Jewish Organization Sign-on Letter to ICE-ERO regarding Nelly Portillo Moreno

August 3, 2020
ICE-ERO
San Antonio Field Office
1777 NE Loop 410, Suite 1500
San Antonio, TX 78217

To whom it may concern:

As Jewish organizations representing millions of Jews of varying denominations across the United States, we write to express outrage at the detention of Nylssa Krysthella Portillo Moreno and denial of adequate religious accommodations while she is in custody. Our work to welcome all immigrants, asylum seekers, and refugees including Ms. Portilll Moreno is inspired by the commandment va’ahavtem et ha-ger: we must love the stranger, for once we too were strangers.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that had claimed the lives of more than 150,000 people and swept through immigrant detention facilities, it is morally wrong to keep medically vulnerable individuals who pose no public threat in detention. Ms. Portillo Moreno (A072-407-044) , who came to the U.S. from El Salvador at age 8, is currently being held at the Laredo Detention Center and has faced health issues that leave her particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.

As Jews, we are also particularly troubled by reports that Ms. Portillo Moreno, who is Jewish, has been denied kosher food while in custody. Our commitment to religious freedom rights applies to detainees of all faiths. For observant Jews, keeping kosher is more than a list of do’s and don’ts. It is about reverence, adherence to religious tradition, and dignity. Failure to accommodate Ms. Portillo Moreno’s religious practice is unconstitutional as well as deeply troubling, and her resultant weight loss makes it a threat to her very life. In March 2019, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called on the Department of Homeland Security to launch an investigation after numerous reports surfaced revealing violations of detained immigrants’ religious freedom rights. As of this writing, we are unable to confirm whether one was actually launched. The denial of religious freedom to immigrant detainees is especially troubling given the fact that many such detainees are fleeing such persecution in their country of origin. The recent legal wrangling over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, has left immigrants like Ms. Portillo Moreno in jeopardy. As organizations inspired by Jewish values, we unequivocally believe that Ms. Portillo Moreno should be home in her community, where she can receive needed medical care, have access to kosher food, and be with loved ones.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

National Council of Jewish Women
ADL Southwest
ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal
Ameinu
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action
Carolina Jews for Justice
Habonim Dror North America
Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action
Jewish Community Action
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Jewish Labor Committee
Keshet
Reconstructing Judaism
Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
Tivnu: Building Justice
T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
Union for Reform Judaism
Women of Reform Judaism
The Workers Circle

Letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee: NCJW Opposes Wilson for Fifth Circuit Court

May 14, 2020
United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Graham, Ranking Member Feinstein, and Committee Members:

The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) writes to express its strong opposition to the nomination of Cory Wilson to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Wilson has proven himself to be a biased ideologue who is wholly unfit to serve a lifetime appointment as a federal judge.

Wilson’s lack of judicial temperament is astounding. He frequently takes to Twitter to repeat partisan rhetoric; he has called US Congresswomen a “claptrap,” complained about “Crooked Hillary,” and repeatedly disparaged President Obama, referring to him as “King Barack,” “the Anointed One,” and “a radical leftist with no experience in governing.”

Likewise, Wilson’s many published writings are proof positive that he would use a seat on the federal bench to further his own political agenda. In one editorial, he bemoaned the “federal court [that] ridiculously ruled that ‘One Nation Under G-d’ violated the Constitution” and said that “[h]opefully the [Supreme] Court will overturn Obama” with regard to the Affordable Care Act. In another lengthy political musing, he called Roe v. Wade the “result of a liberal activist court.” In yet another, Wilson lauded Mississippi’s Voter ID law and expressed hope that the “Obama Justice Department will stop suing long enough for us to implement it.” A federal judicial nominee flippantly revealing that he is annoyed by important civil rights cases does not bode well for the future of our court system. Wilson clearly lacks a judicial temperament, as well as respect for the necessary independence of the judiciary.

As if Wilson’s disrespectful and insensitive public statements were not sufficiently disqualifying, his legislative record reveals an extreme partisan agenda. As a state legislator, he voted for a severely restrictive “heartbeat bill” that would ban abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy. He voted to defund Planned Parenthood and support a myriad of other offensive, unconstitutional anti-abortion policies. Wilson has demonstrated complete disdain for LGBTQ people; he voted for a bill that would allow public and private businesses to legally refuse service to LGBTQ people based on the owner’s religious belief. Wilson voted to authorize concealed carry of firearms on any public property as well as carry of firearms in places of worship. Like his writings and Tweets, Wilson’s legislative record is dangerous and out of the mainstream.

Lifetime seats on our nation’s judiciary must be reserved for open-minded, independent jurists free from bias and without an agenda. For the sake of the judiciary’s independence, as well as this institution’s integrity, we strongly urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to oppose Wilson’s confirmation to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Sincerely,

Jody Rabhan

Chief Policy Officer
National Council of Jewish Women

NCJW Opposes Walker for DC Circuit Court

April 30, 2020
United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Graham, Ranking Member Feinstein, and Committee Members:

The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) writes to express its strong opposition to the nomination of Justin Walker to the United States Circuit Court for the District of Columbia Circuit. Walker has proven himself to be a political ideologue who is wholly unqualified to serve a lifetime appointment as a federal judge.

Just last year, Walker earned a rating of “Not Qualified” from the nonpartisan American Bar Association (ABA), which objectively evaluates candidates based on competence, among other criteria. In fact, Walker acknowledged in front of this Committee that he has never served as the sole or lead attorney trying a case to verdict or judgment and has only taken one deposition during his entire career. The ABA plainly stated that Walker’s “legal practice to date does not compensate for the short time the nominee has practiced law and/or his lack of substantial courtroom experience.” Walker was confirmed to a district judgeship despite his total lack of qualifications. And, a mere three weeks after being sworn in as a district judge, Walker was nominated to the court often considered to be the second-highest in the country. This is, quite simply, indefensible.

