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July 22, 2014 | 24th Tamuz 5774
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Social Action & The URJ

Rabbi Maurice Eisendrath marching with Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In a photo that is emblematic of the relationship between the Jewish and Black communities during the Civil Rights Movement, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rabbi Maurice Eisendrath, and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel are pictured at the conclusion of the famous march for voting rights from Selma to Montgomery in 1965.  Rabbi Eisendrath, carrying the Torah in this photo, provided an invocation at a rally that occurred at the conclusion of the march. Rabbi Heschel was one of this century’s great religious figures and a close colleague of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Leadership
Rabbi David SapersteinRabbi David Saperstein
Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Described in a Washington Post profile as the "quintessential religious lobbyist on Capitol Hill," he has represented the national Reform Jewish Movement to Congress and the Administration during his 30-year tenure. More

Cheryl Guttman
Dr. Cheryl Gutmann
Chair, Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism
Dr. Cheryl Gutmann is chair of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism (CSA) and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ). More

Commission on Social Action Mission Statement
The Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism is a joint body of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Union and its affiliates that seeks to apply the insights of Jewish tradition to such domestic and foreign issues as human rights, world peace, civil liberties, religious freedom, famine, poverty, intergroup relations, as well as other major societal concerns. The CSA interprets these policies as necessary to speak to current issues and legislation, and develops the foundation for new resolutions to be adopted by the Union or the CCAR in the future. At times, the Commission adopts resolutions in its own name on issues that are consistent with principles already articulated by the Union or the CCAR, and therefore require no further action by those bodies.
A History of Reform Judaism & Social Action
“The core of our insight [as Reform Jews] is that serious Jewish study inevitably leads to the soup kitchen; that serious prayer, among other vital things, is a way of preparing to do battle with injustice, that social justice without being grounded in text, without a sense of God’s presence, is ephemeral and unsustainable. The heart of the argument is that there is no such thing as ‘Social Action Judaism,’ that the thread of social justice is so authentically and intricately woven into the many-colored fabric we call Judaism that if you seek to pull that thread out, the entire fabric unravels, that the Judaism that results is distorted, is neutered, is rendered aimless.”  – Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Why advocacy?
To be a Reform Jew is to hear the voice of the prophets in our head; to be engaged in the ongoing work of tikkun olam; to strive to improve the world in which we live. More
 
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