I never thought we would find someone whose social justice bonafides could match those of Rabbi David Saperstein, who forcefully spoke truth to power as the leader of the RAC for 40 years.
Well, we have. He is Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner. A passionate advocate and experienced community organizer, Jonah founded Just Congregations, a congregation-based community organizing initiative that allows Reform synagogues to act powerfully and successfully across lines of faith, class and race to address the root causes of economic and social injustice.
As the rabbi at Temple Israel in Boston, Jonah was a primary leader in “Affordable Care Today!”, the successful Massachusetts campaign for health care access that provided coverage to hundreds of thousands and became a model for reform. He also has led and supported campaigns for economic justice, marriage equality, human rights, and a variety of other causes.
Among his top priorities are economic inequality, racial justice and climate change. And he already has engaged in this important work. He was a forceful keynote speaker during America’s Journey for Justice’s rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. In his remarks during “Coming Together in Faith on Climate” at the Washington National Cathedral, Jonah stated that if we wish to “celebrate the gift God gave us – the gift of existence, of living, and breathing, of seeing and tasting – then we must acknowledge the responsibility that human existence carries in the face of the climate crisis of our age….”
Rabbi Saperstein, who was was confirmed last year as U.S. Ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom, said Jonah is a respected voice among government leaders as well as faith leaders both inside of and beyond the Jewish community…. I am heartened to know that Jonah will be here to continue moving our work forward.”
I, too, have worked with Jonah and know he will be an effective advocate for social justice for us for years to come.