the U.S. Ambassador to Israel. Mr. Friedman has long been an outspoken voice on Israel-related issues, advocating for policies that would alter decades of U.S. policy toward Israel. This includes his support for a one-state solution and financially supporting West Bank settlements. While Mr. Friedman moderated some of his positions during his confirmation hearing, we simply can’t accept that Mr. Friedman’s suddenly altered views replace a long and detailed record that he has on Israel, both in his stated comments and his philanthropy. For these reasons, the Reform Movement opposes Mr. Friedman’s nomination.

    Urge your Senators to reject the nomination of David Friedman as U.S. Ambassador to Israel. 

  • Oppose Nomination of David Friedman for U.S. Ambassador to Israel

     

  • Call your Senators: Oppose Nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General

    On November 18, 2016, President Donald Trump nominated Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to be the 84th Attorney General of the United States. The Senate is expected to vote on Senator Sessions’ nomination in the coming days.

    As Attorney General, Senator Sessions would have great influence over many policy areas of key importance to the Reform Movement, including civil rights, religious freedom, women’s rights, LGBTQ equality and immigration. Senator Sessions’ record and his testimony at his confirmation hearing indicate that, as Attorney General, he would impede the Justice Department’s mandate to enforce crucial laws for which our Movement has advocated.

    As the full Senate vote approaches, it is crucial that we raise our voices in opposition to Senator Sessions’ nomination. Join Reform Jews around the country in calling your Senators, urging them to vote against Senator Sessions’ confirmation.

    Fill out the form to access the talking points and call details to reach your Senators!

  • Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform

    President Trump has announced plans to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Such a wall is a deeply misguided means of addressing the very real challenges facing our immigration system. Instead of myopically prioritizing border security alone, we need immigration policies that holistically fulfill our national security imperatives, meet the needs of employers and workers, and unite and strengthen families.

    Today, we face the enormous challenges posed by our nation's broken immigration system. More than ever, we need comprehensive reform of our immigration system. Over 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the shadows of our communities across the country. Families face up to decades-long backlogs in acquiring visas, workers are left without protections, and children are left behind as parents are deported. Comprehensive reform is based on streamlined processing, a commitment to obey the rule of law, payment of taxes owed, family reunification, and a path to citizenship. Urge your Members of Congress to swiftly introduce and adopt comprehensive immigration reform.

  • Oppose Unjust Travel Ban

    On September 24, 2017, President Trump issued a new executive order restricting travel from eight countries: Libya, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Iran, Chad, Venezuela, and North Korea. This is the third ban coming from the White House this year that places heavy restrictions mainly on predominantly Muslim-majority countries. The new restrictions on travel vary by country and include a phased-in approach that was planned to begin on October 18, 2017. This ban has removed Sudan from the previous list of countries for whom travel is restricted.

  • Protect Key Provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act

    Defending and expanding the rights of individuals with disabilities is one of the core civil rights priorities of the 21st century. Legislation was introduced that would undermine some of the most important measures that protect equal accessibility for individuals with disabilities. It is important to make our voices heard that no undermining changes should be made to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

    Urge your Member of Congress to oppose any legislation similar to the ADA Education and Reform Act (H.R. 620 in the 115th Congress/S. 3446 in the 114th Congress), legislation that would reverse the progress the ADA has ensured for over 25 years.

  • NFTY-TOR: Urge Texas Legislature to Oppose SB 6

    BACKGROUND:

    On January 5, Senate Bill 6 was introduced in the Texas legislature. This bill specifically targets transgender and gender nonconforming individuals by requiring people in government buildings and public schools to use the bathroom corresponding with the sex assigned to them at birth.

    Simply put, the issue of restrooms is being used to perpetuate a false narrative about a supposed threat posed by transgender people, particularly to women and girls’ safety. Studies repeatedly show that transgender individuals are more likely to be victims of harassment in public spaces, rather than its cause. We must reject this untrue and harmful rhetoric.

    Urge your state legislator to oppose SB 6.

    JEWISH VALUES:

    Judaism teaches that all human beings are created b'tzelem Elohim, in the Divine image (Genesis 1:27). The belief that the stamp of the Divine is present in all humans is fundamental to Reform Judaism and teaches us that we cannot tolerate discrimination against any person because of their identity.

    MORE INFORMATION:

    For more information, contact Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Max Antman at (202) 387-2800 or visit the RAC's LGBT Rights issue page

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  • Tell Congress Not to Curtail Women’s Reproductive Rights

    The House of Representatives is poised to vote on the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017 (H.R. 7), a dangerous bill that severely threatens a woman's right to make decisions about her reproductive health. This bill would prevent women seeking needed health care from using their own private insurance money to pay for abortion services. Bans on taxpayer funding for abortion also deny women the right to deduct abortion services in their health care tax credit, infringing not only on federally-administered health care plans, but also on privately-run and paid-for plans. This legislation would incentivize many private health insurance plans to eliminate abortion coverage altogether, thus dramatically reducing women’s access to safe and affordable abortion services.

  • Protect DREAMers from Deportation

    Background:

    In 2012, the Obama Administration created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for DREAMers, the over 750,000 undocumented immigrants who grew up in the United States and who want to give back to society and raise their own families in the only nation they know as home.

    Now, as we transition to a new administration, participants in and applicants to DACA are in a vulnerable state. Their names and contact information are known to the federal government, and if the succeeding administration seeks to deport all undocumented immigrants as was stated during the campaign, the DACA program provides a robust list.

    The Bridge Act (S. 128/H.R. 496) is a bipartisan piece of legislation which would allow DACA recipients and those eligible for DACA to apply for “provisional protected presence” and work authorization for a three-year period. The bill would also impose restrictions on the sharing of information in DACA and provisional protected presence applications with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection for purposes of immigration enforcement. The Bridge Act does not offer a pathway to citizenship, but it does allow DREAMers the ability to work and participate in American society without fear of deportation.

