After months of deliberation and intense, last-minute negotiations, the New York State Legislature has approved the 2016-2017 budget. We are thrilled that this year’s budget contains important advances for working families and protects public education in the Empire State. (more…)
Last month, I discussed a number of initiatives in Governor Cuomo’s State of the State and Executive Budget proposal that are in areas of particular interest to RJV, including Economic Justice, the Environment, Criminal Justice and Ethics. For the second part of our budget breakdown, I will be focusing on the Governor’s education proposals. (more…)
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…)
Governor 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…)
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:
- Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State Address and Budget Presentation on January 13. The governor will present his agenda for the 2016 session, including his budget priorities. We hope to hear him speak on issues of economic justice, gun violence prevention, LGBT equality, strong public education and many other pressing issues facing the state. Advocates for oversight in East Ramapo will be rallying in Albany on the day of the address as well.
- NFTY-NAR and RJV’s Teen Advocacy Day will take place from March 6-7 in Albany. This is an exciting opportunity for teens from across New York State to learn about the legislative process, discuss the Reform Jewish view on issues they care about and meet with their own Assembly members and Senators.
- RJV’s Advocacy Day, open to all New Yorkers with a passion for advocacy and systemic change, will be on May 9. This is our flagship event, when we will bring advocates from around the state to Albany to speak out on a variety of pressing topics. Keep an eye out for registration details, coming soon.
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.
“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…)
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.
Over the past few months, a number of important developments have taken place in East Ramapo. These all shed some light on the future of the school district, but also leave many questions unanswered. (more…)
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.