I returned from the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism‘s Consultation on Conscience and I have never been more proud to be an American. though there are lots of things always happening in the USA that are hard to stomach, being in DC and hearing from phenomenal speakers who are doing the important work to make change was inspiring. Most of all, it is the RAC staff that truly is a reminder of the capacity of a small group of committed individuals who change the world.
If you want to see what was happening in real-time, go to my twitter feed. Some of my own personal highlights were the following:
-Hearing Vice President Al Gore speak on Sunday evening. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, I heard that he was a pretty dry speaker. In fact he was animated, engaging, and gave an incredible sermon that could have been (and might be used) for High Holidays.
-Sister Helen Prejean, a fierce opponent of the death penalty. The author of Dead Man Walking and one of the most inspirational, thoughtful, intelligent, and powerful speakers I’ve ever heard. She spoke truth to power in telling some of her stories and presented one of the most important theology lessons I’ve ever heard.
-Benjamin Jealous, the president of the NAACP spoke about the history of the RAC and his organization and the important connection between the black and Jewish communities today.
-Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood spoke about the reality that when times gets tough the first to go ‘under the bus’ or be sacrificed to the elite majority are women and the poor. This is why the government was almost shut down because of funding for Planned Parenthood.
Speaking of women’s health, please see my post from Tuesday. That unfortunate bill passed the House and now goes to the Senate. There is so much work to do!
There was also a gala celebrating the 50th anniversary of the RAC.
In time, many of the addresses will be on the RAC’s website. I recommend listening in to the speakers that interest you. At the least, watch the celebratory video.
I know that was more newsy of a post than you might have expected. I am still trying to process everything that I learned, all the while attempting to understand the outcomes of the Canadian election and the Conservative majority. I will try to write more.