Walker quickly proved that he had indeed brought his partisan ideology with him to the federal bench, despite the duty of a judge to be impartial and fair. In On Fire Christian Center v. Fischer, Walker issued a temporary restraining order against a non-existent law so that he could write a nearly twenty-page opinion that began with “On Holy Thursday, an American mayor criminalized the communal celebration of Easter.” In fact, the mayor in question had urged churchgoers to exercise caution in public in light of the pandemic but had not enjoined anyone from holding or attending a service. Regardless, Walker’s unnecessary and excessively long opinion showed, more than anything else, his eagerness to enshrine Christianity as the American religion.

By enshrining — or attempting to enshrine — any one religion, the government unconstitutionally infringes on the free exercise of religion. As advocates inspired by Jewish values and guided by our faith, we understand the sanctity of religious freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment to the US Constitution. We know that religious freedom is meant to be a shield, not a sword and that public servants must place the US Constitution above personal religious beliefs in order to preserve religious liberty for all. Walker has fallen short in this regard.

Rushing to elevate Walker in the midst of a global pandemic, despite his striking lack of qualifications and outward partisanship, gives the appearance that the Administration and Senate are willing to reward those who support a particular ideological agenda with a lifetime judgeship. And, this appearance casts an unfortunate — and avoidable — cloud of distrust over the third branch of government. For the sake of the judiciary’s independence, as well as public trust in courts, we strongly urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote against Justin Walker’s confirmation to the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Sincerely,

Jody Rabhan
Chief Policy Officer
National Council of Jewish Women

Jewish Community Statement Calling for Expanded Access to Nutrition Assistance Due to Coronavirus Crisis

The coronavirus crisis is not only a national health pandemic but a time of urgent concern for those who are most vulnerable in our country; those at economic risk are facing dire consequences right now. On behalf of the undersigned Jewish clergy and organizations, we call on the Administration and Congress to work together to increase and expand access to federal nutrition assistance for food insecure Americans in the wake of the coronavirus crisis (COVID-19). Our Jewish texts and traditions command us again and again to feed the hungry, care for the poor, and safeguard those who are most vulnerable — to not “harden [our] heart[s] or shut [our] hand[s] against [our] poor brethren” in need (Deuteronomy 15:7). This has never been more important than now.

As the coronavirus forces school closures around the country, millions of children will not only lose vital instructional time; they will also lose critically needed food that they receive through school
nutrition programs. Nearly 22 million students each day depend on free or reduced-price school lunch as a key source of their daily nutrition. We know that eating regularly and well is a vital prerequisite for keeping children healthy and during this national health crisis, and support to make this possible is critical.

We must make it easier to feed children during COVID-19-related school closures.

Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that all households stockpile two
weeks of food, but families living in poverty, as well as those hardworking families living paycheck-to-paycheck, are unlikely to be able to afford to buy that much food. The federal government must take the initiative to adopt measures that prioritize the needs of low-income Americans to prevent further hunger and hardship. Additionally, older adults who are at an elevated risk of contracting the disease will no longer be able to participate in congregate meal programs, and must instead have access to home-delivered meals and other sources of nutrition.

We are pleased to see the Administration approving state requests for flexibility to serve free meals to children affected by school closures. But this is not enough. We urge you to do everything in your power to increase and expand access to nutrition assistance including:

  • create a nationwide waiver authority, which allows school officials to distribute food in various settings across all nutrition programs;
  • provide states the option to extend Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits to households with children affected by school closures; and
  • temporarily increase benefits and enable flexibility on alternative food delivery systems for federal nutrition assistance programs like SNAP and the Special Supplemental Nutrition
    Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); and
  • enable meal providers to move funds allocated to support congregate nutrition sites to support expanded home-delivery meal programs.

We believe that a democratic society must provide for the needs of those unable to provide for themselves. And, while many of our organizations work directly with people who are struggling in
our communities, we know that we cannot do this work alone. Nearly 40 million Americans struggle to put food on the table on a regular basis, and COVID-19 has real potential to exacerbate their struggles. While charitable organizations will continue to play a vital role in addressing hunger and poverty, we know that the overwhelming majority of food assistance in this country has historically come from — and must continue to come from — federal programs.

Jewish tradition is based in the understanding that each person is made in the image of God. Everyone has the right to live with dignity, provide for their family, and fully participate in society. And no matter a person’s circumstance, no one deserves to be hungry.

Signed,

National Organizations:
ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal
Ameinu
American Conference of Cantors
Avodah
Awakened Heart Project
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action
The Blue Card
Cantors Assembly
The Center for Jewish Ethics
Challah for Hunger
Habonim Dror North America
Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc.
Jewish Center for Justice
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
The Jewish Federations of North America
Jewish Labor Committee
Jewish Women International
Jewish World Watch
Keshet
MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger
Men of Reform Judaism
National Council of Jewish Women
Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies
Rabbinical Assembly
Reconstructing Judaism
Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
Repair the World
Righteous Persons Foundation
Society for Humanistic Judaism
Swipe Out Hunger
Tivnu: Building Justice
T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
Union for Reform Judaism
Uri L’Tzedek: Orthodox Social Justice
Women of Reform Judaism
Women’s Rabbinic Network