    Jewish Values:

    Jewish tradition is clear on the treatment of immigrants. Leviticus commands, “When strangers sojourn with you in your land, you shall not do them wrong. The strangers who sojourn with you shall be to you as the natives among you, and you shall love them as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (19:33-34). This teaching permeates Jewish tradition and is echoed 35 times in the Torah – the most repeated of any commandment. Our own people’s history as “strangers” reminds us of the many struggles faced by immigrants today, and we affirm our commitment to create the same opportunities for today’s immigrants that were so valuable to our own community not so many years ago.

    MORE INFORMATION:

    For more information, contact Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Max Antman at (202) 387-2800 or visit the RAC's Immigration issue page. In addition to sending an email through our form above, you can also call the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

  • Tell Senators: Oppose Nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General

    On November 18, 2016, President-elect Donald Trump nominated Senator Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (R-AL) to be the 84th Attorney General of the United States. If he is confirmed by the Senate, Senator Sessions would assume the new office after President-elect Trump’s inauguration on January 20, 2017.

    As Attorney General, Senator Sessions would have great influence over many policy areas of key importance to the Reform Movement, including civil rights, religious freedom, women’s rights, LGBTQ equality and immigration. His extensive record in public life has been one of insufficient commitment to the advancement of these issues.

    Reform Jews have been steadfast advocates for civil rights and equal protection for all people for over 50 years. Senator Sessions’ record and his testimony at his confirmation hearing indicates that, as Attorney General, he would stand in the way of the Justice Department’s mandate to enforce crucial laws that our Movement has advocated for.

    Urge your senators to oppose Senator Sessions’ nomination to be the next U.S. Attorney General.

  • Protect Access to Women’s Health Care!

    Women’s health care providers, including Planned Parenthood, are essential to providing critical services to women, such as breast cancer screening, birth control and preventative care. On Thursday, January 5, 2017, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that the House’s budget legislation will end federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood provides affordable, quality preventive health care and treatment to 2.7 million people across the U.S. Speaker Ryan’s plan threatens the future of women’s health care nationwide.

    Urge your Representative to oppose this harmful plan and to support safe, legal and affordable access to women’s health care.

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  • Urge Congress to Pass Sentencing Reform

    Over the past 40 years, the American prison population has grown by 500%. Over two million Americans are currently incarcerated, and a disproportionate number are people of color. The explosion in the prison population has resulted in overcrowding, poor treatment of prisoners, and staggering costs for the public.

    In the 114th Congress, members from both sides of the aisle have come together in support of comprehensive reforms to our nation’s sentencing laws. The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015 (S. 2123), the Sentencing Reform Act of 2015 (H.R. 3713) and the Corrections and Recidivism Reduction Act (H.R. 759) represented the most significant efforts at criminal justice reform in decades. Provisions in these bills would tackle the problems of mass incarceration and over-criminalization by reducing mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenses and granting judges greater discretion in sentencing decisions.

    The 115th Congress can act on this bipartisan consensus and demonstrate much-needed unity around urgent reforms to the criminal justice system. Urge your Representative and Senators to support comprehensive legislation to create fairer sentencing laws, improve prison practices and encourage successful reentry.

  • Urge Congress to Restore Voting Rights

    On June 25, 2013, the Supreme Court ruling in Shelby County v. Holder invalidated parts of the Voting Rights Act. In the aftermath of the Court’s misguided decision, many states have tested the extent to which they can legally limit citizens’ access to the ballot box, by introducing--and in many cases passing restrictive voting laws. 

    Urge your Members of Congress to support the passing of the Voting Rights Advancement Act (S. 1419/H.R. 2978), which would help restore protections against these restrictive voting laws.

  • Call Your Senator: Defend the ACA

    The Senate is currently debating the future of the American health care system. Senators will vote in the coming hour and days on various proposals to repeal or substantially undermine the Affordable Care Act. These plans are grave threats to the millions of Americans who have benefitted from the Affordable Care Act.

    Call your Senators and urge them to preserve the ACA and ensure millions of Americans maintain their access to health care. Fill out the form to access the talking points and call details to reach your Senators!

    In the six years since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), over 20 million Americans have gained health care coverage. Few laws in the last 50 years have positively affected as many people on a daily basis. The American Health Care Act has been introduced to replace the Affordable Care Act, and would dismantle the enormous advances made by the ACA. The AHCA would deprive millions of coverage, and increase insurance costs for millions more. Urge your Member of Congress to oppose the AHCA and preserve the progress the ACA has made for millions of Americans. 

  • Oppose Divisive White House Leadership

    This week, President-Elect Donald Trump named Steve Bannon as White House Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor. In his roles as editor of the Breitbart website and as a strategist in the Trump campaign, Mr. Bannon was responsible for the advancement of ideologies antithetical to our values as Americans, including anti-Semitism, misogyny, racism and Islamophobia. There should be no place for such views in the White House.

    Urge your Members of Congress to oppose the appointment of Steve Bannon to a White House leadership position.

  • Urge Congress to Pass Sentencing Reform

    Over the past 40 years, the American prison population has grown by 500%. Over two million Americans are currently incarcerated, and a disproportionate number are people of color. The explosion in the prison population has resulted in overcrowding, poor treatment of prisoners, and staggering costs for the public.

    Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have come together in support of comprehensive reforms to our nation’s sentencing laws. The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (S. 2123) and the Sentencing Reform Act (H.R. 3713) represent the most significant efforts at criminal justice reform in decades. These bills would tackle the problems of mass incarceration and over-criminalization by reducing mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenses and granting judges greater discretion in sentencing decisions.

    With only a few weeks left in the 114th Congress, time is running out to act on this historic, bipartisan legislation and demonstrate much-needed unity around urgent reforms to the criminal justice system. Urge your Representative and Senators to support bringing S. 2123 and H.R. 3713 to a vote today.

  • Pledge to Vote 2016

    Rabbi Yitzhak taught, “A ruler is not to be appointed unless the community is first
    consulted.” – Talmud, B’rachot 55a

    The General Election will be held Tuesday, November 8, 2016. At stake are numerous local, state and federal offices and a number of issues of concern to American Jews. Pledge to vote and make your voice heard, and ask three of your friends to do the same. After you take the pledge, you will be directed to a page that will help you share it with others.

