Q: Are congregations permitted to take positions on upcoming
state ballot initiatives?
A: Although nonprofit organizations are limited in the amount of
lobbying they can do, organizing for justice, joining coalitions, and taking
positions on issues of concern—including state ballot initiatives—are all
permissible. Congregations cannot take a position on candidates for public
office or seek to influence an election; they can, however, provide
nonpartisan educational and informational programs, candidates forums,
and “Get Out the Vote” activities. To learn more, read Speak Truth to
Power and more at www.rac.org/vote.
Q: I am a new social action chair. Where do I start?
A: For program ideas and advocacy assistance, visit two online
guides: K’hilat Tzedek: Creating a Community of Justice and Speak
Truth to Power (http://rac.org/pubs/guidemanuals/).
For social action programming tools, click on the links (“Take Action,” “Program
Bank,” “Resources,” etc.) at the Commission on Social Action site (www.urj.org/csa) and the “Congregational
Tools” button on the Religious Action Center website (www.rac.org) for “Social Action Chair’s
Resources,” “Mitzvah Day Manual,” and more. The Social Action Calendar (http://www.urj.org/csa/takeaction/calendar/)
can help you plan the coming year’s program. We also recommend Lirdof Tzedek:
A Guide to Synagogue Social Action (http://rac.org/pubs/guidemanuals/),
available from the URJ Press.