State and Local Jewish Organizations and Clergy
Cantor Neil Schwartz – Dothan, AL
Arizona Jews for Justice
Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Phoenix – Phoenix, AZ
Rabbi Tracee Rosen – Phoenix, AZ
Rabbi Nicole Berne – Scottsdale, AZ
National Council of Jewish Women AZ State Policy Advocacy Chair
Rabbi Tracee Rosen – Sun City West, AZ
Rabbi Irwin Wiener, D.D. – Sun Lakes, Arizona
University of Arizona Hillel Foundation – Tuscon, AZ
Rabbi Dorothy Richman – Albany, CA
Cantor Pamela Sawyer – Berkeley, CA
Rabbi Julie Saxe-Taller – Berkeley, CA
Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay – Berkeley, CA
Rabbi Paul Kipnes – Calabasas, CA
Coastal Roots Farm – Encinitas, CA
Leichtag – Encinitas, CA
Rabbi Stephen J. Einstein – Foundation Valley, CA
Rabbi Arnold Rachlis – Irvine, CA
Rabbi Jim Simon – Long Beach, CA
Rabbi Amy Eilberg – Los Altos, CA
Bet Tzedek Legal Services – Los Angees, CA
Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles – Los Angeles, CA
Jewish Labor Committee Western Region – Los Angeles, CA
The Shtibl Minyan – Los Angeles, CA
Rabbi Rachel Adler – Los Angeles, CA
Rabbi Sharon Brous – Los Angeles, CA
IKAR – Los Angeles, CA
Jewish Family Service LA – Los Angeles, CA
JPAC – Los Angeles, CA
Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley – Los Gatos, CA
Rabbi Anne Brener – Los Angeles, CA
Rabbi Joshua Katzan – Los Angeles, CA
Chazan Danny Maseng – Los Angeles, CA
National Council of Jewish Women Los Angeles Section – Los Angeles, CA
The Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation – Los Angeles, CA
Cantor Kerith Spencer-Shapiro – Los Angeles, CA
Rabbi Sara Goodman – Santa Monica, CA
Rabbi Robin Foonberg, Congregation B’nai Israel – Tustin, CA
Rabbi Mark Hyman – Manhattan Beach, CA
Rabbi David Azen, Congregation B’nai Harim – Grass Valley, CA
National Council of Jewish Women Saddleback Section – Laguna Woods, CA
National Council of Jewish Women Long Beach Section – Long Beach, CA
Rabbi David White – Mill Valley, CA
Rabbi Andrew Straus – Oakland, CA
Jewish Family Services of the Desert – Palm Springs, CA
Rabbi Aimee Gerace – Pasadena, CA
Rabbi Meredith Cahn – Petaluma, CA
Rabbi Brian Schuldenfrei – Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
National Council of Jewish Women Sacramento Section – Sacramento, CA
Cantor Vera Broekhuysen – Sacramento, CA
National Council of Jewish Women CA State Policy Advocacy Chairs
Rabbi Reuven Taff – Sacramento, CA
Jewish Family Service – San Diego, CA
Jewish Federation of San Diego County – San Diego, CA
Rabbi Devorah Marcus, Temple Emanu-El – San Diego, CA
Jewish Community Relations Council of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, Sonoma,
Alameda, Contra Costa Counties – San Francisco, CA
Rabbi Katie Mizrahi – San Francisco, CA
Rabbi Jonathan Singer, Congregation Emanu-El – San Francisco, CA
Rabbi Suzanne Singer – Riverside, CA
Edward Zerin – San Francisco, CA
Rabbi Ruth Adar – San Leandro, CA
Jewish Federation of the Desert – Rancho Mirage, CA
Hazzan Miriam Haselkorn – Tarzana, CA
Rabbi Susan Leider – Tiburon, CA
Rabbi Elie Spitz – Tustin, CA
Rabbi Deborah Ruth Bronstein – Boulder, CO
Rabbi Fred Greene – Boulder, CO
Rabbi Nadya Gross – Boulder, CO
Rabbi Jamie Korngold – Boulder, CO
Colorado Jewish Community Relations Council – Denver, CO
National Council of Jewish Women Colorado Section – Denver, CO
Rodfei T’zedek, Social Justice Team of Congregation Rodef Shalom – Denver, CO
Rabbi Joel Newman – Vail, CO
Rabbi Debra Cantor – Bloomfield, CT
Rabbi Marci Bellows – Chester, CT
Rabbi Jordie Gerson – Greenwich, CT
Rabbi Brian Immerman – Hamden, CT
Jewish Federation Association of Connecticut – Hartford, CT
Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater New Haven – New Haven, CT
Rabbi Elana Nemitoff-Bresler – Westport, CT
Rabbi Jeremy Wiederhorn – Westport, CT
Rabbi Jeremy Schwartz – Willimantic, CT
Rabbi Adam Rosenwasser, Temple Sinai – Washington, DC
Rabbi Hannah Spiro – Washington, DC
Rabbi Ilana Zietman – Washington, DC
Rabbi Douglas E. Krantz -Townsend, DE
Rabbi Adalah Caplowe – Boca Raton, FL
Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services – Clearwater, FL
Jewish Community Relations Council of Broward County – Davie, FL
Rabbi David Spey – Fort Lauderdale, FL
National Council of Jewish Women FL State Policy Advocacy Chairs
Jewish Community Services of South Florida – Miami, FL
National Council of Jewish Women, Greater Miami Section – Miami, FL
Rabbi Adam F. Miller – Naples, FL
Rabbi Michael Resnick – Palm Beach, FL
