Agudas Chasidei Chabad
Agudas Chassidei Chabad is the umbrella organization for the worldwide Chabad-Lubavitch movement. It administers the three central Chabad Lubavitch offices: Machneh Israel, Merkos L'Inyonei Chinuch, the Kehot Publication Society; the chairman of the Executive Committee is Rabbi Abraham Shemtov. Agudas Chasidei Chabad was established by the sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn in 1923. In 1940, upon his arrival in the United States, he assumed the role of President and in 1941, upon the arrival of his son-in-law, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, he appointed him as executive chairman, its initial purpose was to "unify the Chasidim of Chabad. To establish Cheders for children and with God-fearing teachers. To establish Yeshivot for students to learn, from whom Torah may spread forth... and to support the organizations founded by the previous Rebbes."After the passing of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn in 1950, his son-in-law, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson succeeded him as President of Agudas Chassidei Chabad.
Since Agudas Chassidei Chabad has served as the umbrella organization for the Chabad Lubavitch movement. In 1984, Rabbi Schneerson selected several new people to serve on the board. After their appointments, the board consisted of the following: In March 1990, the documents were once again modified and Rabbi Schneerson selected a total of twenty-two individuals to serve as members on the board of the umbrella organization: In 2010, a New York judge ruled in favor of Agudas Chasidei Chabad, deciding over an ownership dispute between the organization and the Gabbayim of the synagogue housed at 770 Eastern Parkway; the court ordered the Gabbayim to deliver possession of the premises of 770 Eastern Parkway to Agudas Chasidei Chabad. During World War II, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak went to Poland, he was given permission by the Soviet government to take many of his religious texts from his library with him. In March 1940, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak managed to escape Europe for the United States, but was forced to leave his library behind.
In the 1970s, many of the texts were returned to Chabad. Today, the chief librarian contains over 250,000 books. Library of Agudas Chassidei Chabad
American–Israeli Cooperative Enterprise
The American–Israeli Cooperative Enterprise is a non-profit 501 U. S.-based organization established in 1993 "to strengthen the U. S.-Israel relationship." AICE's goals are enhancing the understanding and appreciation of Israel through social and educational programs in the United States, disseminating information about Israel. AICE's goals include highlighting areas where Israel might contribute to the betterment of America, publishing studies to identify specific programs and approaches that can benefit Americans. According to its mission statement, AICE aims to provide a vehicle for research and discussion between the peoples and governments of the United States and Israel. Over the years, AICE's material has been cited by news and media outlets such as CNN, Yahoo news, Haaretz, USA Today and others. A member of the Israel on Campus Coalition, AICE is independently supported by donations from various foundations and individuals. Shlomo Avineri, Gerald Steinberg, Joshua Teitelbaum, Bernice Manocherian are among the organization's board members.
AICE maintains a database that containing joint U. S.-Israel activities. The database includes recipients of grants from the Binational Science Foundation, the Binational Agricultural Research and Development Foundation and the Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation, its Economic Partnership Databank contains information on more than 10,000 U. S. companies doing business in or with Israel. To address the critical need to develop new scholars and place established Israel scholars on campus, AICE has created the Israel Scholar Development Fund; some of their other major projects include bringing Israeli professors to teach Israel-related courses on U. S campuses, supporting visiting Israeli scholars teaching in the US. AICE fellowship program, "Schusterman Visiting Israeli Professors", brings Israeli academics to American campuses in order to ensure that expertise in the field will continue to be available from Israel while expanding within the United States. Visiting Israeli professors come from the Israeli universities Hebrew University, University of Haifa, Tel Aviv University, Ben Gurion University, Bar Ilan University.