    PLEDGE HERE TO VOTE:

  • Oppose Taxpayer-Funded Discrimination in the NDAA

    Every year, Congress passes the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which sets defense policy and funds the Department of Defense. The NDAA for FY 2017, which is currently under consideration, contains a deeply problematic provision – known as Sec. 1094, or the Russell Amendment – that would authorize employment discrimination on the basis of religion using money provided through government contracts and grants. This is taxpayer-funded discrimination, and must be removed from the final version of the NDAA. Take action today to urge your Senators to adopt the NDAA for FY 2017 without the Russell Amendment.

  • Urge U.S. Leadership in Ending Syrian Conflict

    For six years, the Syrian conflict has raged, with an unimaginable human cost. Over 50% of Syrians have been forced to flee their homes, and hundreds of thousands of civilians have died as a result. The Assad regime has targeted airstrikes, chemical attacks, and sieges against noncombatants. Indiscriminate attacks against civilians in hospitals, schools, and supermarkets offend our shared humanity, and the U.S. has an obligation to take action as a global leader on human rights.

     

  • Demand Equality at Israel's Holiest Site

    Have you ever been promised something only to find out that your promise was not going to be fulfilled? Something so near and dear to your heart that you had been hoping for years would happen, and when it finally came true it was subsequently blocked by others?

    How would you feel?

    What would you do?

    Well, this has been happening to us, and we're asking you to do something about it.

    On January 31, 2016 the Israeli Government passed an agreement to create an egalitarian section at the Kotel. Since then, certain ultra-Orthodox parties have been working to prevent the agreement from implementation.

    Israel's Supreme Court recently declared the following: “Enough is enough. Stop the foot dragging on implementing what was already agreed upon.”

    We agree, and we’re asking you to speak up about it.

    Why is this important?

    1. The Kotel is a symbol of the Jewish State and for the Jewish People and we must ensure that there is a place for all Jews to come and pray.

    2. This will be the first time in history the Government of Israel will recognize the Reform and Conservative movements in an official capacity. Under the agreement, the egalitarian section will be administered by our movements effectively resulting in government recognition of the liberal movements.

    3. We believe that Israel must be a Jewish and Democratic state that champions the values of freedom of religion and pluralism.  A victory here will be an essential step in achieving that.

    What can I do?

    Fill out the form below to send a message to Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Rivlin, Speaker Edelstein, and Minister Bennett (your message will be emailed to all four simultaneously). You can customize the message or use the default message we have included. After sending your letters, please share this with your community and networks.

  • Pledge to Vote on Prop 57


    Tikkun Tikvah graphic
    On November 8, people across California will head to polling stations to vote in crucial state and federal races. There will also be a chance to weigh in on several state propositions. One of these is Proposition 57, also known as the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016.

    If passed, this ballot measure would allow nonviolent offenders to earn time off for good behavior, pursue more rehabilitation options, and be eligible for earlier parole. Prop. 57 would also make a path for more teenage offenders go through the juvenile system with access to more rehabilitation programs rather than through the adult prison system.

    By pledging to vote Proposition 57, you will be a part of Reform CA’s Tikkun Tikvah campaign to restore hope, reform sentencing and engage voters in California.


    PLEDGE HERE TO VOTE YES ON PROP 57

  • Urge your Representative to Pass Sentencing Reform

    Over the past 40 years, the American prison population has grown by 500%. Over two million Americans are currently incarcerated, and a disproportionate number are people of color. The explosion in the prison population has resulted in overcrowding, poor treatment of prisoners, and staggering costs for the public.

    Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle have come together in support of comprehensive reforms to our nation’s sentencing laws. The Sentencing Reform Act (H.R. 3713) is one of the most comprehensive efforts at criminal justice reform in decades. H.R. 3713 would tackle the problems of mass incarceration and over-criminalization by reducing mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenses and granting judges greater discretion in sentencing decisions.

    Time is running out for Congress to act on this issue before the end of the year. Urge your Representative to support H.R. 3713 today.

  • AN Launch Registration

    On August 18 in Raleigh, NC, Movement leaders will gather to launch a non-partisan voter registration, get-out-the-vote, and voter protection effort that will continue across the country through November 8, Election Day. We are partnering with the NAACP, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the PICO National Network to do that work together. Here’s what you can do:

    • August 18-21, 2016: Join us in North Carolina or tune in online. At the invitation of NAACP President Cornell Brooks and Rev. William Barber, Reform Movement leaders will gather in Raleigh, NC to launch Atem Nitzaviim: Standing Up for Voter Protection and Participation. Hear from moving speakers, participate in valuable trainings and register North Carolinians to vote.
    • August – November 2016: Get out the Vote! With your congregation or as an individual, you can help get out the vote in your community.
    • Election Day, November 8, 2016: Protect the Right to Vote! Recent elections have shown that too often, eligible voters are turned away at the polls. Reform Movement congregants with legal expertise are encouraged to join the effort to protect the right to vote.

    For any and all information on Atem Nitzaviim, sign up below. We'll keep you updated about our launch in North Carolina, action opportunities around the country and ways you and your congregation can get involved.

  • Sit Together with NFTY to End Gun Violence

    Despite the historic sit-in staged by Members of Congress demanding a vote on gun violence prevention, the House of Representatives adjourned through July 5 without action.

    Send this petition to Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and demand that the House vote on gun violence prevention immediately upon reconvening:

  • Sit Together to End Gun Violence

    Despite the historic sit-in staged by Members of Congress demanding a vote on gun violence prevention, the House of Representatives adjourned through July 5 without action.

    Send this petition to Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and demand that the House vote on gun violence prevention immediately upon reconvening:

  • Urge Your Senators to Vote for Mandatory Background Checks

    On June 12, the largest and deadliest mass shooting in American history occurred at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. With 50 lives tragically lost, and 53 injured, there has never been a more important time to strengthen our gun laws. Though the Orlando gunman bought his gun legally, there remains much to be done to make guns less accessible to those who seek to do harm. A key step is to close loopholes in the background check system for people purchasing guns.