Rabbi Michael Torop – St. Petersburg, FL
Hadassah Chaya Evolve – GA
Congregation Or Hadash – Atlanta, GA
Jewish Democratic Women’s Salon – Atlanta, GA
Jewish Community Relations Council of Atlanta – Atlanta, GA
Jewish Home Life Communities – Atlanta, GA
Rabbi Jason Holtz, Temple Kehillat Chaim – Roswell, GA
Rabbi Peter Berg, The Temple – Atlanta, GA
Rabbi Analia Bortz, Congregation Or Hadash – Sandy Springs, GA
Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta – Atlanta, GA
Rabbi Brian Glusman – Atlanta, GA
Rabbi Pamela Gottfried – Atlanta, GA
Cantor Deborah Hartman – Atlanta, GA
Rabbi Ari Kaiman – Atlanta, GA
Rabbi Joshua Heller – Atlanta, GA
Rabbi Mark Hillel Kunis – Atlanta, GA
Rabbi Joshua Lesser, Congregation Bet Haverim – Atlanta, GA
Rabbi Bradley Levenberg – Atlanta, GA
Rabbi Malka Packer-Monroe, 18Doors Atlanta – Atlanta, GA
Rabbi Laurence Rosenthal – Atlanta, GA
Rabbi Don Seeman, New Toco Shul – Atlanta, GA
Rabbi Mark Zimmerman – Atlanta, GA
Rabbi Ellen Nemhauser, Faith Alliance of Metro Atlanta – Atlanta, GA
Rabbi Mark Zimmerman – Atlanta, GA
Rabbi Jordan M. Ottenstein – Johns Creek, GA
Rabbi Daniel Dorsch – Marietta, GA
Rabbi Shalom Lewis – Marietta, GA
Rabbi Jason Holtz – Roswell, GA
Rabbi Alexandria Shuval-Weiner – Roswell, GA
Rabbi Analia Bortz – Sandy Springs, GA
Rabbi Josh Heller – Sandy Springs, GA
Rabbi Ron Segal – Sandy Springs, GA
Rabbi Linda Bertenthal – Davenport, IA
Rabbi Daniel Fink – Boise, ID
Rabbi Rebecca Dubowe – Bloomington, IL
Rabbi Lisa Sari Bellows – Buffalo Grove, IL
Rabbi Stephen Hart, Rabbi Emeritus, Temple Chai – Buffalo Grove, IL
Rabbi Richard M Prass, Congregation Beth Am – Buffalo Grove, IL
Rabbi Aryeh Bernstein – Chicago, IL
Camp Ramah in Wisconsin and Ramah Day Camp in Chicago – Chicago, IL
Rabbi Megan GoldMarche – Chicago, IL
Rabbi Lauren Henderson – Chicago, IL
Rabbi Jessica Lott – Chicago, IL
Cantor Andrea Rae Markowicz – Chicago, IL
Rabbi Suzanne Griffel – Chicago, IL
National Council of Jewish Women IL State Policy Advocacy Chairs
Rabbi Allan Kensky – Evanston, IL
Rabbi Amy L. Memis-Foler – Evanston, IL
Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg – Evanston, IL
Rabbi Michael E. Schwab – Highland Park, IL
Rabbi Isaac Serotta – Highland Park, IL
Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus – Homewood, IL
Rabbi Paul F. Cohen – Northfield, IL
Bi’nai Abraham Zion, Oak Park Temple – Oak Park, IL
Rabbi Max Weiss – Oak Park, IL
Rabbi Bryna Milkow – Peoria, IL
Rabbi Josh Feigelson – Skokie, IL
Jewish Community Foundation of SE WI & N IL – Wadsworth, IL
National Council of Jewish Women Chicago North Shore Section
Rabbi Richard B. Safran – Fort Wayne, IN
Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council – Indianapolis, IN
Rabbi Brett Krichiver – Indianapolis, IN
Rabbi Karen Companez – South Bend, IN
Rabbi Michael Harvey – West Lafayette, IN
Cantor Sharon Hordes – Louisville, KY
Rabbi Beth Jacowitz Chottiner – Louisville, KY
Jewish Community Relations Council of Louisville – Louisville, KY
Jewish Family & Career Services – Louisville, KY
Jews for Justice in Immigration – Louisville, KY
Rabbi Stan Miles – Louisville, KY
National Council of Jewish Women Louisville Section
National Council of Jewish Women KY State Policy Advocacy Chair
Rabbi Gaylia R. Rooks – Louisville, KY
Rabbi Robert Slosberg – Louisville, KY
Rabbi Diane Tracht – Louisville, KY
Rabbi Raina Siroty – Alexandria, LA
Rabbi Natan Trief – Baton Rouge, LA
Jewish Federation of Greater New Orleans – New Orleans, LA
National Council of Jewish Women Greater New Orleans Section – New Orleans, LA
Cantor Sarra Spierer – Acton, MA
Rabbi Michael Rothbaum – Acton, MA
Cantor Idan Irelander – Andover, MA
Rabbi Alison Adler – Beverly, MA
Rabbi Jen Gubitz – Boston, MA
Rabbi Becky Silverstein – Boston, MA
Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston – Boston, MA
New England Jewish Labor Committee – Boston, MA
Rabbi Neil Kominsky – Brookline, MA
Rabbi Jim Morgan – Brookline, MA
Rabbi Elias Lieberman – East Falmouth, MA
Rabbi Steven Edelman-Blank – Hopkinton, MA
Rabbi Allison Berry – Newton, MA
Rabbi Carol Glass – Newton, MA
Rabbi Michael Swarttz – Newton, MA
Rabbi Riqi Kosovske – Northampton, MA
Cantor Vera Broekhuysen – North Andover, MA
Rabbi Eric S. Gurvis – Sherborn, MA
Rabbi Amy W Katz – Springfield, MA
Rabbi Kenneth Carr – South Easton, MA
Jewish Family and Children’s Service – Waltham, MA
Rabbi Julie Wolkoff – Wellesley, MA
Rabbi Aviva Fellman – Worcester, MA
Baltimore Jewish Council – Baltimore, MD
Rabbi Emeritus Donald Berlin – Baltimore, MD
