Archive 2011

Magen Tzedek Responds to Agudath Israel

The misleading statement by Agudath Israel concerning Magen Tzedek is a misrepresentation of a very important development in kosher food production in America. Magen Tzedek is based on our assertion that biblical and rabbinic law mandate fair treatment of workers (בל תלין), humane treatment of animals (צער בעלי חיים) and care of the earth (בל תשחית and שמירת הארץ) which can be translated into measurable standards applicable to commercial food production. These standards were developed in collaboration with SAAS, an organization acknowledged worldwide for its expertise in ethical certification programs.

Clarification Regarding Stunning and Schechitah

It has come to our attention that Rabbinical Assembly materials have been misused by the Party for Animals in their debate in The Netherlands regarding legislation seeking to ban schechitah. The paper in question, “A Stunning Matter” by Rabbi Mayer Rabinowitz was written in 2001 and is intended to be a resource for individual rabbis making determinations for their communities. It does not reflect the public policy of the Rabbinical Assembly and it is a mistake to cite it this way in political discourse.

170 Jewish Social Justice Leaders to Meet With Obama Administration

Jewish Social Justice Roundtable - For Immediate Release

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Erica Brody, (212) 213-2113 x51, cell (718) 608 4514
Regina Weiss, (212) 213-2113 x20, cell (357) 263 3405

Washington, D.C.; July 27, 2011—On Friday, July 29th, 170 representatives of organizations that are part of the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable (JSJRT) of which the Rabbinical Assembly is a founding member, will travel to the White House for a policy briefing to exchange ideas on housing, healthcare, food justice and education. The JSJRT is a group of 21 nonprofit organizations promoting economic and social justice as a core tenet of Jewish life.  The RA delegation includes Rabbis Jack Moline, RA director of Public Policy, Jeffrey Wohlberg, RA past president and rabbi emeritus of Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, DC; Jacob Blumenthal, Shaare Torah Congregation in Gaithersburg, MD; Michael Safra, B’nai Israel Congregation, Rockville, MD; Andrea Merow, Beth Sholom Congregation, Elkins Park, PA; Ron Shulman, senior rabbi, Chizuk Amuno Congregation and Daniel Burg of Beth Am Congregation, both of Baltimore; Elizabeth Richman, program director and rabbi-in-residence at Jews United for Justice. and Jan Caryl Kaufman of the Rabbinical Assembly in New York.  Other RA members attending are Rabbis Jason Kimmelman-Block, Senior Director of Leadership Initiatives and Rabbi-in-Residence, Jewish Funds for Justice; and Sheldon Lewis, rabbi emeritus of Kol Emeth Congregation, Palo Alto, CA.  We are proud that Rabbi Moline will deliver the closing statement and d’var Torah to the group as they meet with the Administration.  Rabbis Richman, Kimmelman-Block and Merow will also deliver kavvanot and brakhot on Friday’s program.

Statement on Diversity for the Conservative Movement

The following statement was endorsed by the Leadership Council of Conservative Judaism (LCCJ). It is the first step in an initiative by the RA to address concerns regarding challenges of diversity in rabbinic workplaces. It was written by a committee of the LCCJ led by Elliot Schoenberg of the RA, Danny Nevins of the JTS Rabbinical School, and Michael Miller of FJMC. The statement is a working document, and we welcome feedback and comments

Statement on the Release of Gilad Shalit

The Rabbinical Assembly expresses its gratitude and support to the government of Israel in its tireless efforts to bring about the release of Sergeant Gilad Shalit. After over five long, tortuous years in captivity, during which Hamas has flagrantly violated international human rights norms regarding Gilad Shalit’s visitation rights, we are extremely thankful that he has been returned to Israel and reunited with his family.

Julie Schonfeld Receives JWI’s 2011 Women to Watch Award

Pictured below: 
Julie Schonfeld and Susan Turnbull, JWI Board of Trustees Chair (Photo: Michael Kress)

Washington, DC – Jewish Women International (JWI) honored Rabbi Julie Schonfeld yesterday with its 2011 Women to Watch award. Rabbi Schonfeld is the executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly (RA), the international association of Conservative/Masorti rabbis. She received the award for her commitment to the future of the Jewish people, her voice in the public square advocating the work of social justice as a fundamental Jewish obligation, and her approach to reimagining the work of denominations as visionary religious movements.

Statement on the Recent Violent Attacks by Israeli Jewish Extremists

The Rabbinical Assembly reacts with horror at the increasing and wanton violence carried out by extremist Israeli Jews last week. Their attacks on the IDF last Tuesday at an army base in the West Bank, and the torching of a mosque in Jerusalem on Wednesday are only recent examples of this brazen behavior.

Our 2010 Resolution on Civil Discourse quotes Rabbi Israel Salanter in saying, “Be vigilant in protecting the honor of all people, especially those with whom you disagree.“ In resorting to violence, these extremists have greatly dishonored those with whom they disagree.