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Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner

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Rabbi Pesner speaks at the CBC prayer breakfast

This post is adapted from remarks offered by Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 48th Annual Legislative Conference Prayer Breakfast.

During these Jewish Days of Awe, the Highest, Holiest of days, my people blast the shofar. It is a wake up call.

The great medieval Rabbi Maimonides said the shofar’s call demands:

“Wake up you sleepers!Rise up from your sleep!Rouse yourselves, you slumberers, out of your slumber.Look closely at yourselves;Examine your deedsAnd improve your ways.”

During these holiest of...

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Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Rev. Al Sharpton, and other faith leaders in McAllen, TX

In Jeremiah 31:15, we read,

“A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are gone.”

Today, Rachel’s great sadness is being perpetrated by our own government on our own soil. We join Rachel’s cry because right here in the U.S., the land of the free, children are being detained, locked away from their parents.

I write to you from McAllen, TX, site of the United States’ largest immigrant detention center. Along with nearly 40 colleagues – Jewish, Catholic, Muslim, and evangelical –...

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Rabbi Aaron Panken offering a closing prayer at Temple Mishkan Israel in Selma

Rabbi Aaron Panken understood his call to be the creation of an entire generation of inspiring leaders who would lead the Jewish people to fulfill our destiny. He was nurtured and trained by the same institutions of Reform Judaism – NFTY - The Reform Jewish Youth Movement, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Union for Reform Judaism, and most of all the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion – to which he devoted his professional life. And he did so because he understood the profound role of leadership in building...

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Sign outside polling place that says: Vote Here

As the 2018 election season begins, the Reform Movement is launching a powerful, nonpartisan civic engagement campaign. This effort is grounded in the Deuteronomic injunction: “You shall not hide yourself” (22:3), which implies that when our nation and world face challenges, we cannot turn away and we cannot hide. The Babylonian Talmud comments on this verse: “When the community is in trouble, a person should not say, ‘I will go into my house and eat and drink and be at peace with myself’” (Masechet Taanit, 11a).

Voting is vital if we are to be responsible for our society and...

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Teens lobby in Tallahassee, Fl for gun violence prevention

This post is adapted from a sermon given by Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner at the NFTY Southern Tropical Region (NFTY-STR) Kallah at Temple Kol Ami Emanuel in Plantation, Florida on March 16, 2018. Since Rabbi Pesner offered these remarks, another school shooting has occurred in Maryland, a tragic reminder of just how important the work of gun violence prevention is. 

It is hard to imagine that shloshim, the 30 day period of mourning, is over. It has been over a month since 17 people were murdered at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. It feels like it was yesterday – and it feels like a...

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