Jewish Volunteer Connection – Baltimore, MD
Rabbi Elissa Sachs-Kohen – Baltimore, MD
The Morningstar Foundation – Chevy Chase, MD
Rabbi Avis Miller, Open Dor Foundation, Inc. – Chevy Chase, MD
Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb, Adat Shalom Reconstructionist Congregation – Bethesda, MD
Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington – North Bethesda, MD
Rabbi Avis Miller – Chevy Chase, MD
Rabbi Joanne Yocheved Heiligman – Columbia, MD
Rabbi Tirza Covel – Olney, MD
Rabbi Scott Hoffman – Olney, MD
Rabbi Jack A. Luxemburg – North Potomac, MD
Rabbi Mitchel Malkus – Potomac, MD
Rabbi Janet Ozur Bass – Rockville, MD
Rabbi James Michaels – Rockville, MD
Rabbi Michael Safra – Rockville, MD
Rabbi Jonathan Schnitzer – Rockville, MD
Rabbi Daria Jacobs-Velde – Silver Spring, MD
Rabbi Yaffa-Shira Sultan – Silver Spring, MD
Rabbi Darah R. Lerner – Bangor, ME
Rabbi Gary Berenson – Portland, ME
Rabbi Carolyn Braun – Portland, ME
Rabbi Jared H. Saks, Congregation Bet Ha’am – South Portland, ME
Rabbi Rachel Isaacs – Waterville, ME
National Council of Jewish Women Michigan Section
National Council of Jewish Women MI State Policy Advocacy Chairs
Rabbi Ari Witkin – Detroit, MI
Rabbi Simone Schicker – Kalamazoo, MI
Rabbi Joshua L. Bennett, Temple Israel – West Bloomfield, MI
Rabbi Arianna Gordon – West Bloomfield, MI
Rabbi Marla Hornsten – West Bloomfield, MI
Rabbi Jen Lader – West Bloomfield, MI
Cantor Neil Michaels – West Bloomfield, MI
Rabbi Jennifer Kaluzny – West Bloomfield, MI
Rabbi Harold Loss – West Bloomfield, MI
Rabbi Paul Yedwab – West Bloomfield, MI
Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis – Minneapolis, MN
National Council of Jewish Women Minnesota State Policy Advocacy Chair
Rabbi Jill Crimmings – Minnetonka, MN
Rabbi Carol Glass – St. Paul, MN
Rabbi Lynn Liberman – St. Paul, MN
Minnesota Rabbinic Association
Jewish Community Relations Council of St Louis – St. Louis, MO
Jewish Federation of St. Louis – St. Louis, MO
Rabbi James Bennett – St. Louis, MO
Rabbi Josef Davidson – St. Louis, MO
Rabbi Amy Feder – St. Louis, MO
Rabbi Andrea Goldstein – St. Louis, MO
Rabbi Tracy Nathan – St. Louis, MO
Rabbi Jeffrey Stiffman – St. Louis, MO
Rabbi Susan Talve – St. Louis, MO
National Council of Jewish Women, St. Louis – St. Louis, MO
Rabbi Francine Roston – Whitefish, MT
Rabbi Patti Haskell – Asheville, NC
Rabbi Sandra Lawson – Burlington, NC
Rabbi Dusty Klass – Charlotte, NC
Rabbi Daniel Greyber – Durham, NC
Rabbi Dov Goldberg – Fayetteville, NC
Rabbi Andrew Vogel Ettin – Pfafftown, NC
Rabbi Lucy Dinner – Raleigh, NC
Jewish Federation of Raleigh-Cary – Raleigh, NC
Rabbi Brian Stoller, Temple Israel – Omaha, NE
Rabbi Beth D. Davidson – Manchester, NH
Rabbi Jonathan Spira-Savett – Nashua, NH
Rabbi Laurence P. Malinger – Aberdeen, NJ
Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest, NJ
National Council of Jewish Women Bergen County Section – Bergenfield, NJ
Rabbi Dan Selsberg – Bridgewater, NJ
Rabbi Clifford B. Miller – Caldwell, NJ
Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Southern New Jersey – Cherry HIll, NJ
Rabbi Micah Peltz – Cherry Hill, NJ
Rabbi David-Seth Kirshner – Closter, NJ
New Jersey Jewish Labor Committee – Cranford, NJ
Rabbi Paul D. Kerbel – Cranford, NJ
Rabbi Jay M. Kornsgold – East Windsor, NJ
Rabbi Justin Pines – Englewood, NJ
Rabbi Lindsey Healey-Pollack – Englewood, NJ
Rabbi Dina Shargel – Fair Lawn, NJ
Rabbi Eric Cohen – Flemington, NJ
Rabbi Philip Bazeley – Highland Park, NJ
Rabbi Stephane Dickstein – Highland Park, NJ
Rabbi Diana Miller – Lambertville, NJ
Rabbi Elisa Goldberg, Temple Micah – Lawrenceville, NJ
Rabbi David Z. Vaisberg, Temple B’nai Abraham – Livingston, NJ
Rabbi Richard F Address, D.MIn – Manuta, NJ
Rabbi Donald A. Weber – Marlboro, NJ
Rabbi Nathan Weiner – Marlton, NJ
Rabbi Faith Joy Dantowitz – Milburn, NJ
Rabbi Helaine Ettinger – Millburn, NJ
Rabbi Benjamin David – Mount Laurel, NJ
Rabbi Esther Reed – New Brunswick, NJ
Rabbi Robert L. Wolkoff – North Brunswick, NJ
Jewish Community Relations Council of Northern New Jersey – Paramus, NJ
Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey – Paramus, NJ
Rabbi Sara Metz – Perth Amboy, NJ
Cantor Richard Nadel, Jewish Council of Cedar Crest – Pompton Plains, NJ
Jewish Federations of New Jersey – Scotch Plains, NJ
The Jewish Federation in the Heart of New Jersey – South River, NJ
Rabbi Ruth Gais – Summit, NJ
Rabbi Hannah Orden – Summit, NJ
Cantors Assembly, NJ Region – Teaneck, NJ
Rabbi Lee S. Paskind – Teaneck, NJ
Rabbi Joel Pitkowsky – Teaneck, NJ
