August 2015


JSPAN Newsletter - August 2015

Jewish Social Policy Action Network
In this Issue:
Newsletter: August 2015
Save the Date-JSPAN Presents "American Democracy Challenged," Nov. 8
Plan now to attend "American Democracy Challenged" at 2 PM on Nov. 8 at Congregation Rodeph Shalom, 615 N. Broad Street. Reps. Martin Frost (Democrat) and Tom Davis (Republican), authors of "The Partisan Divide: Congress in Crisis," will provide an informative look at the various factors that have created government stalemate and gridlock in Congress. The program will be followed by workshops on gerrymandering and campaign funding with a focus on the Philadelphia mayoral race and Pennsylvania. JSPAN is currently engaging panelists for the workshops--journalists, elected officials and citizens from both parties active in seeking changes to funding and redistricting systems. More information soon to come.


Board Meeting: Bryan Schwartzman
By Edward Hoffman

For this month's installment of his new monthly column for the Jewish Social Policy Action Network Newsletter, Board member Ed Hoffman interviewed fellow Board member Bryan Schwartzman, long-time Jewish journalist and writer and now Marketing and Communications Manager for nonprofit aficionados, the Evans Consulting Group. Ed asks Bryan-one new Board member to another-all about his new career helping to grow nonprofits, his background in Jewish affairs, his concern and interest in issues like public education for which JSPAN advocates, his free-lance reporting, his pursuit of his passion for fiction writing on the side, and how he balances it all with being the father of two small children and finding time for music, tennis, Israel, international affairs and more. Learn all about it!


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An Eloquent Message about Race That 92nd Street Y's Andy Bachman Says Jews Must Read
Journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates' new book "Between the World and Me" is written as a letter to his teenage son, explaining race, identity and America in the wake of the police killing of unarmed Black man, Michael Brown. In a passionate Op-Ed in The Forward, Rabbi Andy Bachman, new director of Jewish content and continuity at the 92nd Street Y, explains why this book is a must-read for American Jews and how, he believes, it could change the Black-Jewish dialogue for good. According to Bachman, the book "might very well provide a watershed moment for redefining the Black-Jewish relationship in the United States"-a moment that he strongly encourages Jewish leaders to "seize by encouraging their communities to read the book and talk about its implications for us both as Americans and as Jews." To learn more,


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Will Congress Protect Gay Rights Beyond Marriage?
Democrats in Congress have introduced sweeping new legislation that would protect LBGT Americans from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Equality Act is broad in its scope. Where Democrats had previously tried and failed to pass federal legislation banning discrimination only in employment-the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, or ENDA-the party is now rallying behind a proposal that would extend those protections in education, housing, public accommodations, and any other area of law where discrimination has been prohibited for other protected classes. In the latest issue of The Atlantic magazine, Sr. Associate Editor Russell Berman explores how Congress will react, what is likely to happen and why.


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Coming Soon: Philadelphia Jewish & Catholic Communities to Celebrate 50th Anniversary of Nostra Aetate
On Friday, Sept. 25, Philadelphia Jewish and Catholic communities will gather at Saint Joseph's University to celebrate "The Golden Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council Declaration Nostra Aetate" issued in 1965. An original bronze sculpture portraying female allegorical figures signifying both religions will be dedicated. Rabbi Abraham Skorka, rector of Seminario Rabinico Latinoamerica in Buenos Aires and co-author with Pope Francis of the book of their interfaith dialogues, On Heaven and Earth, will speak. The event is co-sponsored by Saint Joseph's, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, World Meeting of Families, Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, American Jewish Committee, Anti-Defamation League and Greater Philadelphia Board of Rabbis. Registration is required. [read more]


On the March: NAACP's "America's Journey for Justice" Starts, JSPANers in the Ranks
"America's Journey for Justice," an historic 860-mile march, organized by the NAACP, from Selma, AL to Washington, DC, began Aug. 1. The goal of the "40 day and 40 night march" is to bring attention to and persuade the leadership in Washington to address a number of social justice issues. These include promoting a fair criminal justice system, fostering unfettered access to the ballot box, creating sustainable jobs with living wages, and providing an equitable education for all children. All are social justice issues that JSPAN has advocated for, for well over a decade.

Marchers from around the country have crossed over the Edmund Pettus Bridge and are now on a journey to the capital. Board member Ed Hoffman sent his greetings from Montgomery, AL, where he began the first leg of the March in support of his rabbi, Beth Kalisch, who carried a Torah. Next month, JSPAN Executive Director, Rabbi George Stern, will join the March near Danville, VA, carrying a Torah as part of Rabbis Organizing Rabbis, a coalition of the Reform rabbinate.


Your Opinion Counts

The editors of the JSPAN newsletter welcome reader's comments regarding the content and format of the newsletter. We want to know what you like and dislike. Are we providing a perspective and service that you find informative and worth reading? Do you have comments on specific articles or items? Let us know what you think! Send all comments to




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JSPAN Officers
Rabbi Seymour Rosenbloom

Richard Malkin
First Vice President

Burt Siegel
Vice President

Marc Stier
Vice President

Jill Katz Zipin
Vice President

Joanna Klein

George Pomerantz

Stewart Weintraub
General Counsel

Lynn Zeitlin
Past President

Rabbi George Stern
Executive Director

Irwin Aronson
Katie Beran
Susan Bolno
Adam Bonin
Ruth Damsker
William Epstein
Rabbi Seth Goren
Brian Gralnick
Edward Hoffman
Margot Horwitz
Adrienne Jacoby
Nathan Kleinman
Marlena Kleit
Judah Labovitz
Ruth Laibson
Jonathan Lipson
Theodore Mann
Jeffrey Pasek
Audrey Ann Ross
J. Sanford Schwartz
Bryan Schwartzman
Daniel Segal
Dan Siegel
Rabbi David Straus
Ilene Wasserman
Deborah Weinstein

Ira Goldberg


The newsletter contains articles and links to articles that we think will be of interest to JSPAN members. They are included for informational purposes, but unless otherwise stated, they do not necessarily reflect official JSPAN policy.

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