    While there is no evidence that the shooter was prohibited from having firearms, mass shootings generally happen more frequently in states that do not require background checks for all gun sales, which means felons and other prohibited people there can evade background checks and obtain guns in unlicensed sales. One Everytown for Gun Safety analysis shows that in states that require background checks for all handgun sales, including guns offered in unlicensed sales online and at gun shows, there are 52 percent fewer mass shootings.

    Soon, the Senate will vote to expand mandatory background checks to all firearm sales. It is imperative that you urge your Senator to support the Fix Gun Checks Act of 2016 (S. 2934) when it comes up for a vote. 

    Background: Currently, when someone purchases a gun at a store in the United States, a background check is conducted. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has been able to conduct background checks almost instantaneously since it was started in 1998, and has prevented hundreds of thousands of people who are prohibited from owning guns, from purchasing one. Unfortunately, a background check is not required for every gun sale in the United States, so many people are still able to legally purchase guns in places like gun shows or online even if they wouldn’t be able to in a store.

    The Fix Gun Checks Act of 2016 (S. 2934), introduced in May 2016 by Senator Schumer (D-NY), would expand Brady Background Checks to all gun sales (including those made at gun shows and online). It would also improve reporting of prohibited purchasers to NICS and require federal agencies to certify that they have provided appropriate records to NICS. Lastly, it would require gun owners to report their lost or stolen firearm(s) within 48 hours.

  • Submit a Comment to the CFPB on the Payday Lending Rule

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a proposed rule on June 2 that would regulate unethical and predatory payday lending practices. This rule requires all lenders to consider their customer’s “ability to repay” before issuing high-interest, short term loans, sometimes with interest rates exceeding 300%.

    The CFPB is asking for comments on their proposed rule. Submitting comments is very important to the process, not only to provide key feedback on the content of the rule, but also to encourage swift its implementation.

    Make your voice heard and submit a comment here!

  • Reinstate the Assault Weapons Ban

    Background:

    On June 12, the largest and deadliest mass shooting in American history occurred at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, with 50 lives tragically lost and 53 injured. As we continue to mourn the lives of those murdered, it is our collective responsibility to advance sensible gun-laws aimed at curbing future violence.

    Many guns that have been used in recent mass shootings, including one of the guns used in the Orlando attack, are military-style assault weapons that are designed to enable the shooting of mass numbers of bullets quickly and efficiently without reloading. When an assault weapon or a high-capacity magazine is used in a shooting, the number of victims who are killed, increases by 63%. Sadly, this is demonstrated by not only the most recent attack in Orlando, but by the violence in San Bernardino, Sandy Hook, Aurora and too many more places. It is time to make sure that these weapons are taken off our streets.

    The Assault Weapons Ban of 2015 (H.R. 4269), introduced by Representative David Cicilline (D-RI-1) would prohibit the sale, transfer, production and importation of 157 of the most commonly-owned military-style assault weapons. The ban extends to weapons that accept a detachable ammunition magazine, and that have one or more military characteristics. The ban would also prohibit large-capacity magazines and other ammunition feeding devices that are capable of holding more than 10 rounds. New magazines containing more than 10 rounds were banned under the Federal Assault Weapons Act of 1994, but became available again when Congress failed to renew the law in 2004. 

  • Urge Your Governor to Act on Climate

     The Clean Power Plan provides the first-ever national limits on carbon pollution from power plants, and aims to reduce emissions to 32% below 2005 levels by 2030. The Clean Power Plan has the potential to develop a clean energy economy, create new jobs and reduce health risks from carbon pollution.

    Under the Clean Power Plan, each state received different emissions reduction targets and were tasked with creating an implementation plan to reach those targets. Currently, the Clean Power Plan is being challenged by 28 states in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The Court heard oral arguments in September 2016 and we are still waiting on a decision. On March 28, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order calling for a review and rewrite of the Clean Power Plan. A coalition of 17 states and environmental groups filed a legal motion asking the Circuit Court for the District of Columbia not to pause ongoing court proceedings. Despite the uncertainty of the future of the Clean Power Plan,  we must work to ensure that despite legal challenges, states continue to create plans to reduce emissions from power plants.

    Urge your Governor to create an implementation plan that cuts carbon pollution from power plants in a just and sustainable way. 

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  • Protect People from Gun Violence at the Hands of Domestic Abusers

    Join the Interfaith Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence for our national faith call-in day on domestic violence and guns, and tell your Members of Congress that it is time to act on legislation to protect people from gun violence at the hands of domestic abusers.

    Over half of all women killed by intimate partners were murdered with a gun. Nearly half of all intimate partner homicides were committed by a dating partner, and more than three-quarters of women killed by intimate partners were also stalked by their abuser.  Yet perpetrators convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence against a dating partner or misdemeanor stalking can still freely access firearms, despite posing a significant risk to the safety of the victim.

    H.R. 3130, the Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act, and S. 1520, the Protecting Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act, would close these life-threatening loopholes by extending domestic violence protections to include “dating partners” or others “similarly situated to a spouse,” and make it illegal for convicted stalkers to own guns.

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  • Support Oversight in East Ramapo

    RJV logo


    Over the past couple of years, reports from two separate state monitors assigned to the East Ramapo School District have found that children attending East Ramapo public schools are not receiving equitable and just access to educational opportunities. Jewish values call on us to cherish education and pursue justice, and both are at risk for the children attending public school in East Ramapo.

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     Remarks by Aung Ko, the new Burmese Minister of Religion, suggested that the minority Muslim community does not have the same citizenship rights as the Buddhist majority. This concept of “associate” and “full” citizens, does not represent the values of religious freedom and democracy that the new government has committed to promote. Urge Burma’s Ambassador to the United States, H.E. U Kyaw Myo Htut, to ask Party leader Aung San Suu Kyi to repudiate this statement and reaffirm the National League for Democracy’s commitment to religious freedom and democracy, and demand that Minister of Religion, Aung Ko, either resign due to his inflammatory remarks or clarify his statement. 

  • Tell Congress: Uphold the Well-Being of Holocaust Survivors

    There are 500,000 Holocaust survivors around the world today, many of whom are living in poverty. In the former Soviet Union, 85-90% of the entire survivor population is impoverished, and in New York City poverty affects 50% of Holocaust survivors. As these individuals age, they have unique and changing needs. The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany – better known as the Claims Conference – works with the German government to secure funding to help Holocaust survivors live in safety, health and dignity.