Rabbi Steven Sirbu – Teaneck, NJ
Rabbi Marc Kline – Tinton Falls, NJ
Rabbi Andy Green – Vorhees, NJ
Rabbi Randall Mark – Wayne, NJ
Jewish Care Program – Albuquerque, NM
Rabbi Harry Rosenfeld – Albuquerque, NM
Rabbi Malcolm Cohen – Las Vegas, NV
UJA-Federation of New York
Jewish Family Services of Northeastern New York – Albany, NY
Rabbi Joshua Strom, Congregation B’nai Yisrael – Armonk, NY
Rabbi Barbara Goldman-Wartell – Binghamton, NY
Rabbi Daniel M. Bronstein, PhD – Brooklyn, NY
Rabbi Susan Falk – Brooklyn, NY
Rabbi Sam Levine – Brooklyn, NY
Rabbi Valerie Lieber – Brooklyn, NY
Rabbi Ellen Lippmann – Brooklyn, NY
Rabbi Eliseo D. Rozenwasser – Brooklyn, NY
Rabbi Thomas Gardner – Bronx, NY
Rabbi Katie Greenberg – Bronx, NY
Rabbi Joel Schwab – Bronx, NY
Rabbi Steve Golden – Ceadarhurst, NY
Rabbi Rebecca Shinder, Temple Beth Shalom – Florida, NY
Cantor Alan J. Brava – Flushing, NY
Rabbi Jonathan Rubenstein – Gansevoort, NY
Rabbi Linda Henry Goodman – Garden City, NY
Rabbi Shoshana Hantman – Katonah, NY
National Council of Jewish Women Peninsula Section
Rabbi Susan Elkodsi – Malverne, NY
Jewish Family Service of Orange County – Middletown, NY
Rabbi Rachel Rubenstein – Middletown, NY
National Council of Jewish Women-Lakeville Section – New Hyde Park, NY
Rabbi Rena Blumenthal – New Paltz, NY
National Council of Jewish Women Rockland Section
Rabbi Guy Austrian – New York, New York
B’nai Jeshurun – New York, NY
Dobkin Family Foundation – New York, NY
Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal – New York, NY
Rabbi Judith B. Edelstein – New York, NY
Rabbi Michael Feinberg – New York, NY
Rabbi Mick Fine – New York, NY
Rabbi Jonah Geffen – New York, NY
Rabbi David Gelfand, Temple Israel of the City of New York – New York, NY
Rabbi Rachel Gross-Prinz – New York, NY
Cantor Todd Kipnis – New York, NY
Rabbi Myriam Klotz – New York, NY
Rabbi Lori Koffman – New York, NY
National Council of Jewish Women NYC State Policy Advocacy Chair – New York, NY
Rabbi Joseph Potasnik – New York, NY
Rabbi Deborah Prinz – New York, NY
Rabbi Sarah Reines – New York, NY
Rabbi David A. Reinhart – New York, NY
Rabbi Felicia Sol – New York, NY
Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub – New York, NY
A Wider Bridge – New York, NY
Rabbi Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz – New York, NY
Rabbi Tzemah Yoreh – New York, NY
Rabbi Sara Zacharia – New York, NY
Rabbi Jacob Rosner, Agudas Israel – Newburgh, NY
Rabbi Dana Z Bogatz – Peekskill, NY
Rabbi Adam D. Fisher – Port Jefferson Station, NY
Cantor Claire Franco – Port Washington, NY
Rabbi Drorah Setel – Rochester, NY
Cantor Paula Pepperstone – Syracuse, NY
Cantor Nava Herzog, Congregation Beth Hillel/The Walden Jewish Community Center –
Walden, NY
Westchester Jewish Council – Westchester County, NY
Rabbi Mark Friedman – White Lake, NY
Hillels of Westchester – White Plains, NY
Rabbi Robert Tabak – White Plains, NY
Cincinnati Jewish Community Relations Council – Cincinnati, OH
Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi – Cincinnati, OH
Rabbi David Burstein, Congregation Beth Adam – Cincinnati, OH
Rabbi Sigma Faye Coran, Rockdale Temple -Cincinnati, OH
Rabbi George Barnard – Cincinnati, OH
Rabbi Benjamin Chaidell – Cincinnati, OH
Rabbi Noah Ferro – Cincinnati, OH
Rabbi Meredith Kahan – Cincinnati, OH
Rabbi Lewis Kamrass – Cincinnati, OH
Rabbi Margaret Meyer – Cincinnati, OH
Rabbi Jonathan K. Perlman – Cincinnati, OH
Rabbi Judith Spicehandler – Cincinnati, OH
Rabbi Elena Stein – Cincinnati, OH
Rabbi Miriam Terlinchamp – Cincinnati, OH
Rabbi Gary Phillip Zola – Cincinnati, OH
Jewish Federation of Cleveland – Cleveland, OH
National Council of Jewish Women Ohio State Policy Advocacy Chair – Cleveland, OH
Jewish Family Services – Columbus, OH
National Council of Jewish Women Cleveland Section – Cleveland, OH
Rabbi Jessica K. Shimberg – Columbus, OH
Rabbi Joshua Ginsberg – Dayton, OH
Jewish Federation of Greater Dayton – Dayton, OH
Rabbi Cary Kozberg – Springfield, OH
Jewish Family Services – Youngstown, OH
Rabbi Frank Muller – Youngstown, OH
Youngstown Area Jewish Federation – Youngstown, OH
Rabbi Eric Slaton, Beth Israel Synagogue – Hamilton, OH
Cantor Alane S. Katzew, BCC, Cedar Village Care & Community – Mason, OH
Youngstown Area Jewish Federation – Youngstown, OH
Rabbi Vered Harris – Oklahoma City, OK
Jewish Federation of Greater Portland – Portland, OR
Rabbi Daniel Isaak – Portland, OR
Rabbi David Kosak – Portland, OR
Rabbi Hannah Laner – Portland, OR
Rabbi Robert S. Leib – Abington, PA
Rabbi Ari Perten – Allentown, PA
