Published on March 30, 2016, by in RJV.

AAD16 Lobby Photo

On March 6th & 7th, 45 Jewish teens representing over 20 URJ congregations from the NY Area went to Albany to lobby our state legislators on social justice issues that matter to us as NFTYites. After spending Sunday learning about four different issues – Gun Violence Prevention, Economic Justice, Transgender Rights and Education – we prepared lobby speeches and met with our State Assembly Members and Senators. After the event, we asked a few of our peers to reflect on their experience in Albany.
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…)

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…)

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.

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…)

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.