    With a new round of negotiations between the Claims Conference and Germany focusing on home care and other healthcare necessities underway, Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL) and Ted Deutch (FL), along with Senators Bill Nelson (FL) and Susan Collins (ME), have introduced a resolution expressing Congress’ commitment to the dignity, comfort and security of Holocaust survivors and urging Germany to assist in addressing their needs. Ask your Members of Congress to co-sponsor as H.Con.Res 129/S.Con.Res 36 today.

  • SRCA Letter Sign-On for Florida Rabbis

    Thank you for your interest in signing on to the letter from Reform rabbis in Florida urging Senator Rubio to support the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (S. 2123)!

    Please fill out the fields below exactly as you would like them to appear on the letter. Note that your information will be included on the letter using the following format: [Title] [First Name] [Last Name], [Congregation], [Congregation City]. If you are not a congregational rabbi or do not want to have your congregation listed on the letter, please leave that field blank and fill out Congregation City and Congregation State with your personal location.

    Please be sure to double check that all information is typed correctly before submitting. 

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  • NFTY-SAR: Urge Governor McCrory to Repeal HB 2

    Recently, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed HB 2 into law, which puts LGBT North Carolinians at risk for discrimination in almost all aspects of their lives.  This wide-sweeping legislation puts into place broad anti-LGBT provisions by nullifying LGBT non-discrimination laws that were already in place in cities across North Carolina and preventing similar ones from being passed in the future. The bill also requires all people to use restrooms inconsistent with their gender identity, specifically targeting transgender and gender non-conforming individuals.


    Jewish Values:

    Judaism teaches that all human beings are created b'tzelem Elohim, in the Divine image (Genesis 1:27). The belief that the stamp of the Divine is present in all humans is fundamental to Reform Judaism, and teaches us that we cannot tolerate discrimination against any person because of who they are.

    Take Action:

    If you would like to take further action, urge your Members of Congress to protect LGBT people from discrimination by supporting the Equality Act (H.R.3185/S.1858).

    For more information, contact Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Tracy Wolf at (202) 387-2800 or visit the RAC's LGBT Rights issue page.

  • NFTY-MAR: Urge Governor McCrory to Repeal HB 2

    NFTY-MAR logo

    Recently, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed HB 2 into law, which puts LGBT North Carolinians at risk for discrimination in almost all aspects of their lives.  This wide-sweeping legislation puts into place broad anti-LGBT provisions by nullifying LGBT non-discrimination laws that were already in place in cities across North Carolina and preventing similar ones from being passed in the future. The bill also requires all people to use restrooms inconsistent with their gender identity, specifically targeting transgender and gender non-conforming individuals.

    Jewish Values:

    Judaism teaches that all human beings are created b'tzelem Elohim, in the Divine image (Genesis 1:27). The belief that the stamp of the Divine is present in all humans is fundamental to Reform Judaism, and teaches us that we cannot tolerate discrimination against any person because of who they are.

    Take Action:

    If you would like to take further action, urge your Members of Congress to protect LGBT people from discrimination by supporting the Equality Act (H.R.3185/S.1858).

    For more information, contact Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Tracy Wolf at (202) 387-2800 or visit the RAC's LGBT Rights issue page.

  • Urge Governor Bryant to Repeal HB 1523

    Governor Bryant recently signed into law HB 1523, the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act.” This bill would, under the guise of protecting religious freedom, allow for discrimination against the LGBT community and other vulnerable populations, without any possibility for recourse. Urge Governor Bryant to repeal this discriminatory law.

    Special Language Inserts

    Please add in and personalize the following language to the opening of your letter to the governor:

    NFTY SO: As a Reform Jew and a ____ of the North American Federation of Temple Youth’s Southern Region (NFTY-SO), I urge you to repeal HB 1523, the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act.” NFTY is a movement that builds strong, welcoming, inspired communities through teen-powered engagement. Together, we pursue tikkun olam (repairing the world), personal growth, youth empowerment, and deep connections, all rooted in Reform Judaism. NFTY’s Southern Region includes Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, western Tennessee, Alabama (excluding Montgomery), and the Florida panhandle. HB 1523 goes against the values of inclusion, equality and justice taught at NFTY and in Reform Judaism. Under the guise of protecting religious freedom, this bill would allow for discrimination against the LGBT community and other vulnerable populations, without any possibility for recourse.

    Jacobs Camp: As a Reform Jew and a ____ of URJ Jacobs Camp, I urge you to repeal HB 1523, the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act.” Jacobs is the Union for Reform Judaism's summer camp serving the Deep South: Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Central & Western Tennessee and the Florida Panhandle. Since 1970, Jacobs Camp has been providing a caring Jewish community that builds young people.  HB 1523 goes against the values of inclusion, equality and justice taught at camp and in Reform Judaism. Under the guise of protecting religious freedom, this bill would allow for discrimination against the LGBT community and other vulnerable populations, without any possibility for recourse.

  • Urge Governor McCrory to repeal North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law HB 2

    Recently, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory signed HB 2 into law, which puts LGBT North Carolinians at risk for discrimination in almost all aspects of their lives.  This wide-sweeping legislation puts into place broad anti-LGBT provisions by nullifying LGBT non-discrimination laws that were already in place in cities across North Carolina and preventing similar ones from being passed in the future. The bill also requires all people to use restrooms inconsistent with their gender identity, specifically targeting transgender and gender non-conforming individuals.

    Special Language Inserts:

    Please add in and personalize the following language to the opening of your letter to the governor:

    NFTY MAR: As a Reform Jew and a ____ of the North American Federation of Temple Youth’s Mid-Atlantic Region (NFTY MAR), I urge you to repeal HB 2. NFTY is a movement that builds strong, welcoming, inspired communities through teen-powered engagement. Together, we pursue tikkun olam (repairing the world), personal growth, youth empowerment, and deep connections, all rooted in Reform Judaism. NFTY’s Mid-Atlantic Region includes Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, eastern West Virginia, and North Carolina (excluding Charlotte). HB 2 goes against the values of inclusion, equality and justice taught at NFTY and in Reform Judaism. This legislation puts lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) North Carolinians at risk for discrimination in almost all aspects of their lives.

