At our recent Passover seders, we were reminded of the words Moses spoke to Pharaoh, pleading for Israelite liberation from slavery: “So says Adonai...‘Let My people go, that they may serve Me’” (Exodus 9:1). The purpose of our freedom is to serve the Divine. And just what does that mean? Since ancient days, Judaism as promoted a prophetic vision of a better world, one made so by our active involvement in tikkun olam – the work of social justice. It is our task to cry out against injustice, oppression and cruelty wherever and whenever they appear – no matter who the victim, no matter what the risk. This illustrates the perspective of progressive Judaism, and one of the reasons I am proud and privileged to be part of the Reform movement. As you should know – and as I’ve been discussing for weeks – this year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (the RAC). As the RAC has published about these 50 years:
the RAC has been the hub of Jewish social justice and legislative activity in Washington, D.C. As the DC office of the Union for Reform Judaism, the RAC educates and mobilizes the Reform Jewish community on legislative and social concerns, advocating on more than 70 different issues, including economic justice, civil rights, religious liberty, Israel and more. The RAC’s work is mandated by the Union for Reform Judaism, whose 900+ congregations across North America include 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), whose membership includes more than 1,800 Reform rabbis. Representatives of these two organizations, as well as the Union’s affiliates, comprise the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, which governs the RAC’s policy positions.
For more, go to www.rac.org.
Most importantly, the RAC is OUR voice. Along with the status the Reform movement has gains through our social justice activism; it takes our support to ensure the reach of Jewish values in our society and world. I ask you to be an even greater partner in this sacred work: learn more about the RAC and its activities; sign up for its email distribution list; contribute your time and resources to the issues that concern you and surely affect others.My colleague Jonathan Stein, newly elected president of the CCAR (the Reform rabbinical body) said, “tikkun olam remains the coin of the realm in the Reform movement. Let us be vigilant to ensure that our freedom and opportunity is spent wisely, that our actions, words and deeds continue to serve the Divine.