equalpaydayTuesday is National Equal Pay Day–the day in 2014 when women’s salaries catch up to men’s earnings from 2013. That’s right–over fifteen months of work for one year’s pay! Women head more than 1,000,000 households in New York State, and more than 63% of working mothers are primary breadwinners or co-breadwinners.

The Women’s Equality Act (A.8070) would close loopholes in our state’s equal pay laws which allow employers to still pay women less than their male colleagues.

We need your help to send a loud, clear message: New Yorkers should not have to wait another year for stronger equal pay protection! (more…)



Reform Jewish Voice of New York State invites you to join us on Monday, May 5th in Albany for our annual Advocacy Day!

You will have the opportunity to hear from legislative leaders, become a policy expert, delve into the Jewish values driving our social justice work, meet other New Yorkers passionate about tikkun olam and spend time talking with legislators about RJV’s policy priorities. Be sure to check out our wrap-up of Advocacy Day 2013!

Register now!


NFTY-NAR Advocacy Day 2

“We understand that hunger is a huge issue that cannot be fixed easily. It is a multi-faceted problem and millions of Americans across the country struggle with every day. That is why we want to start small, and advocate for immediate change in New York.”—A NFTY-NAR teen advocating for anti-hunger programs.

Not enough people take the time to engage in the political process—but on Tuesday, the halls of the Legislative Office Building in Albany were teeming with students, parents, union members, lobbyists and over 40 teens from NFTY-NAR.  (more…)

Published on February 27, 2014, by in RJV.

no kid hungryIn the current economic crisis, low to moderate income families are struggling to survive and are more likely to need government assistance to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads.

In 2010, nearly 2.8 million New Yorkers lived in poverty—14% of all New Yorkers—and 12.4% of residents struggled with food insecurity. In Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester and Albany, poverty rates are above 25% and over 2.3 million residents statewide rely on emergency food assistance annually. In response to the incredible and immediate need for food assistance in New York, RJV has identified protecting anti-hunger programs as one of our policy priorities this budget season. (more…)


Originally posted on January 29, 2014 on the Times Union by Rabbi Matt Cutler of Congregation Gates of Heaven in Schenectady. Rabbi Cutler is a member of the RJV Steering Committee. Click here for more on women’s equality.

It was a roller-coaster couple of days for women’s rights.

First, let’s applaud the New York State Assembly for passing the women’s equality agenda again. It might seem like old news – they did this a few months ago. But it didn’t become law—the 10-pt plan did not pass the Senate and I am skeptical it will pass this time around. Back in December, the senate broke down the plan into 10 different pieces of legislation; the one ensuring reproductive rights did not pass. As a result, this 10-point plan, which is an important piece of legislation, failed to come into being. Why not accept 9 out 10 points? Forgive me if this comes across as crass or sexist, but– a woman is not a sum of her parts, she is the total package!

It amazes me that in this day and age, we are still debating about women’s equality in our society. Isn’t it rather pathetic that we can’t pass this legislation in our own state, while many of us chastise foreign governments for not guaranteeing similar protections to women in their country? How can we not have these laws on our books? (more…)




Albany, N.Y., January 9, 2014: In response to Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address on January 8, 2014, RJV Co-Chairs Barbara Zaron and Jennifer Jaech issued the following statement:


Reform Jewish Voice of New York State (RJV), the Reform Movement’s social justice advocate in New York, sees the Governor’s State of the State message as a mixed bag.

On the positive side, we enthusiastically supported enactment of marriage equality and the minimum wage measures that the Governor spearheaded. We lauded the Governor’s continued commitment to the entire 10 point Women’s Equality Agenda and to Campaign Finance and Ethics Reform, two priority issues on our advocacy agenda going forward.  We are members of the Women’s Equality and the Fair Elections coalitions to advocate for such legislation. (more…)


biteoutofhungerOn Rosh Hashanah, we say Shana tovah u’metukah (a good and sweet new year). And while we are nearly four months into 5774, we are only seven days into 2014 and it’s not shaping up to be a good or sweet year for millions of Americans. Congress has yet to extend unemployment insurance for those desperately seeking work, the House and Senate are locked in an appropriations battle to keep the government open past next Wednesday and the Farm Bill has languished for months.

And as Washington, D.C. scrambles to start working on their ever-growing to-do list, states are beginning their budget processes to fund hundreds of necessary programs ranging from education and environmental protection to housing and food assistance. The clock is ticking in New York State, where the budget must be passed by March 31st (if it is passed on time this year, it will be the fourth year in a row!) (more…)

Published on December 12, 2013, by in RJV.

In 2010, nearly 2.8 million New Yorkers lived in poverty—that’s 14% of all New Yorkers!—and 12.4% of residents struggled with food insecurity, meaning they are unsure about when they will next receive a meal. In Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester and Albany, poverty rates are above 25% and over 2.3 million residents statewide rely on emergency food assistance annually. The number of New York State households participating in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also called food stamps, has increased since the recession—to almost 2.9 million households. Each SNAP dollar spent generates $1.84 in the U.S. economy and creates jobs in industries tied to food production, shipping and sale.

Beginning in December 2013, RJVNY will urge our elected officials to continue funding for programs that protect the most vulnerable among us in New York.

Click to learn more


Published on November 15, 2013, by in URJ.

TyphoonHaiyan-200x200This was originally posted on RJblog on November 11, 2013.

In the early morning hours of November 9, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Philippines. The equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, the storm displaced hundreds of thousands of people throughout the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and the region’s Pacific Islands. Initial accounts indicate that as many as 10,000 lives have been lost, and authorities and aid groups from all over the world, including North America and Israel, are struggling to deliver safe drinking water, food, and life-saving supplies to disaster zones.

The URJ General Disaster Relief Fund is collecting donations that will be distributed to aid groups working in affected areas. Donate now to join in these efforts. (more…)