Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner

Inside Leadership
A man and two women standing at a podium

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center, made the following remarks at the 2019 URJ Biennial in Chicago. 

Only a few short years after the founding of the United States of America, George Washington expressed in an exchange of letters with the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, the oldest synagogue in the U. S., the following historic sentiment:

“For happily the Government of the United States gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean...

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  Photo by Andre Chungfor The Washington Post of TaNehisi Coates who wrote The Case for Reparations

Americans in general and faith groups in particular increasingly find ourselves reckoning with our nation’s bigoted history and struggling with how to dismantle the racist systems and structures that persist to this day. As the largest Jewish denomination in the United States, it’s time for the Reform movement to join this conversation. It’s time for us to talk reparations.

When I first read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ groundbreaking article "The Case for Reparations," I thought of a blessing that I, like many Jews, have said so many times throughout my life, including to...

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People marching over a bridge holding signs that read DO JUSTICE LOVE MERCY MARCH PROUDLY

As we prepare to enter the High Holidays, we remember that the words of the High Holiday prayer book are written in the collective, reminding us that responsibility for misdeeds and their correction lies with the community as much as the individual. As Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel once observed, “Some are guilty; all are responsible.”

We must all take responsibility for the state of our world. It is in this vein that yesterday, I joined leaders of 13 Reform Jewish institutions in expressing deep concern about the coarseness of American public discourse, led in too many ways by...

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Two young women holding signs protesting gun violence

I will not mince words: the violence we witnessed this weekend is sickening. Twenty-nine people were killed in separate mass shootings in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH – not to mention the 47 injured and four killed by guns in Chicago, and the countless more who didn’t make headlines across the United States. 

Just hours afer the shooting in El Paso, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, offered these words of comfort:

Clergy colleagues throughout El Paso will faithfully and lovingly hold up the families of the slain and wounded. So too our hearts –...

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  I will not mince words: the violence we witnessed this weekend is sickening. Twenty-nine people were killed in separate mass shootings in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH—not to mention the 47 injured and four killed by guns in Chicago, and the countless more who didn’t make headlines across the United States.  


TAKE ACTION TO SAVE LIVES

Just hours after the shooting in El Paso, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, Rabbi Rick Jacobs, offered these words of comfort:

Clergy colleagues throughout El Paso will faithfully and lovingly hold up the...

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