In 2008, AICE financially assisted 29 Israelis offering 70 courses in 27 universities throughout the United States and a further 11 graduate fellows and two postdoctoral research fellows. In the 2014-15 academic year, AICE selected 20 VIPs. AICE's initiatives include: Intelligence on Iran: A free, online resource providing in-depth expert analysis, extensive primary source material, a news media archive covering aspects and issues related to the Iranian nuclear program"; the Dream Team Initiative and Campus Intelligence Project: An initiative created with the purpose of countering the boycott Israel movement and other attacks against Israel, investigating the subject. "Stop BDS project: Launched in 2010, it is an online resource for students on campus and others who wish to fight the anti-Israel Boycott and Sanctions movement in their communities. Joe’s Israel: A social media campaign launched on the web, which provides a platform to empower college students in North America for a dialogue on Israel.
"The Israel Calendar": A web-based calendar, was designed to provide the pro-Israel community a monthly focus to structure Israel activism on college campuses and in Jewish communities. Books published by the American–Israeli Cooperative Enterprise include: Mitchell Geoffrey Bard. Myths And Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict. American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise. ISBN 1537152726. Mitchell Geoffrey Bard. Israel and the Campus: The Real Story. American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise.* Mitchell Geoffrey Bard. Tenured Or Tenuous: Defining the Role of Faculty in Supporting Israel on Campus. Israel on Campus Coalition. Irvin M. Asher. Breakthrough Dividend: Israeli Innovations in Biotechnology that Could Benefit Americans. American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise. Official Website
The Israel Project is a US-based 501 non-profit, non-government organization. The Israel Project is not affiliated with any government, according to the organization's website, it has a team with decades of experience in media, policy institutes, research and the military. TIP has offices in the USA and Israel, hosts press briefings featuring leading Israeli spokespeople and analysts that give journalists an opportunity to get information and answers to their questions face-to-face."According to TIP its extensive Arabic media program has 1.2 million Arabic-speaking subscribers on TIP Arabic's Facebook page "Israel Uncensored". The Israel Project was founded by Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, Margo Volftsun, Sheryl Schwartz in 2003. Ms Mizrahi served as its president until 2012, when Josh Block took over as President. Started to change US and European perceptions of Israel, it had worked in English, German, Russian and Chinese to reach a global audience. However, from the end of 2012. S. and Israel. As of late 2016, its board of advisors included thirty-six Democratic and Republican members of the US House and US Senate.
TIP operates offices in Washington, D. C. and Jerusalem. TIP was the first Jewish or pro-Israel group to host Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad in the United States. TIP conducts polling and public opinion research with US focus groups and advises Israeli experts and political leaders on the most effective factual ways to present their views to US audiences: "We share information with all the political leaders across the political spectrum because they're the ones being interviewed on television" TIP provides information to journalists by offering background material, press conferences, one-on-one interviews with these experts and political figures, such as Shimon Peres. TIP has supplied information for thousands of news stories around the world, as part of their "pro-Israel media advocacy" efforts. TIP buys commercial time to air pro-Israel advertising on CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and other cable networks. According to the organization's website, "TIP informs, providing facts, access to experts and keen analysis.
It offers real-time background information, maps, video and direct access to newsmakers. TIP organizes press briefings and speaker tours, conference calls and educational trips, supports non-profit journalism, conducts public affairs research and adheres to the highest possible standards of accuracy and reliability." TIP distributes a daily newsletter, the Daily TIP, which provides updates and insights on events in the region. TIP's President and CEO, Josh Block, a former official in the Clinton Administration and spokesman for AIPAC, published an op-ed in 2016 critical of the "increasingly isolationist wing of the Democratic party," which he called "neo-progs." In 2013, TIP launched TheTower.org. The Tower Magazine is a long-form online magazine published monthly, while TheTower.org is a live-updated news site covering facts and analysis about events affecting Israel and the Middle East. David Hazony serves as editor-in-chief of the publications; every year The Israel Project offers the opportunity for college and graduate school students to participate in a media internship program.
