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Published on February 5, 2016, by in RJV.

Barbara Zaron and Richard Laskey advocating for oversight in East Ramapo

 

When I last wrote about the ongoing situation in the East Ramapo school district, the future of legislation to ensure strong oversight over the district’s finances remained uncertain. Since then, the three-person monitor team led by Dennis Walcott has released their report on the district, which reiterates a call for legislation to create a fiscal monitor with the power to veto decisions made by the school board. Currently, the majority of the elected school board members are Orthodox Haredi, even though most Haredi children in this school district attend private yeshivas. (more…)

 
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Published on January 26, 2016, by in RJV.

 

The New York State Capitol BuildingGovernor Cuomo presented his State of the State and Executive Budget proposals on January 13, 2016, outlining his legislative agenda and $145 billion budget plan for 2016. With such an expansive set of initiatives, there is certainly a lot for us all to look through and begin to understand as lawmakers begin negotiating a final budget deal and sending legislation to the Governor’s desk. Outlined here are the summaries of some of the issues that are of particular interest and concern to RJV; a review of the specifics and details will follow shortly. The full budget proposal can be accessed here.

This post will focus on four major areas of the Governor’s proposals: Economic Justice, the Environment, Criminal Justice and Ethics. Stay tuned for another post discussing the Governor’s education initiatives. (more…)

 
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Published on December 30, 2015, by in RJV.

Happy New Year!

After a year filled with exciting programming, legislative accomplishments and new members of our leadership, we are excited to continue to bring important changes to New York State in this new year. Over the coming months we are particularly looking forward to:

Again, we wish you a very happy New Year. May 2016 be full of joy, health and justice for all of us and for all of New York State.

 
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Published on November 24, 2015, by in RJV.

Giving Tuesday 2015 is on December 1

“We left Albany feeling our Reform Jewish concerns were heard. We were encouraged by our representatives’ commitment to protect and sustain individual human rights of all New Yorkers. Imagine the impact hundreds/ thousands of Reform Jews can make, in Washington and their state capitols, on the issues that reflect our ethical principles and tradition.” – Karen L. Levin (Westchester Reform Temple, Scarsdale), reflecting on her first time participating in RJV Advocacy Day (more…)

 
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Published on November 23, 2015, by in RJV.
Current and Past Leaders of RJV

Current and Past Leaders of RJV

Last month, the Reform Jewish Voice of New York State’s Steering Committee met at Temple Emanu-El in New York City to build relationships, learn about important issues facing our state and chart the future of RJV. We were particularly excited to officially welcome our new co-chair, Richard C. Laskey of Temple Sinai in Roslyn. Richard is succeeding Joel Elliot of Temple B’rith Kodesh in Rochester after his excellent year as co-chair. Joel will continue serving as a Steering Committee member and supplying thoughtful, motivated leadership to RJV.

We are also excited to welcome new members to RJV’s Steering Committee: Rabbi Cassi Kail of Temple Emanu-El (Utica), Rabbi Don Cashman of B’nai Sholom Reform Congregation (Albany) and Ellen Greeley of Temple Israel of Northern Westchester (Croton-On-Hudson). These new members have already hit the ground running, bringing new energy and new ideas as we continue in our pursuit of an Empire State of Tzedek.

 
 
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open pomegranate

The year 5775 saw a number of highlights for RJV’s work to create an Empire State of Tzedek. Take a look at the year’s achievements:

  • We submitted testimony to the State Assembly in support of single-payer health care.
  • We participated in Westchester Congregations Community’s social justice training led by the URJ and the RAC.
  • We worked with NFTY-NAR on their Teen Advocacy Day to bring over 80 teens to Albany and prepare them to lobby the State Senate and Assembly.
  • We mobilized against Education Incentive Tax Credit (also known as Parental Choice in Education Tax Credit) legislation by working with coalitions on six press conferences and lobbying events, and writing letters to all state legislators and the Governor.
  • We joined Reform Jews from around North America at the Religious Action Center’s Consultation on Conscience in Washington, D.C.
  • Our annual May Advocacy Day brought about 40 advocates to Albany at the height of the legislative season.
  • We joined with Faith for a Fair New York for several Moral Monday vigils and lobbying events at the state Capitol on issues such as minimum wage increases, moral budgeting and education funding.
  • We joined forces with Strong East Ramapo for a lobby day in June and a press conference advocates in support of strong oversight legislation.
  • We submitted testimony to the New York Department of Labor’s Wage Board in support of increasing the minimum wage to $15/hour for all workers.
 
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Dear Friend,

Reform Jewish Voice of New York State (RJV) is our collective voice for Jewish social justice advocacy in New York. Our mission is to promote state legislation and governmental actions that embody the principles of the Reform Jewish movement through education on the critical issues facing our state and advocacy in Albany and local legislative districts. RJV is modeled on the nationwide efforts of the Commission on Social Action and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

The work of RJV is directed by a Steering Committee of committed volunteers from across the state. We are currently seeking nominations for new Steering Committee members. You may nominate yourself or another individual with a passion for social justice work who can help RJV grow as an effective voice for Reform Judaism and advocate for social justice. If you wish to nominate another person, please discuss this with your proposed nominee and assess his/her willingness to serve on the committee before submitting his/her nomination.

The Steering Committee is composed of up to 18 members serving three-year terms. New members will begin their terms on November 1, 2015. (more…)

 
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Heastie, Cuomo, Flanagan press conference

Image courtesy of North Country Public Radio

After extending the session a number of days, nearly a week and half, the Senate and Assembly ended the legislative session last week, in many ways taking the wind out of the sails of a number of crucial social justice causes, many of which are of key interest for RJV. (more…)

 
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After a long, arduous effort this legislative session, the East Ramapo oversight bill failed to make it through the State Senate. This is a major setback after building momentum towards oversight in East Ramapo over the past few months with incredible advocacy from the community in East Ramapo and important contributions from the Reform Jewish community as well. (more…)