January 2018 – What We’re Doing
Reform Jewish Voice of New Jersey (RJVNJ), an arm of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, is a means for Reform Jews across our state to join together with a strong and effective voice. We build partnerships and coalitions across lines of race, class, and faith to work together for a more just and compassionate New Jersey. We advocate in Trenton and around the state for public policy that embodies the principles of the Reform Jewish Movement; through grassroots outreach we build relationships and collaborate with New Jersey synagogues, organizations, and individuals to address critical social justice issues facing our state.
To learn more or to join RJVNJ, please contact co-chairs Liz Cohen or Rabbi Ethan Prosnit email@example.com or feel free to reach out to Rickie Kashdan, a member of Temple Beth Miriam at firstname.lastname@example.org or call/text 732-927-0795.
Below is a message from the RJVNJ co-chairs sharing upcoming actions and events planned for 2018. It will be wonderful to have a large group of engaged members from Temple Beth Miriam actively bringing our Jewish principles and values out into the world and to our State.
We in RJVNJ have much to look forward to in 2018. Here are some actions to take and plan for:
- Connecting with our Legislators
Our new state legislature were just sworn in. Many of us will be represented by new assembly reps and/or senators, all of us will see new opportunities for progress in social justice with the swearing in of Governor-elect Murphy next week.
Please call or email your representatives to welcome them to the new term, wish them well, and let them know that as a member of Reform Jewish Voice of New Jersey you look forward to building/strengthening connections with them.
Our RJVNJ Trenton Advocacy Day is March 12.
If you know you will be joining us, please let your legislators know and ask them to mark their calendars. (we will follow up to make appointments, but let us know if an appt comes out of your conversation).
In any case please mark your calendars. Details coming soon; we hope you can join us for this exciting day!
You can find contact info for your legislators at:
- Dream Act Calls
Sadly we are still without a Dream Act to protect the 22,000 dreamers in New Jersey (800,000 across the country). We must keep the pressure on: use the RAC’s text message prompt with the words ‘RAC4Dream’ to 877877 to call your Senators and Representative and tell them this issue should not be held hostage to politics; ask them to keep fighting for a clean Dream Act today.
Or you can call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-2131.
III. Women’s March in Morristown, January 20
Many of us felt the power of marching last year in cities across the country. This year New Jersey’s main march will be held in Morristown, 11AM-1PM.
Several of our advocacy partners are co-sponsoring the march and we expect it to be powerful, energizing, and inspiring.
We would like to gather together as RJVNJ to join in this march. Please let us know if you are interested. Details for gathering will come next week.
- RJVNJ House Meetings in February
We are excited to share that we are launching a new campaign of RJVNJ house meetings for the month of February. In homes or synagogues, Reform Jews will gather to talk about our common concerns, reflect on how we maintain resilience in hard times, and talk about ways we can have meaningful impact in our state through RJVNJ. We will focus on building relationships with each other, with our state legislators, and with our advocacy partners, and we will encourage all to meet with legislators in Trenton (March 12!) or at home.
Our leadership team is eager to help you plan a house meeting in your community. Please let us know if you would like to participate!
Wishing you warmth in body and spirit.
Liz Cohen and Rabbi Ethan Prosnit, RJVNJ co-chairs
RJVNJ ADVOCACY PARTNERS
ACLU – Sanctuary, Criminal Justice Reform, Hate Crimes, Voter Protection
Anti-Poverty Network – affordable housing, hunger, homelessness issues
DIRE – Rapid Response Teams to fight deportation in New Brunswick
Faith in New Jersey – (PICO) organizing network, focused on sanctuary, hate crimes, voter protection, and more; building on relationship with Rabbis Organizing Rabbis
Garden State Equality — LGBTQ issues (worked closely on marriage equality)
Greenfaith – environmental issues; Jersey Renews coalition
Interfaith RISE & HIAS — Refugee Resettlement & Advocacy
National Council of Jewish Women – sex trafficking, various shared concerns
NRCAT – National Religious Coalition Against Torture — Solitary Confinement
NJ for Health Care Coalition, headed by NJ Citizen Action – Health Care
NJ Together (IAF)/Do Not Stand Idly By — Gun safety/violence prevention
New Jersey Working Families – Paid sick days, Minimum wage, advocacy training
NJ State Association of Jewish Federations – many shared issues
Planned Parenthood — Choice Protection
Despite the snowy afternoon, several social action members met at Temple Beth Miriam on Dec 9th to make soup. Thanks to Michael Vernick, Rickie Kashdan, Frank, Liza and Maya Restifo, Robert, Gayle, Michael and Elliot Topper, and Sue and Sherri for braving the elements. Michael Topper and Maya Restifo focused on baking brownies and cookies for the sale. The rest of us chopped and sautéed and simmered well into the evening. In the end we made over 100 quarts of soup and 3 kinds of treats that were sold after religious school on Dec 10th. From sales and generous donations we made $450 to buy necessities for the pantry at The Lutheran Church of the Reformation. Thanks to all the chefs and supporters for making this such a successful event.