The fellows undergo intensive training, working with leading journalists and communications professionals to gain the out-of-classroom experience necessary to secure post-graduate career opportunities. Throughout the nine-week program, fellows participate in all aspects of The Israel Project, from writing articles for publication to conducting interviews and organizing press events. Part of TIP's efforts in Jerusalem include providing helicopter flights for foreign journalists and leaders visiting the country, called'Intellicopter' tours. Members of the media and leaders are given an opportunity to witness firsthand the strategic difficulties facing Israel as a result of its small size; the two-and–a-half hour tour is led by TIP's guides who offer an analysis of Israel's history and current security challenges. Journalists from over 300 media outlets have taken TIP's intellicopter tour, a large portion of news footage about the country is taken from this aerial view; the Israel Project commissioned a study by Frank Luntz who ran polls and focus groups to determine the best language to use to promote Israeli settlements to the American public.
The study was leaked to Newsweek online. It recommends framing the issue as being about peace not settlements; the document lists arguments that don't work, in particular noting that religious, ownership and "scapegoat" arguments failed to sway listeners, that Arab housing is being demolished in East Jerusalem because it fails to meet the building code, the worst claim by this group in the guide is "Israel is so rich and so strong that they fail to see why it is necessary for armored tanks to shoot at unarmed kids" para page 90. This study states that "public opinion is hostile to the settlements—even among supporters of Israel" so instead of dwelling on settlements one should always talk positively and focus on past peace achievement. Criticism of TIP includes arguments that its rhetoric "promot and improv the image of the State of Israel". Critics such as J Street describe the advice as "If you get a question about settlements, change the subject. If pressed, say stopping settlements is "a kind of ethnic cleansing".
J Street sent a mailing to their organization asking their members to send letters to TIP asking them to "remove pro-settlement fear-mongering talking points from
National Jewish Democratic Council
The National Jewish Democratic Council was a political lobbying organization that advocated within the Democratic Party for viewpoints aligned with the American Jewish community and in support of the state of Israel, within the political process between 1990 and about 2016. The NJDC's main issues were the U. S.-Israel relationship, separation of church and state, reproductive rights. The NJDC engaged in voter education efforts, worked with secular and Jewish media to promote the Democratic Party and its ideals; the organization served as a resource to Democratic candidates nationally, educating them on issues of importance to the Jewish community. The NJDC served as a liberal watchdog on the lawful activities of the religious portion of the Right, acting to raise public awareness about efforts to undermine the wall between church and state. In 2007, its Annual Washington Conference attracted every major Democratic candidate for president, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, several party leaders, including Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.
NJDC worked on the national level to help turn out Jewish voters in the 2004 elections, 2008 elections, 2012 elections. NJDC worked to send voter guides and direct mail to targeted Jewish households. In 2004, NJDC targeted 250,000 Jewish households in swing states with an intensive direct mail campaign. Accumulating debts, a declining number of donors, outsourcing of functions, a defamation lawsuit filed by Republican donor Sheldon Adelson against the NJDC led to the organization's decline between about 2014 and 2016, it disappeared from the political scene prior to the 2016 presidential election, in legal pleadings, stated that it continued to exist only to pay its bills and because of the continuing litigation against Adelson. Some of its leadership campaigned for the 2016 Clinton presidential campaign under the Jews for Progress PAC banner; the group was replaced on a de facto basis in 2017 by the Jewish Democratic Council of America, which began its activities three months ahead of schedule because of President Donald Trump’s perceived equivocal response to the 2017 Charlottesville march and violence.
The National Jewish Democratic Council was founded in 1990 as the national voice of Jewish Democrats. Its stated priorities included: Educating Jewish voters about the differences between their Democratic and Republican candidates for elected office through special reports and voter guides. Informing candidates for public office about the need to address and support issues of concern to the Jewish community. Advocating on behalf of Jewish and Democratic ideals on Capitol Hill and in Jewish and national media. Fighting the radical right agenda at every turn through research and reports, grass-roots advocacy, working directly with lawmakers in Washington, educating journalists. Engaging and cultivating a new generation of young Jewish Democratic leaders by replicating the Washington-based Young Leadership program in other major cities, including New York, Los Angeles and South Florida. Expanding Jewish awareness of critical legislative activity through quarterly and bi-weekly publications, as well as Breakfast Roundtables and Domestic Issues Forums featuring Congressional and executive branch leaders.