Jewish Family Service of the Lehigh Valley – Allentown, PA
Rabbi Allen Juda – Bethlehem, PA
Rabbi Moshe Re’em – Allentown, PA
Rabbi Robert Leib, Old York Road Temple-Beth Am – Abington, PA
Rabbi Michael Singer – Bethlehem, PA
Rabbi Marjorie Berman – Clarks Summit, PA
Rabbi Adam Wohlberg – Drescher, PA
Rabbi Jon Cutler – Eagle, PA
Rabbi Rebecca Einstein Schorr – Easton, PA
Rabbi Andrea Merow – Elkins Park, PA
Rabbi Deborah Waxman – Elkins Park, PA
Rabbi Maurice Harris – Glendale, PA
Rabbi Ari Kaiman – Glenside, PA
Rabbi Erin Hirsh – Glenside, PA
Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley – Lehigh Valley, PA
Rabbi Rayzel Raphael – Melrose Park, PA
Rabbi Robert Tabak – Melrose Park, PA
Rabbi Aaron Gaber – Newtown, PA
Rabbi David Ackerman – Penn Valley, PA
Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia – Philadelphia, PA
Rabbi Malkah Binah Klein – Philadelphia, PA
Rabbi Simcha Zevit, Narberth Havurah – Philadelphia, PA
Rabbi Beth Kalisch – Philadelphia, PA
Cantor Rick Lawrence – Philadelphia, PA
Hazzan Naomi Hirsch – Philadelphia, PA
Rabbi Erica Steelman – Philadelphia, PA
Rabbi Robyn Frisch – Philadelphia, PA
Rabbi Rayna Grossman – Philadelphia, PA
Sarra Lev – Philadelphia, PA
Rabbi Jill Maderer – Philadelphia, PA
Rabbi Alanna Sklover – Philadelphia, PA
Rabbi David A. Teutsch – Philadelphia, PA
Rabbi Sheila Peltz Weinberg – Philadelphia, PA
Rabbi Micah Weiss – Philadelphia, PA
Rabbi Avi Winokur – Philadelphia, PA
Rabbi Shawn Zevit – Philadelphia, PA
Rabbi Meryl Crean – Upper Gwynedd, PA
Rabbi Maury Hoberman, MD – West Chester, PA
Rabbi Robert Layman – Wyncote, PA
Rabbi Amber Powers – Wyncote, PA
Rabbi Neil S. Cooper – Wynnewood, PA
Rabbi Alan Iser – Wynnewood, PA
Rabbi Linda Potemken – Wynnewood, PA
Rabbi Meryl Crean – Upper Gwynedd, PA
Rabbi Anna Boswell-Levy – Yardley, PA
Rabbi Jonah Rank – Yardley, PA
Rabbi Raysh Weiss – Yardley, PA
Charleston Jewish Family Services – Charleston, SC
Charleston Jewish Federation – Charleston, SC
Rabbi Harry Danziger – Germantown, TN
Knoxville Jewish Alliance – Knoxville, TN
Rabbi Bess Wohlner – Memphis, TN
Rabbi Jeremy Simons – Memphis, TN
Jewish Family Service of Nashville and Middle TN – Nashville, TN
National Council of Jewish Women TN State Policy Advocacy Chair
National Council of Jewish Women TX State Policy Advocacy Chair – Austin, TX
Rabbi Amy Cohen – Austin, TX
Rabbi Heidi Coretz – Dallas, TX
Jewish Family Service of Dallas – Dallas, TX
National Council of Jewish Women Austin Section
National Council of Jewish Women Dallas Section
National Council of Jewish Women TX State Policy Advocacy Chairs
Rabbi Adam Roffman – Dallas, TX
Rabbi Seymour Rossel – Dallas, TX
Temple Emanu-El – Dallas, TX
Rabbi Ari Sunshine – Dallas, TX
Rabbi Shira Wallach – Dallas, TX
Rabbi Daniel Utley – Dallas, TX
Cantor Sheri Allen – Fort Worth, TX
Rabbi Ralph Mecklenburger – Fort Worth, TX
Rabbi Anne Belford – Houston, TX
Rabbi Daniel Horwitz – Houston, TX
Cantor Renee Waghalter – Houston, TX
National Council Jewish Women San Antonio Section- San Antonio, TX
Rabbi Samuel Stahl – San Antonio, TX
Rabbi Marina Yergin – San Antonio, TX
Cantor Wendy Elizabeth Bat-Sarah – Salt Lake City, UT
Rabbi Daniel Alexander – Charlottesville, VA
Rabbi Steven Rein – Alexandria, VA
Cantor Jennifer Rueben – Norfolk, VA
Rabbi Michael Knopf – Richmond, VA
Rabbi Ellen Jaffe-Gill, Tidewater Chavurah – Virginia Beach, VA
Rabbi David Katz – Williamsburg, VA
Rabbi Shana Margolin – Montpelier, VT
Rabbi Sydney Danziger – Bellevue, WA
Hebrew Free Loan Association of Washington State – Mercer Island, WA
Rabbi Olivier BenHaim – Seattle, WA
Camp Solomon Schechter – Seattle, WA
Rabbi Avi Fine – Seattle, WA
Rabbi Suri Friedman – Seattle, WA
Rabbi Will Berkovitz, CEO of Jewish Family Service Seattle – Seattle, WA
Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle – Seattle, WA
Rabbi Jason Levine – Seattle, WA
Rabbi James Mirel – Seattle, WA
Rabbi Paula Rose – Seattle, WA
Seattle Hadassah – Seattle, WA
Rabbi Callie Schulman – Seattle, WA
Rabbi Daniel A. Weiner – Seattle, WA
Rabbi Zari M. Weiss – Seattle, WA
Rabbi Ruth A. Zlotnick – Seattle, WA
Rabbi Joel Alter – Glendale, WI
Wisconsin Jewish Conference – Madison, WI
Rabbi Jonathan Biatch, Temple Beth El – Madison, WI
Rabbi Bonnie Margulis – Madison, WI
National Council of Jewish Women, Wisconsin Section – Mequon, WI
National Council of Jewish Women Milwaukee – Milwaukee, WI
Tikkun Ha-Ir of Milwaukee – Milwaukee, WI
Rabbi Martyn Adelberg – Racine, WI
Rabbi Victor Urecki – Charleston, WV
Rabbi Joseph Hample – Morgantown, WV

