Taking a Seat at the Table: The ACC Deepens Its Commitment to Social Justice

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Taking a Seat at the Table: The ACC Deepens Its Commitment to Social Justice

By Cantor Jason Kaufman and Cantor Jacqueline Rawiszer

As we write this article, only a few hours have passed since the conclusion of the Consultation on Conscience followed by the URJ Commission on Social Action meeting. For three days, we joined together with 800 Jews in Arlington, VA, and then Washington DC, to learn, pray, lobby, and most of all dream about the type of world that our Jewish values demand that we create. 

We are inspired after having heard remarkable political and moral leaders speak of the pressing issues of our times. 

We are energized.  We are hopeful.  And as an entire conference, we are ready to work. 

The presence of the most significant cantorial engagement ever with seventeen ACC cantors at Consultation on Conscience, led by our president Steven Weiss and COO Rachel Roth, was praised by the leadership of the RAC. We stand on the shoulders of those who have contributed to this notable success of ACC social justice engagement throughout the years - yet we know, there is much work yet to be done. 

Together with our rabbinic colleagues and lay leaders from throughout the country, we will organize to engage and speak out on the pressing issues of the day.

Issues of particular importance to the consultation this year were:

1) Protection of the rights of transgender students, 
2) Immigration reform and protecting individuals within our communities, regardless of immigration status,
3) Ending the era of mass incarceration and criminal justice reform.
We, in the ACC, are strengthening and deepening our relationship with the social justice work of the URJ. To that end, we have been re-imagining how the social justice committee within the ACC looks, including identifying best practices for engaging in this work, creating particular initiatives that may be unique to the ACC, and figuring out ways to support the important work that is already being done within our Movement.

The ACC has a seat at the table. It is essential that we continue to be present and to work.

We are both honored and excited to be representing the ACC on the Commission on Social Action, where we will not just be representing the Cantorial voice within our movement, but just as importantly, representing the URJ social action work to the ACC. 

Stay tuned for more exciting news from us within the next few weeks and months.  Much more to come!

Jason Kaufman is the Cantor at Beth El Hebrew Congregation in Alexandria, VA and co-chair of the ACC Social Action and Justice Committee as well as an ACC representative on the URJ Commission on Social Action.

Jacki Rawiszer is the Cantor at the Congregation of Reform Judaism – Orlando and Vice President of Member Relations & External Partnerships for the ACC, as well as an ACC representative on the URJ Commission on Social Action.