Senator Ben Cardin, Honorary Chair Senator Ron Wyden, Honorary Chair Stephen Bittel, Vice-Chair, Miami, FL Steve Rabinowitz, Vice-Chair, Washington, D. C. Marc Winkelman, Vice Chair, Austin, TX Sheldon Cohen, Washington, D. C. Sunita Leeds, Washington, D. C. In October 2008, the NJDC held a conference in Washington, D. C. at which Vice Presidential candidate Joe Biden was the keynote speaker. Other notable speakers included Governor Howard Dean, it was noted that "In 2008, the NJDC trained nearly 100 surrogates to speak around country, according to Forman, ran newspaper ad campaigns in pivotal swing states, sent 350,000 targeted pieces of mail to Jewish households, dropped 35,000 pieces of literature in key Jewish neighborhoods, ran Internet and Google word search campaigns". In an article written on November 9, 2008, it was mentioned that "American Jewish voters have once again overwhelmingly supported the Democratic presidential nominee", that "with Obama's victory, we selected a candidate who shares the values of the vast majority of American Jews, including the separation of church and state, a strong U.
S.-Israel relationship, reproductive freedom". During the final days of the 2008 presidential campaign, an article came out explaining that the "National Jewish Democratic Council is sending out more than 350,000 mailers to Jewish households in key swing states, re-asserting the Democratic nominees stance on a number of issues"; this article includes many fliers put out by the NJDC in order to inform voters about Barack Obama and Joe Biden's positions on Israel. Marc Stanley, chairman of the NJDC, wrote an op-ed in the JTA entitled "Why Jews Voted for Obama". In the article, he gave two explanations: "First, Obama’s performance in the debates belied the GOP narrative that he could not be trusted, while McCain’s pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate undermined his Jewish support. Second, Jewish Democrats - the National Jewish Democratic Council, along with the Obama campaign and other independent efforts - were better organized than ever." In 2008, exit polls showed. The NJDC approved of the Obama administration's policies such as the 2009 stimulus package, the president's decision to pull out of Durban II, the UN conference against racism, known to be a forum for anti-Israel agitation
Hadassah Women's Zionist Organization of America
Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America is an American Jewish volunteer women's organization. Founded in 1912 by Henrietta Szold, it is one of the largest international Jewish organizations, with 330,000 members in the United States. Hadassah fundraises for community programs and health initiatives in Israel, including the Hadassah Medical Center, a leading research hospital in Israel renowned for its inclusion of and treatment for all religions and races in Jerusalem. In the US, the organization advocates on behalf of women's rights, religious autonomy and US-Israel diplomacy. In Israel, Hadassah supports health education and research, women's initiatives and programs for underprivileged youth. In 2012, Hadassah opened the Sarah Wetsman Davidson Hospital Tower, a 500 bed-facility with 20 operating theaters, as well as five below-ground floors for protection from terrorist attacks. In 2014, National President Marcie Natan was named one of The Jerusalem Post's "Top 50 Most Influential Jews."
At a meeting at Temple Emanu-El in New York City on February 24, 1912, Henrietta Szold together with other Zionist women, proposed to the Daughters of Zion study circle that they expand their purpose and embrace proactive work to help meet the health needs of Palestine's people. The goal was to promote the Zionist ideal through education, public health initiatives, the training of nurses in what was the Palestine region of the Ottoman Empire; because the meeting was held around the time of Purim, the women called themselves "The Hadassah chapter of the Daughters of Zion," adopting the Hebrew name of Queen Esther. Henrietta Szold became the first president. Within a year, Hadassah had five growing chapters in New York, Cleveland and Boston, its charter articulates twin goals: to begin public-health initiatives and nurses training in Palestine, to foster Zionist ideals through education in America. In 1913, Hadassah sent two nurses to Rose Kaplan and Rae Landy, they set up a small public health station in Jerusalem to provide maternity care and treat trachoma, a dreaded eye disease rampant in the Middle East.