Letter to express strong opposition to the nomination of Stephen S. Schwartz to the US Court of Federal Claims

March 3, 2020

United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary
224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Graham, Ranking Member Feinstein, and Committee Members:

The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) writes to express its strong opposition to the nomination of Stephen Schwartz to the US Court of Federal Claims. Schwartz has worked to uphold voter suppression in North Carolina, fight against immigrant rights in Florida, and resist transgender rights in Virginia. He defended the state of Louisiana against constitutional challenges to seven bills that severely restrict access to abortion care enacted in 2016 by the state legislature. He also represented Louisiana’s efforts to restrict women’s access to abortion care by requiring physicians to have admitting privileges at a local hospital if they perform abortions, even though the Supreme Court has already struck down an identical Texas law. Schwartz’s alliance with the right would severely undermine the court’s appearance of neutrality. Until last year, Schwartz worked at the far-right Cause of Action Institute, a nonprofit legal advocacy group funded by the Koch brothers.

Notably, Schwartz has no experience practicing before the Court of Claims. Given the unique nature of this court, having practiced before it should at least be a baseline for consideration. This career opponent of civil rights lacks the requisite experience to be elevated to the federal bench. While his term would be set at 15 years, a seat on that court could be a stepping stone to a lifetime appointment.

As if Schwartz’s lack of experience and history of partisanship were not sufficiently disqualifying, his writings from 2001 – 2005 surely are. During his time at Yale, Schwartz wrote that Social Security should be abolished because economic disparity “is a natural aspect of the human condition.” He summarized his own writings by stating, “I’ve argued that abortion is wrong, that racial preferences in college admissions are dangerous, that gay marriage should stay illegal, that immigration should be curtailed.” Schwartz’s nomination is, quite simply, proof positive that this administration and Senate are bent on turning our nation’s judiciary into a deeply political body, despite the intentions of this country’s founders.

NCJW believes that seats on our nation’s judiciary must be reserved for experienced jurists committed to equality and justice for all. Accordingly, we strongly urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote against the confirmation of Stephen Schwartz to the United States Court of Federal Claims.

Sincerely,
Jody Rabhan
Chief Policy Officer
National Council of Jewish Women

53 faith-based and civil rights organizations support the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA)

The Honorable Frank Pallone
Chair
Committee on Energy & Commerce
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Doug Collins
Ranking Member
Committee on Energy & Commerce
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Anna Eshoo
Chair
Committee on Energy & Commerce
Subcommittee on Health
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Michael Burgess
Ranking Member
Committee on Energy & Commerce
Subcommittee on Health
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representatives Pallone, Walden, Eshoo, and Burgess:

As national faith-based, religious, and civil rights organizations that share a commitment to religious freedom and the separation of religion and government, we write to express our strong and unequivocal support for HR 2975, the Women’s Health Protection Act.

We affirm our nation’s founding principle of religious liberty, which is integrally bound to reproductive freedom. Religious liberty includes the right to follow one’s own faith or moral code in making critical, personal reproductive health decisions, without political interference. While we respect the right of every individual, including our lawmakers, to hold their own personal and religious beliefs, our country’s Constitution demands that no one impose a single religious viewpoint on all through civil law or regulation. The Women’s Health Protection Act is essential legislation that embodies these shared ideals.

The Women’s Health Protection Act is urgently needed. State lawmakers introduced a staggering 304 abortion restrictions in the first three months of 2019 alone, escalating attacks that have produced over 450 laws constraining access to reproductive health care since 2011. This egregious trend has resulted in large swaths of the country losing access to safe, timely abortion care. The Women’s Health Protection Act is an important bill that would enact protections on the federal level to safeguard access to high-quality care and to secure constitutional rights by protecting patients and providers from political or religious interference.

Rather than face onerous barriers due to their economic status, employment status, or zip code, this bill would ensure that each person can make a decision about abortion led by their own circumstances, faith, or moral beliefs. It would also protect the religious liberty of individual health care providers seeking to administer quality care to their patients and enable providers to deliver abortion services free from burdensome restrictions designed to impede access rather than improve patient health.

We believe in compassion, justice, and dignity for all, compelling us to speak out for social justice and the right of every person to access comprehensive, affordable, and equitable reproductive health care. We are committed to ensuring equity and justice for the most marginalized members of our society. Laws that limit the availability of abortion disrespect human dignity, erode constitutional rights, exact far-reaching health and economic consequences, and ignore the moral agency of physicians seeking to provide compassionate care. Furthermore, laws that eliminate options for some based on their geographic location are profoundly unjust, pushing care out of reach for those living in poverty and in rural areas, people of color, LGBTQ people, and young people. We cannot remain idle as state laws transform our country into a map of “haves and have-nots” with regard to access to reproductive health services.

Every day, we support equal, fair, and comprehensive access to health care and respect for personal decision-making. We support the Women’s Health Protection Act as a means to this end and urge you and your colleagues to do the same. It is the right thing to do.

 

Respectfully,
A Critical Mass: Women Celebrating Eucharist
African American Ministers In Action (AAMIA)
ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal
Ameinu
American Atheists
American Humanist Association
Anti-Defamation League
Avodah
Bend the Arc: Jewish Action
Catholics for Choice
CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
Central Conference of American Rabbis
Chicago Women-Church
Clergy Advocacy Board of Planned Parenthood Federation of America
CORPUS
Disciples Justice Action Network
Episcopal Women’s Caucus
Freedom From Religion Foundation
Global Justice Institute (MCC)
Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc.
Human Rights Campaign
Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action
Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA)
Jewish Women International
Jews United for Justice
Keshet
Methodist Federation for Social Action
Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC)
Muslim Advocates
Muslims for Progressive Values
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN)
National Council of Jewish Women
National Organization for Women
Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies
People For the American Way
Rabbinical Assembly
Reconstructing Judaism
Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice of Connecticut, Inc.
Religious Institute
Society for Humanistic Judaism
Tivnu: Building Justice
T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
Union for Reform Judaism
Unitarian Universalist Women’s Federation
United Church of Christ, Justice, and Witness Ministries
Voices for Progress
Women of Reform Judaism
Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual (WATER)
Women’s League for Conservative Judaism
Women’s Ordination Conference