Support of State, Provincial and Local Advocacy, Resolution in

Resolution Adopted by the CCAR


Adopted by the 116th Annual Convention

of the Central Conference of American Rabbis

Houston, TX

March, 2005


"God has told you, Adam, what is good and what The Eternal requires of you: only to do justice and to love goodness ." [Micah 6:8]. Committed Reform Jews answer that call in many ways, including synagogue-based programs that provide direct help to needy persons: food, clothing, shelter, books, companionship, tutoring — countless programs benefiting millions of people. In order to fulfill our Jewish responsibility for tikkun olam (repairing the world), we must continue to provide these direct services, but we must also work towards systemic change and address the root causes of social and economic injustice. Otherwise, the suffering we seek to alleviate is bound to continue.

Reform Judaism has long been a voice for justice in public affairs. Recognizing that "the law of the land is law" [Baba Kamma 113a], the Commission on Social Action (CSA) and the Religious Action Center (RAC), on behalf of Reform Jewry, have done much to promote legislation and policies embodying our Jewish principles and values.

For the most part, our efforts have focused on the federal government. Yet, many social justice issues are matters of state, provincial, and/or local policy and programs, ranging from criminal justice and education to crucial safety net programs and civil rights. Far too often, the only religious voices being heard in state and provincial capitals are those of the extreme right.

In keeping with the words of Torah, we are instructed to ensure just government in all the settlements in which we live [Deut 16:18]. Accordingly, many of our congregations and regional affiliates have begun to address this level of advocacy, often working in cooperation with local Jewish Community Relations Councils, Jewish coalitions and interfaith networks. These actions demonstrate the desire and need for a mechanism of legislative advocacy at a local, state, and/or provincial level for Reform Jews in a timely manner.

Therefore, the CCAR:

  • Recognizes that our efforts to repair the world cannot be fully effective unless we engage in advocacy at the federal, state, provincial and local levels to eliminate the causes of injustice;

  • Notes with pride the work of the Religious Action Center and the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism to achieve social justice;

  • Endorses the efforts of those congregations and affiliates who are working at the state, provincial and local levels to replicate the educational and advocacy work done by the RAC and CSA;

  • Urges rabbis, congregations, and affiliates throughout the United States and Canada to become engaged in state, provincial and local advocacy, working collaboratively with others who share our values and concerns

    *Text based on Resolution Endorsing the Reform Jewish Voice of New York State