The core of future Hadassah education programs emerged when Jessie Sampter founded The Hadassah School of Zionism in New York in 1915. The school required chapter leaders to take courses, instituted a correspondence course and inspires other Hadassah chapters to create their own Schools of Zionism. Sampter published "A Course in Zionism," a collection of facts and reading lists financed by prominent American Zionist, Judge Louis Brandeis. By 1916, Hadassah established the Palestine Purchasing and Supplies Department to buy and ship items unavailable in the yishuv, the pre-state Jewish community in Palestine. Although Hadassah's first two nurses were compelled to return to America in 1915, the physicians with whom they had co-operated– Dr. Avraham Ticho and Dr. Helena Kagan – as well as the midwives and probationers were able to carry on their work. Hadassah established the American Zionist Medical Unit in 1918, composed of 45 doctors, nurses and sanitary engineers; the Unit was set up to combat the intolerable health conditions of postwar Palestine and to create permanent health and welfare programs.
From the beginning, it established a principle that it would serve all with equal care, regardless of race, ethnicity or nationality. The AZMU helped to establish six hospitals in Palestine which were turned over to municipal authorities. Led by Alice Seligsberg, the Unit sailed for Palestine in June, bringing needed drugs, medical instruments and supplies and clothing; that year, Hadassah founded a nursing school to train local personnel and create a cadre of nurses. Over the next few years, the Unit, based in the old Rothschild Hospital in Jerusalem, initiated American-style health and welfare programs with intensive campaigns to wipe out malaria, cholera and scalp diseases in many Jewish communities in the yishuv; the Unit organized a sanitation program and founded Hadassah hospitals in Jaffa and Safed, as well as opened the Nurses Training School at the Rothschild Hospital in Jerusalem. The first 22 young women graduated from Hadassah's Nurses' Training School in 1921. In 1924, the Unit's name is changed to Hadassah Medical Organization.
In 1919, Hadassah organized the first School Hygiene Department in Palestine to give routine health examinations to Jerusalem school children. During the Arab riots of 1920, Hadassah nurses cared for the wounded on both sides. Henrietta Szold moved to Jerusalem that year to develop community health and preventive care programs. Back in New York in 1920, Alice Seligsberg formed Junior Hadassah, which provided innovative programs for young women who wanted to participate in Hadassah's Zionist mission. In the same year, Henrietta Szold moved to Palestine to lead the medical work started by the Unit, she remained based in Jerusalem until her death in 1945. In 1921, Hadassah nurse Bertha Landsman created Palestine's first permanent infant welfare station, Tipat Halav, in Jerusalem; the overwhelming success inspired Hadassah to expand the program, delivering fresh milk to needy families by "donkey express." Hadassah opened a hospital in Tel Aviv, the city's first hospital. Under Hadassah's philosophy of "devolution," it initiated and developed a number of facilities and projects and transferred them to the appropriate municipalities.
Hadassah transferred administration of this hospital to the Tel Aviv municipality in 1931. 1923: Hadassah instituted a school lunch program to teach nutrition and serve healthy meals to children and teenagers in Palestine. Pennies are collected by American Hebrew school students to fund this project, devolved to
Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah
Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah is the supreme rabbinical policy-making council of several related prestigious Haredi intra-national organizations. The component words of the name are transliterated in a variety of ways; this is done as Moetzet, less as Gedolai and ha-Torah or ha Torah. The phrase is shortened to Moetzes or The Moetzah. Rabbis sitting on the various Moetzos are either one of the more prestigious Roshei Yeshiva of yeshivas or Hasidic rebbes who are usually regarded by many ultra-Orthodox Jews to be the Gedolim sages of Torah Judaism. Prior to World War II, only one such body existed, the World Agudath Israel; the Council of Torah Sages was established following the establishment of Agudath Israel in Katowice in 1912. It was decided at the time that two councils would be set up for the movement: a council of homeowners and a council of rabbis in which there will be members of Torah giants around the world; the Moetzes of Agudath Israel of America serve as religious decisors and political and policy liaisons with state and federal government agencies on behalf of many American Orthodox Jews.