    NFTY SAR: As a Reform Jew and a ____ of the North American Federation of Temple Youth’s Southern-Area Region (NFTY SAR), I urge you to repeal HB 2. NFTY is a movement that builds strong, welcoming, inspired communities through teen-powered engagement. Together, we pursue tikkun olam (repairing the world), personal growth, youth empowerment, and deep connections, all rooted in Reform Judaism. NFTY’s Southern Area Region includes South Carolina; Georgia; Charlotte, NC; Chattanooga, TN; Jacksonville, FL; and Tallahassee, FL. HB 2 goes against the values of inclusion, equality and justice taught at NFTY and in Reform Judaism. This legislation puts lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) North Carolinians at risk for discrimination in almost all aspects of their lives.

    6 Points Sports Academy: As a Reform Jew and a ____ of URJ 6 Points Sports Academy, I urge you to repeal HB 2. At 6 Points North Carolina, Jewish education promotes Jewish identity building throughout the course of each day. Campers not only improve their athletic abilities, they build self-confidence, strong connections to their peers and grow into proud Jewish athletes. HB 2 goes against the values of inclusion, equality and justice taught at camp and in Reform Judaism. This legislation puts lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) North Carolinians at risk for discrimination in almost all aspects of their lives.

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  • Urge Congress to Pass the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (S. 2123)

    Over the past 40 years, the American prison population has grown by 500%. Over two million Americans are currently incarcerated, and a disproportionate number of those are people of color. The explosion in the prison population has resulted in overcrowding, poor treatment of prisoners, and staggering costs for the public.
    In the Senate, legislators from both sides of the aisle have come together in support of comprehensive reforms to our nation’s sentencing laws. The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act (S. 2123) represents the most comprehensive effort to reform our criminal justice system in decades. This bill would tackle the problems of mass incarceration and over-criminalization by reducing mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug offenses and granting judges greater discretion in sentencing decisions. But, time is running short to pass significant criminal justice reform in this year's shortened legislative calendar.
    Urge your Senators to support S. 2123, and to call on Senate leadership to schedule floor time and a vote on the legislation in the coming weeks.

  • Urge Congress to Ensure Due Process for Unaccompanied Children

    According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 23,553 unaccompanied children were apprehended at the Southwest Border between October 2015 and February 2016. Most of these children came from Mexico and Central America, fleeing poverty, systemic violence and governmental failure.

    Unaccompanied children face a long and arduous journey from their home countries to the comparative security of the United States. Once they arrive, many hope to be granted asylum, but they face considerable barriers, not the least of which is a lack of proper legal representation in asylum proceedings.

    The Fair Day in Court for Kids Act, introduced as S. 2540 by Senator Reid (D-NV) and H.R. 4646 by Representative Lofgren (CA-19) would ensure access to counsel, legal orientation programs and post-release services for children and other vulnerable individuals while they are in immigration court proceedings.

    Urge your Senators and Representative to support the Fair Day in Court for Kids Act.

  • Urge Congress to Help Flint Build a Safe Water System

    Congress has the chance to help Flint, Michigan and other cities that have crumbling infastructures and dangerous levels of lead in their drinking water.

    The Drinking Water Safety and Infrastructure Act (S. 2579) would  provide $170 million for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue loans to states to fund pipe replacement and other clean drinking water projects, and $50 million to create a lead exposure registry and to fund three children’s health programs related to lead exposure.

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  • Protect LGBTQ People from Discrimination

    BACKGROUND:

    Currently, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and gender non-conforming (LGBTQ) people face discrimination in a wide variety of areas. Most states do not have laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination and there is no federal law that explicitly prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, federal funding, education, credit, and jury selection based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

    The Equality Act (H.R. 2282/S.1006) will address this issue by amending existing civil rights laws to include protections based on actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. By building upon decades of civil rights legislation that have tangibly reduced discrimination, the Equality Act will significantly reduce the amount of discrimination LGBTQ people face and will provide an avenue for recourse for victims of discrimination. This bill will provide the same protections to LGBTQ people that are provided to other protected groups under federal law and will strengthen existing civil rights laws by expanding the definition of public accommodations and ensuring that people are protected from sex discrimination in public accommodations and federal funding.

    Urge your member of Congress to co-sponsor the Equality Act (H.R. 2282/S.1006).

    JEWISH VALUES:

    Judaism teaches that all human beings are created b'tzelem Elohim, in the Divine image (Genesis 1:27). The belief that the stamp of the divine is present in all humans is fundamental to Reform Judaism and teaches us that we cannot tolerate discrimination against any person because of their identity.

  • Urge Congress to Stop Predatory Lending Practices

    Congress is currently considering The Consumer Protection and Choice Act (H.R. 4018). This legislation would make it more difficult for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to regulate predatory lenders. Urge congress to vote No on H.R. 4018 to protect Americans from being forced into a cycle of harmful debt.

  • Support Paid Family and Medical Leave

    Urge Congress to pass the FAMILY Act (H.R. 1439/S. 786) to provide paid family and medical leave for all workers in America.

  • Protect the Arctic

    Urge President Obama and Members of Congress to Protect the Arctic.

    Oil companies are threatening to destroy the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by expanding drilling in the region. The Refuge is home to the Gwich’in community, who consider the Coastal Plain to be a sacred place. Additionally, nearly 200 diverse species including polar bears, wolves and Porcupine caribou live in the region and many rely on the Coastal Plain as their breeding ground. Take action to ensure one of America’s few remaining pristine wilderness areas is protected. 

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  • Support Public Financing for Congressional Elections

    Recent Supreme Court decisions and legislative actions have significantly weakened federal campaign finance regulations, opening our electoral system to unprecedented quantities of money and the outsized political influence of the wealthiest donors.

    Urge your elected officials to restore our democracy to the American people through the passage of The Government by the People Act (H.R. 20) and the Fair Elections Now Act (S. 1538), which would establish public financing systems for congressional elections.

