Harvey Brownstone. Growing up as a Reform Jew and becoming the first openly gay judge in Canada led Justice Harvey Brownstone to play a role in one of the most important civil rights cases in U.S. history championing equality for gay and lesbians in marriage. This is his story. Cover Story, Fall 2013.
Karen L. Loewy. We are at an incredibly exciting moment in the movement for marriage equality for same-sex couples in the United States. Here’s my brief story of how we’ve reached this moment. Fall 2013.
Janos Maté. Reflections on how the author’s whole life journey, including his Jewish upbringing, inspired him to become an activist, taking on perilous assignments to make the world a better place. Summer 2013.
Q&A with Jackie Curtis Silverman. The founder of The New Orleans Women’s Shelter reflects on having decided “to no longer live my sheltered life telling myself that homelessness was a government problem to solve.” Summer 2012. PDF.
Evan “Happy” Braude. “Engagement gives meaning to my life, and from meaning I derive happiness.” Part of Focus “Happiness.” Winter 2011.
This tribute to the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism’s 50th anniversary includes “Fighting for a Better Future: 12 Milestones,” chronicling a dozen historic milestones where the RAC was at the forefront of social justice; and reflections by two former RAC Eisendrath Legislative Assistants, Brandeis President Frederick Lawrence and Rabbi David Stern, on being shaped by the LA experience. Fall 2011.
Ellen Marks. Personal story of a woman whose husband, 56, was diagnosed with a malignant, lethal brain tumor. Before his diagnosis the family had no idea that some researchers had linked prolonged cell phone use with brain tumors. An epiphany during Shabbat services at her congregation galvanized the author to take action, becoming a leading spokesperson on the perils of unsafe cell phone use and an advocate for governmental legislation that would mandate appropriate warnings regarding levels of radiation to consumers at point of purchase. Includes “Ellen Marks’ Recommended Cell Phone Precautions.” Fall 2011.
YES perspective by Jonathan Biatch, NO perspective by Clifford E. Librach. Summer 2011.
A member of Sinai Temple, Champaign, Illinois reflects on the challenges and meaning of her volunteer work in Haiti and other locales. PDF. Summer 2011.
For his temple mitzvah project in preparation for his becoming a bar mitzvah, Ryan Coretz of Temple Israel, Tulsa, Oklahoma raised $60,000 to build a Habitat for Humanity house and helped construct it, too. Summer 2011.
Richard Jacobs. Was it God's will or human injustice that caused so many deaths in Haiti? Includes sidebar on URJ Haiti relief efforts. Spring 2011.
A conversation with Howard Schwartz. The origins and initial messages of tikkun olam. Winter 2009.
No byline. Answering the questions: Are congregations permitted to take positions on upcoming state ballot initiatives, and how can new Reform social action chairs best get started? Summer 2009.
Daniel David May. Reform congregants throughout America are engaged in a radical rethinking of social action-community organizing-using the same community organizing model that propelled President Barack Obama to victory. Spring 2009.
Judy Priven. Volunteer teaching in Kampala, Uganda in front of "a classroom of at least sixty students of various ages; no textbooks, pens, or pencils; and a blackboard so pale that my chalk marks vanished on impact." Spring 2009.
Carolyn Slutsky. A leader of the Jewish community in Uganda brings together Jews, Christians, and Muslims for a joint coffee cooperative that raises their economic prospects and improves interfaith relations. Part of Focus: The African Connection. Spring 2009.
Selma Burley For years I'd admired people who volunteered for missions across the globe. At age 65, I took the leap, and began teaching in Ghana. Part of Focus: The African Connection. Spring 2009.
Josh Ruxin. Personal story of how the author, a Reform Jew from Ridgefield, Connecticut, created on-the-ground organizations and strategies for prosperity creation in Rwanda. Part of Focus: The African Connection. Spring 2009.
Donald Cohen-Cutler. Community actions taken by Reform Jews and congregations to help the uninsured millions in America; includes URJ social action resources. Winter 2008.
An interview with Anat Hoffman, who leads the Reform Movement's struggle against injustice in Israel, on legal, advocacy, and communal social action initiatives that are making a difference. Winter 2008.
An introduction to the range of Reform Jewish thinking on tikkun olam. Summer 2008.
Elisa Ruth Schindler. The true story of the organ donation that saved the life of a member of the Schindler clan; includes resources on organ donation. Spring 2007.
Wiesel reflects on the message he instilled during the Holocaust to never be silent in the face of indifference and what all human beings can do to maintain this larger perspective on the world. Part of Focus: Healing the World. Winter 2005.
Interview with Rabbi Daniel Freelander. Step-by-step account of how the Union for Reform Judaism, in conjunction with hundreds of Reform congregations, helped hundreds affected by Hurricane Katrina way before the federal government took action. Part of Focus: Healing the World. Winter 2005
The associate director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism reflects on the Reform Movement's behind-the-scenes political partnerships with unexpected bedfellows in pursuit of social change grounded in Reform values. Part of Focus: Healing the World. Winter 2005.
Leonard Fein. To those who argue that our top priority should be Jewish continuity or that Jews are too small a group to make a difference in healing the world, the author responds, "What would Judaism be without a fundamental commitment to defending the poor and the helpless?" Fall 1996.