The council, consisting of rosh yeshivas and Hasidic rebbes, directs Agudath's policies and leadership. Known as the Moetzet Chachmei HaTorah, the body was founded in 1948, it sets all major policies, guides the organization according to its precepts of Da'as Torah. The Moetzet of Agudat Yisrael constituted the Israeli Ashkenazic Haredi community's religious policy leadership, exercises strong control over political matters for observant Israelis, such as joining government coalitions. Prior to Degel HaTorah's late 1980s break from Agudat Israel, there was only one Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah in Israel. With the breakaway, two separate, at times complementary, councils were created; the Haredi Sephardi Jews of Israel had at one time followed the leadership of the Moetzet of Agudat Yisrael when it was still a body that spoke for most of Israel's Haredim. However, the Haredi Sephardim broke with their Ashkenazi counterparts, established the Moetzet Chachmei HaTorah, which in turn became the source for the formulation and expression of the policies and agenda of the Shas political party in the Israeli Knesset.
Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef became the main leadership figure of this council. In Katowice were appointed to the council Rabbi Avraham Mordechai Alter, Rebbe of Ger, Rabbi Sholom Dovber Schneerson Rebbe of Chabad, Rabbi Chaim Soloveitchik, Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac Halevy, Rabbi Meir Simcha of Dvinsk, Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grodzinski, Rabbi Itzela of Ponevezh, Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Breuer, Rabbi Ze'ev Feilchenfeld of Posen, Rabbi David Zvi Hoffmann, Rabbi Kopel Reich of Budapest. At the great congress in Vienna in 1923, the Council included: the Chafetz Chaim, the Gerrer Rebbe, Rabbi Yisroel Friedman the Chortkov Rebbe, Rabbi Chaim Ozer Grodzinski, Rabbi Meir Arik, Rabbi Yitzchak Zelig Morgenstern the Admor of Sokolov,Rabbi Mordechai Yosef Elazar Leiner the Admor of Radzin, Rabbi Meir Dan Plotzky, Rabbi Moshe Mordechai Epstein, Rabbi Meir Shapira of Lublin, Rabbi Avraham Mendel Steinberg of Brod, Rabbi Kalman Weber of Piestany and Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Breuer. Alphabetically:Rabbi Pinchas Menachem Alter, Rebbe of Ger Simcha Bunim Alter, Rebbe of Ger Yisrael Alter, Rebbe of Ger Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, Rosh Yeshiva of Kol Torah Yosef Shalom Eliashiv, prominent Posek Aryeh Finkel, Rosh Yeshiva of Mir-Brachfeld Nosson Tzvi Finkel, Rosh Yeshiva of Mir Avraham Yaakov Friedman, 3rd Rebbe of Sadigura Avraham Yaakov Friedman, 5th Rebbe of Sadigura Moshe Yehoshua Hager Levi Yitzchak Horowitz, Rebbe of Boston Michel Yehuda Lefkowitz Isser Zalman Meltzer Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg Boruch Shimon Schneerson Elazar Menachem Shach Zalman Sorotzkin Yisroel Don Taub Avrohom Yehoshua Heschel Twerski Binyamin Zilber Alphabetically:Yaakov Aryeh Alter, Rebbe of Ger Shmuel Barzovski, Rebbe of Slonim Nachum Dov Brayer, Rebbe of Boyan Yisroel Moshe Friedman, Rebbe of Sadigura Eliezer Hager, Rebbe of Seret-Vizhnitz Menachem Mendel Hager, Rebbe of Vizhnitz-Merkaz Zvi Elimelech Halberstam, Rebbe of Klausenburg Mayer Alter Horowitz, Rebbe of Boston Ben Zion Rabinovich, Rebbe of Biala Yissachar Dov Rokeach, Rebbe of Belz Yochanan Sofer, Rebbe of Erlau Chaim Shaul Taub, Rebbe of Modzitz Alphabetically: Yehuda Ades, rosh yeshiva of Kol Yaakov Meir Tzvi Bergman, rosh yeshiva of the Yeshiva Rashbi Dovid Cohen, rosh yeshiva of Chevron Yeshiva Gershon Edelstein, rosh yeshiva of the Ponevezh Yeshiva Baruch Mordechai Ezrachi, rosh yeshiva of Ateres Yisrael Moshe Hillel Hirsch, rosh yeshiva of Slabodka yeshiva Nissim Karelitz Berel Povarsky, rosh yeshiva of the Ponevezh Yeshiva Yitzchok Scheiner, rosh yeshiva of the Yeshiva Kamenitz Moshe Yehuda Shlesinger, rosh yeshiva of Kol Torah Chaim Kanievsky, Son of Yaakov Yisrael Kanievsky Dov Yaffe, of Kfar Chasidim Yitzchak Zilberstein, Rav of Ramat Elchanan Alphabetically:Moshe Feinstein Mordec