  • Support the Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act

    Respite care programs provide short term support for children and adults with disabilities. These programs allow family members, who serve as caretakers, the time to focus on their own health and wellbeing.  These short breaks allow them the mental and physical rest to continue providing loving care to their family members.

    Urge Congress to pass the Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act (H.R. 3913), to provide $75 million over five years to respite care programs around the country.

  • End Indefinite Detention at Guantanamo

    After 14 years, the detention center at Guantanamo Bay is still open and home to 89 prisoners, despite President Obama’s 2009 executive order calling for swift closure of the prison. While Congress continues to pass provisions that creates roadblocks to closing the prison, the White House could do more to review and transfer appropriate detainees.

    Our tradition teaches “if someone attacks another, the second is innocent of any responsibility for injury caused to the first, since he has a right to defend himself, but if he was able to use less force but caused greater injury then he is guilty” (Shulchan Aruch). The mistreatment of prisoners, such as indefinite detention, goes beyond what experts assert is necessary to defend our safety and denies those prisoners basic dignity and respect. It is time for the Obama Administration to speed up the review of Guantanamo detainees, transfer those who have been cleared for transfer and submit those remaining for trial in federal courts.

  • Urge Your Members of Congress to Support President Obama’s Executive Order to Address Gun Violence

    Recently, President Obama issued an executive order to address gun violence, an issue that affects communities nationwide, as we have seen in the tragedies at Sandy Hook Elementary, Umpqua Community College in Oregon, and most recently in San Bernardino, California. Though on their own, the President’s actions are significant and meaningful, congressional support is needed to comprehensively tackle this crisis, to fund and fully implement the executive order, and to make sure these common sense steps are not overturned by future presidents. Take action and urge your Members of Congress to support President Obama’s executive order to prevent gun violence.  

     
    Background:

    President Obama’s executive order addresses four key issues surrounding gun violence: background checks, community-based fixes, mental health and gun safety technology. The order requires background checks on more gun sales as more individuals will now need to obtain a license to sell firearms. Further, the order seeks to hire hundreds of new staff to help improve the national background check system and enforce existing laws. The President also seeks more money for mental health treatment. Although the actions taken by President Obama are significant and meaningful, there is still much work that needs to be done. Congress must act to ensure its success in keeping Americans safe. 

  • Support the Transition to Independence Act

    People living with disabilities often have a very difficult time finding work. According the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the unemployment rate for this population in 2014 was 12.5%, more than double the rate for the entire population. Further, section 14c of the Fair Labor Standards Act allows businesses to pay people with disabilities below the minimum wage. Today, 450,000 Americans with disabilities hold jobs in places like segregated workshops, where they are not paid fairly for their time.

    Urge Congress to pass the Transition to Independence Act (S.1604), legislation that will encourage states to increase integrated employment and decrease segregated subminimum wage work.

  • Thank President Obama for Taking Action Against Gun Violence

    We applaud President Obama’s executive order to address the scourge of gun violence in the United States. Under the order announced today, which seeks to clarify existing understanding of what it means to be engaged in the business of dealing in firearms, more individuals will have to obtain a federal firearms license, narrowing the scope of dangerous loopholes in our gun purchasing system and strengthening the process of background checks on gun sales. The order also acknowledges the federal government’s power as a purchaser of firearms and calls for a strategy for research and development into broader use of smart gun technology, which will ultimately help keep our communities safer. These are important steps toward preventing further devastating tragedies of gun violence that have become all too familiar.

  • Improve the Background Checks for Gun Sales

    On June 2, National Gun Violence Awareness Day, people around the country will Wear Orange to bring attention to the epidemic of gun violence that kills 90 Americans each day. One of those lives lost was Hadiya Pendleton, a teenager from Chicago who was killed at the age of 15. In the wake of her death, her friends and family wore orange to honor her life. Orange, the color that hunters wear in the woods to protect themselves, is a bold color that demands notice.     

    Thanks to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), more than 2.5 million attempted purchases by dangerous people who are prohibited from buying guns have been stopped. However, federal law does not currently require background checks for all gun sales, which leads to perilous loopholes. Two bills introduced into the 114th Congress could help to solve this problem and ultimately save lives: The Fix Gun Checks Act (H.R. 3411/S. 2934) and the Background Check Completion Act of 2015 (S. 2213).

    Background: Currently, when someone purchases a gun at a store in the United States, a background check is conducted. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has been able to conduct background checks almost instantaneously since it was started in 1998, and has prevented hundreds of thousands of people who are prohibited from owning guns from purchasing one. However, a background check is not required for every gun sale in the United States, so many people are still able to legally purchase guns in places like gun shows or online even, if they would not be able to in a store.

    Further, if a background check is not completed within 72 hours, a licensed firearms dealer can sell a gun without waiting until completion. While 95% of NICS background checks are completed within two hours, it is critical that the FBI has additional time to complete background checks when needed. According to the FBI, “a purchaser whose NICS check takes more than 24 hours to complete is almost 20 times more likely to be a prohibited person than the average gun buyer.” When firearm dealers are allowed to bypass background checks, they are too often selling to people who are in fact prohibited purchasers. Everytown for Gun Safety analysis shows that in states that require background checks for all handgun sales, including guns offered in unlicensed sales online and at gun shows, there are 52 percent fewer mass shootings and 47 percent fewer women are killed by intimate partners with firearms.

    The Fix Gun Checks Act (H.R. 3411/S. 2934), was introduced into the 114th Congress in July 2015 by Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA-14), and in the Senate by Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) in 2016. The bill would expand Brady Background Checks to all gun sales (including those made at gun shows and online). It would also improve reporting of prohibited purchasers to NICS and require federal agencies to certify that they have provided appropriate records to NICS. Lastly, it would require gun owners to report their lost or stolen firearm(s) within 48 hours.

    The Background Check Completion Act of 2015 (S. 2213), introduced in the 114th Congress in October 2015 by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), would prohibit a licensed gun dealer from selling a firearm to an unlicensed person before their background check is completed. In other words, if a background check is not complete, then a licensed firearms dealer cannot make a sale. 

