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Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner


“If I survived, it must be for some reason.”

Elie Wiesel spoke those words in a New York Times interview in 1981. Throughout his life, Wiesel lived with purpose and lent meaning to his survival. As a witness to the most extreme atrocities and in his lifetime as an activist, he changed the way we think about human rights and the way we understand our responsibility to each other.

It is hard to imagine now, with Night selling over 10 million copies and being a fixture on the curriculum of many American students, that at the time of its initial publication, the world didn’t...

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What a whirlwind year! As we close out an exciting 2015, my first as the director of the Religious Action Center, this note of thanks is to tell you how much I appreciate your ongoing support for me personally, and for the Reform Movement’s work of Tikkun Olam.

A snapshot of this past year shows the impact we can have when we work together to make our nation and our world more just:

Drawing on the Reform Movement’s history and our shared Jewish values, we embarked on a renewed campaign for racial justice in the United States. From commemorating the 50th anniversary of...

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RAC Director Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner with IMPJ Executive Director Gilad Kariv at the WZC

Shalom from Jerusalem, where I am one of the 56 delegates representing ARZA at this week’s World Zionist Congress, which just concluded on Thursday. I am here with leaders of our Movement, representatives of NFTY, college students, RAC staff and alumni who have joined with Progressive Zionists from around the world who are members of ARZENU, the international Reform Zionist Movement. It is a blessing to be here showing solidarity with Israel during these violent times. Our Israeli sisters and brothers keep expressing gratitude that we are here with them, despite the wave of terror. I am...

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When the NAACP’s America’s Journey for Justice began in Selma, AL, on August 1, the Reform Movement was there as a partner and ally.

This historic 860-mile march in which nearly 200 Reform rabbis and activists are participating, will culminate in Washington, D.C. on September 16. Throughout, the marchers are demonstrating to our nation’s leaders that Americans from a diverse array of faiths and backgrounds share a commitment to racial justice, and that it is past time for passage of legislation that will help bring the United States closer to its founding ideals of equality for all...

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Yesterday, we reflected on the pride our Reform Jewish community should have for the great advocacy work we have done on behalf of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) rights over the past several decades. While we should take pride in our previous advocacy efforts, there are still many more steps that need to be taken in order to achieve LGBT equality. Today, we want to highlight one of the most important battles for LGBT rights in the coming years: the fight for explicit, comprehensive, and non-discriminatory protections for LGBT people.

In yesterday's piece, we...

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