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
The Religious Action Center is the political and legislative outreach arm of Reform Judaism in the United States. The Religious Action Center is operated under the auspices of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, a joint body of the Central Conference of American Rabbis and the Union for Reform Judaism, it was founded in 1961. Consistent with the political and social concerns of Reform Judaism, the Religious Action Center played a key role in important political events of the American civil rights movement, the struggles of Soviet Jewry, as well as the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Darfur, it hosted several meetings at which the groundwork for the various pieces of legislation, including the Civil Rights Acts and Voting Rights Acts, were laid. It shielded civil rights marchers who were attacked by District of Columbia police. Aside from its community organizing and direct advocacy work, the Religious Action Center has been a hub of social justice programming for the Reform Jewish community.
The L'Taken seminar series has given thousands of young Jews the opportunity to visit Washington, D. C. and learn about Jewish values. The Religious Action Center hosted a Passover seder for the Dalai Lama in the late 1990s. Rabbi David Saperstein served at Religious Action Center from 1974 to 2015, as director and chief legal counsel. In that role he was recognized by Newsweek Magazine in 2009 as "the most influential rabbi in the country". On July 28, 2014, President Barack Obama nominated Saperstein to be the first non-Christian to hold the post of United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. In December 2014, Saperstein's appointment to the post won U. S. Senate confirmation. In January 2015, Saperstein was succeeded at Religious Action Center by Rabbi Jonah Pesner. Pesner grew up in New York, served as a congregational rabbi in Boston, he created "Just Congregations" in 2006, a program that teaches congregations to join in interfaith advocacy for social justice issues.
Pesner will continue to serve as Senior Vice President of the Union for Reform Judaism, a post he has held since 2011. The Washington Post described the director position at Religious Action Center as being "the closest thing to being American Jews' lobbyist on non-Israel issues." Those issues have included health care, prison reform, marriage equality and reproductive freedom, while Pesner expects to increase the organization's focus on racial and economic disparities. Because Religious Action Center's priorities most approximate those of the Democratic Party, Religious Action Center has, at times, struggled in an polarized Congress. Saperstein's close alignment with the Democratic Party at times earned him suspicion of the Republican Party, while Pesner will represent a Jewish community at a time when Gallup polls show Jewish loyalty to the Democratic Party has dropped from 71% in 2008 to 61% in 2014. Official website Guide to Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism Soviet Jewry Collection at the American Jewish Historical Society, New York