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October 04, 2002 - Image 27

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-10-04

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This Week


When •

Lobbyist For Humanity

NCJWftatures Religious Action Center's
Rabbi David Saperstein at opening meeting.


tant rabbi at Congregation Rodeph Sholom in Manhattan for
a year before accepting the leadership of the RAC.
He's married to Ellen Weiss, executive producer of
abbi David Saperstein doesn't shy away from a
National Public Radio's All Things Considered, and the
good fight.
father of two sons, Daniel, 12, and Ari, 9.
As director of the Washington-based
Although the RAC does not work in what are tradition-
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
ally thought of as "religious" issues, Rabbi Saperstein said
(RAC), he's spent the past 25 years in the forefront of every social justice and religion are inseparable.
battle for individual and civil rights, religious freedom,
"We believe carrying out the prophetic injunction to
constitutional law, public education, equal access to health
pursue justice is profoundly religious," he said, quoting the
care and the myriad other issues that make up the back-
final verse from Dvarim (the Book of Deuteronomy):
bone of what might be called the liberal agenda in the
"Justice, justice you shall pursue, so that you may live and
United States.
inherit the land which HaShem Your God
On Tuesday, Oct. 8, Rabbi Saperstein
gives you."
addresses the opening meeting of the .
The specific positions advocated by the -
National Council of Jewish Women,
RAC are determined in monthly consulta-
Greater Detroit Section, scheduled for
tions with Rabbi Eric Yoffie, UAHC presi-
10:15 a.m. at Southfield's Congregation
dent, and with major input from UAHC's
Shaarey Zedek. Terran Leemis will. receive
Commission on Social Action, based in
the organization's Hannah G. Solomon
New York.
Award at the luncheon program.
The director of the commission is Rabbi
The rabbi's topic, "Social Justice: Tough
Marla Feldman, former assistant director for
Times, Tough Choices," summarizes his
domestic concerns of the Jewish
life's work.
Community Council of Metropolitan
"Jewish tradition teaches us to 'speak up,
judge righteously, champion the poor and
Rabbi Feldman, a former RAC fellow,
the needy (Proverbs 31:19),"' he said.
called Rabbi Saperstein "an extremely ener-
The RAC, the social justice arm of the
Rabbi David Saperstei;2
getic, active, involved leader with a brilliant
Reform Jewish movement, is a project of
legal mind.
the Union of American Hebrew
"He does a brilliant job of representing
Congregations (UAHC) and the Central
the Reform movement in the halls of
Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR). These two
power," she said.
organizations together represent approximately 900 syna-
Allan Tushman of West Bloomfield, a member of the
gogues, 1,800 rabbis and 1.5 million people.
UAHC national board, said Rabbi Saperstein is "a mover
For more than 40 years, the RAC has mobilized the
and shaker in Washington.
American Jewish community while serving as its advocate
"Once you've heard him speak, you'll know what draws
in Washington for social justice and religious liberty.
people to him," Tushman said. "He never stands still. He
Rabbi Saperstein and his staff monitor those activities in
talks rapidly, yet he makes his points clearly, and you
the federal government that affect the Jewish community
understand the flow. He conveys more thoughts to his
and its broader concerns, and prepare study and program-
audience in five minutes than most others convey in 15
ming materials for synagogues, social action committees,
camps, schools and NFTY (North American Federation of
Added Linda Brodsky of West Bloomfield, president of
Temple Youth) groups.
the Metropolitan Detroit Federation of Reform Judaism:
They also train' others in social justice leadership with
"David Saperstein is probably the greatest Jewish liberal
year-long fellowships and conferences in Washington. This
there is. He's a righteous man, a 100-percent kind man. He
year's RAC leadership conference drew about 3,000
stands for the right way of doing things."
Reform Jewish activists.

Copy Editor/Education Writer

In Pursuit Of Justice

A graduate of Cornell University, Rabbi Saperstein received his
rabbinic ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish
Institute of Religion in New York in 1973. He served as assis-

Grappling With Tough Issues

Rabbi Saperstein called the NCJW a partner with the RAC
in advocating for social justice.
"The severely poor are, disproportionately, women. And
INSIGHT on page 28

From the pages of the Jewish News for
this week 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60
years ago.

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum is
installed as the first full-time rabbi
at Congregation Beth Simchat
Torah in Manhattan's Greenwich
Village — the world's largest gay
and lesbian synagogue.
Inductees at the Michigan Jewish
Sports Hall of Fame banquet are
Leonard Karpeles, David Linden
and. Sam Taub.




Israel invades Lebanon in
Operation Peace for Galilee after a
PLO splinter group badly wounds
the Israeli ambassador in London.

Gov. William Milliken appoints
Sol King, president and director of
architecture for the Detroit-based
Albert Kahn Associates Inc., to the
state boards of registration for
Architects and Engineers.
Detroiter Raymond G. Kalef is
appointed executive director of
United Synagogue of America
Midwest Region.

• •

Arthur J. Goldberg becomes the fourth
Jew on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Preparing- for their first national
convention, Detroit Hadassah
members invite Abba Eban, Israel
ambassador to the United States, to
address the opening session at
Masonic Temple in Detroit.

The Transcontinental Music
Corporation of New York announces
publication of Julius Chajes' new
composition, "Zion, Rise and
Shine," dedicated to Detroiter Fred
Butzel on his 65th birthday.
Rabbi Solomon P. Wohlgelernter
of Seattle, Wash., will speak at the
first membership rally of the
Detroit Jewish Women's League for
Sabbath Observance.

— Compiled by Holly Teasdle,
archivist, the Leo M Franklin
Archives, Temple Beth El



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