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Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner

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Rabbi Jonah Pesner wearing a Jews 4 Dreamers sign while being arrested by Capitol Police

A couple of months ago I was arrested in the grand rotunda of the Russell Building of the United States Senate. Nearly one hundred Jewish clergy and leaders joined in song and prayer, demanding that the United States Congress pass the DREAM Act, which would grant citizenship to the nearly 800,000 Dreamers who came to the United States as children and are every bit American as my own daughters. As we sang “Olam Chesed Yibaneh” (“We will build this world with love”) over and over again, hundreds of Dreamers stood cheering us on from the balcony, ringing us like a human halo. In an...

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120 clergy and activists sitting on the floor of a Senate office building while Capitol police look on

This blog post is adapted from remarks as prepared for delivery ahead of the January 17th Jewish Action for the Dream Act, in which 85 rabbis and other Jewish leaders and activists were arrested while singing 'Olam Chesed Yibaneh' and demanding a clean Dream Act. Find more information about the protest and take action in support of the Dream Act.

Hinei mah tov, how good is it to be here together? Representing so many different North American Jewish organizations. A broad array of pluralistic Jewish life. How good is it to be together, at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation,...

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This blog post is adapted from remarks as prepared for delivery ahead of the January 17, 2018 Jewish Action for the Dream Act, in which 85 rabbis and other Jewish leaders and activists were arrested while singing 'Olam Chesed Yibaneh' and demanding a clean Dream Act. The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism joined Bend the Arc Jewish Action, the Anti-Defamation League, T'ruah and other Jewish organizations in an act of civil disobedience support of the Dreamers at the Russell Senate Office Building. More information on the protest can be found here.

Hinei Mah Tov - How good is...

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Rabbi Jonah Pesner delivers a prayer at the National Cathedrals interfaith vigil for victims of the Las Vegas shootings

Today, the Washington National Cathedral hosted an interfaith prayer service to mourn the victims of the mass shooting that took place Sunday night in Las Vegas. As, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, I offered the following words of comfort and prayer.

Just days ago, Jews across the world observed Yom Kippur, our Day of Atonement, the holiest day of the year. On this holiday, we memorialize those whom we have loved and are no longer with us. Just as today we remember and pray for the souls of the 59 men and women taken from us so violently on Sunday night,...

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Young people holding candles

Our world is imperfect. As Jews, we know this.

The Torah teaches that God created a world capable of chaos and of order. While this can sometimes create moments of despair, it is also the basis for all hope, all light in the darkness.

The violence and hatred witnessed over the weekend in Charlottesville, VA weighs heavily on our minds and in our hearts. As Americans, many of us awoke today feeling ashamed, scared and outraged. It is okay to feel these things. The fight for justice cannot come only from the head; it must come also from the heart.  

It is in these...

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