Rabbi Faith Joy Dantowitz of Temple B’nai Abraham in Livingston and Rabbi Elliot Tepperman of Bnai Keshet in Montclair were among the delegates at an American Jewish World Service Policy Summit this month largely devoted to championing women’s and LGBT rights worldwide.
Delegates met in Washington May 11-13 to promote AJWS’s “We Believe” campaign, launched last year, which focuses on passage of the International Violence against Women Act, ending discrimination against LGBT individuals, and ending child marriage.
Dantowitz is a Rabbinic Global Justice Fellow with AJWS. During the year-long program, fellows learn from grassroots activists working to overcome poverty and injustice and train to mobilize their communities and networks to advance AJWS campaigns.
Among the speakers at the conference was Randy Berry, the first-ever U.S. Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons. AJWS supported the legislation that created his position.
Dantowitz said she was moved by a late-night visit with other rabbinic fellows to the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial. “We read his words and messages that compel us today,” she said. “One quote particularly spoke to me about the work I’m engaged in with AJWS, reaching out to our global society: ‘If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.’”