  • Repeal the Hyde Amendment

    In January 1973, the U.S. Supreme court recognized that the Constitution protects a woman’s right to choose whether to have an abortion in the landmark decision in Roe v. Wade. Ever since, many measures have been taken to limit access to abortion procedures, diminishing the right to choose. One of the most notable and longstanding of these is the Hyde Amendment, which was first passed in 1976 and has been renewed every year since.

    The Hyde Amendment bans the use of federal money for abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is in danger for all federally administered health care plans such as Medicaid, TRICARE, and Indian Health Service. Many people that are have insurance through these plans, particularly Medicaid, are of low income. Thus, the Hyde Amendment largely and disproportionately impacts a low-income women’s right to choose. It is reprehensible that women are denied their right to choose and serve as their own moral agent for their reproductive health simply because they are insured by a federal health care plan. 

    The Equal Access to Abortion in Health Insurance or EACH Woman Act  (H.R. 771) was introduced in the House of Representatives in January 2017 by Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA-13). This bill seeks to repeal the Hyde Amendment. It would guarantee that every person who receives care or insurance through a federal plan or program will have coverage for abortion.

  • Stand With Reform Movement Leaders in Ending Gun Violence

    Stand with the Reform Movement and call on President Obama to take executive action to end the scourge of gun violence.

  • Time for U.S. Leadership on Refugees

    The crisis of Middle Eastern refugees from Syria and elsewhere has added to a global situation in which more than 60 million people worldwide are displaced. The U.S. currently caps the number of refugees for Fiscal Year 2015 at 70,000, and is raising the cap to 85,000 for 2016, and 100,000 for 2017. Sadly, those numbers are not enough to respond to the challenge. Now is the time to safely and securely open our doors to those seeking refuge, not slam them shut.

    The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on a bill similar to that recently passed by the House (H.R. 4038), which would halt resettlement for refugees from Syria and Iraq. This policy does not reflect our values as Americans or as members of the Reform Jewish Movement. Repelled often in times of greatest need, and with our own recent memories of our grandparents and great grandparents who were refugees during the Holocaust, Jews recognize the necessity for havens for the persecuted.

    The U.S. can play a vital leadership role by accepting additional refugees, urging European and other nations to accept more refugees, and by addressing the root causes of the crisis.  

    Though no system is perfect, the refugee resettlement program is a lengthy and rigorous one designed to affirm a person’s status as a true refugee and to ensure they pose no threat. The U.S. refugee program allows us to uphold our values as a country that is a safe haven and beacon of freedom while also prioritizing national security.

    Urge your members of Congress to help address this humanitarian crisis by opposing any effort to limit refugees of certain religious backgrounds or those from Syria. Instead, now is the time to increase the number of Syrian refugees welcomed by the U.S. and call on other countries to do the same.

     

     

     
  • Continue to Welcome Refugees into Canada

    The crisis of Middle Eastern refugees from Syria and elsewhere has added to a global situation in which more than 60 million people worldwide are displaced. In response to the crisis, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau has committed to accept 25,000 refugees by January 1, 2016. Canada can play a vital leadership role by continuing to welcome refugees, urging European and other nations to accept more refugees and by addressing the root causes of the crisis.  

    As Jews with deep connections to Israel, we have long known of Syrian President Assad’s barbarism, reflected in atrocities inflicted on his own people. Repelled often in times of greatest need, and with our own recent memories of our grandparents and great grandparents who were refugees during the Holocaust, Jews recognize the necessity for havens for the persecuted. We are instructed in the Holiness Code (Lev. 19:33) to take to heart the lessons of our own history by treating aliens in our midst with justice and compassion. “The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself for you were strangers in the land of Egypt."

    Following recent attacks in Paris, some have misguidedly called for an end to the Syrian refugee resettlement program, in the name of national security. Though no system is perfect, the refugee resettlement program is designed to affirm a person’s status as a true refugee and to ensure they pose no threat. The Canadian refugee program allows us to uphold our values as a country that is a safe haven and beacon of freedom while also prioritizing national security.

    Urge Prime Minister Trudeau to help address this humanitarian crisis by remaining firm in his plan to accept 25,000 refugees by the end of February 2016. Now is the time welcome Syrian refugees and call on other countries to do the same.

  • Continue to Welcome Refugees into Canada

     The crisis of Middle Eastern refugees from Syria and elsewhere has added to a global situation in which more than 60 million people worldwide are displaced. In response to the crisis, Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau has committed to accept 25,000 refugees by January 1, 2016. Canada can play a vital leadership role by continuing to welcome refugees, urging European and other nations to accept more refugees and by addressing the root causes of the crisis.  

    As Jews with deep connections to Israel, we have long known of Syrian President Assad’s barbarism, reflected in atrocities inflicted on his own people. Repelled often in times of greatest need, and with our own recent memories of our grandparents and great grandparents who were refugees during the Holocaust, Jews recognize the necessity for havens for the persecuted. We are instructed in the Holiness Code (Lev. 19:33) to take to heart the lessons of our own history by treating aliens in our midst with justice and compassion. “The stranger who sojourns with you shall be to you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself for you were strangers in the land of Egypt."

    Following recent attacks in Paris, some have misguidedly called for an end to the Syrian refugee resettlement program, in the name of nation security. Though no system is perfect, the refugee resettlement program is a lengthy and rigorous one designed to affirm a person’s status as a true refugee and to ensure they pose no threat. The Canadian refugee program allows us to uphold our values as a country that is a safe haven and beacon of freedom while also prioritizing national security.

    Urge Prime Minister Trudeau to help address this humanitarian crisis by remaining firm in his plan to accept 25,000 refugees by the end of the year. Now is the time welcome Syrian refugees and call on other countries to do the same.

  • Canada Test
  • Remind Me of RJV on Giving Tuesday!

    Sign up to receive an email notification reminding you to support RJV on Giving Tuesday.
    As RJV gears up to bring Reform Jews from around New York State together to advocate for social justice during the 2016 legislative session, we need your help. If you would like to donate now, you can do so online. If you have any questions, please contact Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Jacob Kraus.

  • Urge Congress to Protect Core Economic Justice Programs in the Budget