DOMA, Proposition 8 Decisions and What Makes Our Nation Great

— by Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs

Yesterday’s Supreme Court decisions on the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8 were met with celebration by many who have supported the right of people of the same sex to marry. Others have felt that such rights should not be afforded because of earnestly held religious beliefs. There are differing opinions as to how Jews should respond to this issue, although there is consensus that Judaism teaches respect for others and that we abhor discrimination against individuals.

More after the jump.
We live in a democratic society, in which we are all free to express our opinions about social issues and to advocate vigorously for those opinions. That is part of what makes our nation great. We have a system of laws that protects our rights to speech, religion — and to petition our government to redress grievances as the plaintiffs in the marriage cases did today. No one group and no religion has the right to dictate its beliefs to the entire body politic. In the end, our democratic process determines matters such as this, and that process has spoken. Many in our community are celebrating this decision. Others do not join in that celebration. Together, we must continue in honest dialogue, learning from one another, and striving for what is best for our community and our nation.

It’s Time for Pennsylvania to Pass Marriage Equality Legislation


An LGBT flag in Philadelphia

— by State Senator Daylin Leach

Yesterday, the Supreme Court spoke on the issue of marriage equality. And the sound you heard is the arc of history bending toward justice. The court did two things:

  • They struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, which means that gay and lesbian couples who are legally married in any state, are now fully and completely married in the eyes of the federal government — they will now receive all rights and benefits of marriage — and the obscene discrimination that they faced in federal law prior to today is over.
  • The court also dismissed the appeal of a lower court’s decision striking down Proposition 8 in California. This means that the lower court’s ruling stands, and that gay and lesbian couples in California are now legally free to marry the person they love, and 38 million Californians now live under equality.

Continued after the jump.
These two decisions bring our nation into line with our historic values. Discrimination and bigotry are simply not in America’s DNA. The Court’s decision in the DOMA case was particularly poignant and insightful, saying that laws that treat gay and straight people differently have “no legitimate purpose.”

This language, and these decisions make it clear that legal discrimination against gay people is on its way to the ash-heap of history. The legislature and governor of Pennsylvania now have a crucial decision to make. Do we now embrace equality and, as Hubert Humphrey said, “walk into the bright sunshine of human rights?” Or do we join states like Mississippi and Alabama as dead-enders, fighting a sad and futile battle for prejudice and fear?

I know where I stand. And the polls show where the people of Pennsylvania stand. It’s time for our government to do right by all of the people of our great Commonwealth, and pass marriage equality and anti-discrimination legislation this year.

Interview: Jewish Lesbian Couple Are First to Sign Civil Union in Colo.


Photos by Stevie Crecelius

— by Rabbi Goldie Milgram

Two Jewish women, Anna and Fran Simon, both of Denver, Colo., became the first same-sex couple to be issued a Civil Union, license at a midnight ceremony on May 1 in the Denver Office of the Clerk and Recorder. Rabbi Steve Booth participated in the rite, as well, having long-served beside them as an activist in this cause. In fact, it wasn’t the Simons’ first marriage ceremony.

Full interview after the jump.
Q: When did you decide to marry?

Anna Simon: Back in 2005 we had a Jewish wedding, so that we would be married in the eyes of God before we had children. We are somewhat traditional in that way, and felt it important to commit before our family and friends with a rabbi. 100 friends and family attended and Rabbi Jamie Korngold officiated. There were no civil legal ramifications of that ceremony at all, so it was very important to us that there one day be a civil service, and at it to have a rabbi and say the Shehecheyanu (prayer for special occasions) for being joined in the eyes of the law.

Q: Was the Jewish community able to be there for you?

Fran Simon: We felt incredible support from the Jewish community here in Colorado. From the Anti Defamation League that testified numerous times, Rabbi Steve Booth Nadav was at many hearings and votes. Keshet, the LGBT organization, was incredibly supportive, B’nai Havurah (congregation) and Judaism Your Way have also been very supportive and helped us achieve civil unions and continue in the fight for marriage equality. It was because of Steve’s role in the civil union fight that we wanted him to be part of our civil ceremony. Many faith leaders were involved in winning these protections.

Homosexuality in Judaism

The Reconstructionist movement, in its 1992 Report of the Reconstructionist Commission on Homosexuality, expressed its support for the full inclusion of gay men and lesbians in all aspects of Jewish life.

The Reform Movement‘s March 2000 Resolution on Same Gender Officiation states that, “the relationship of a Jewish, same gender couple is worthy of affirmation through appropriate Jewish ritual.”

The Conservative Moment: Homosexuality, Human Dignity and Halachah: A Combined Responsum was adopted in June 2012 by the Committee of Jewish Law and Standards, voted 13-0 with one abstention to formally approve same sex marriage ceremonies.

Orthodoxy: No mainstream Orthodox organization has endorsed same sex marriage. A growing number of independent Orthodox rabbis, starting with Rabbi Steven Greenberg have conducted such rituals.

Above: the Simons’ Brit Ahuvot, Female Lovers’ Union, between the bride and the bride

Q: How did the two ceremonies differ?

Anna Simon: We met the rabbi for our Jewish wedding, Jamie Korngold, to study the elements of a Jewish wedding, the brit (covenant), the sheva brachot (seven blessings), the priestly blessing, the kiddush — our rabbi, as a feminist, had already made tweaks to the ketubah for her own wedding, and ketubah for men and women too, that fit for us as well. The traditional ketubah is based on ownership law, but for our marriage we had a brit ahuvot (feminine plural for Covenant of Beloveds). We drew on Jewish partnership law, not ownership law, to formulate our document and the ceremony.

Fran Simon: We both broke glasses. It was extremely emotional for us when the rabbi said it was valid and binding. We honestly didn’t think it would make that much of a difference, but it did. We became somehow very much more committed to one another. Doing so in front of friends and family, and everyone agreeing to support our relationship, was overwhelming. The amount of love and support at both ceremonies was tremendous.

Q: Were there unifying factors between the two ceremonies?

Fran Simon: We customized our vows for our wedding, and our civil union incorporated the same themes. We designed our brit ahuvot with elements of justice, righteousness, lovingkindness and faithfulness.

Anna Simon: We both believe that customizing for authenticity and honor is really important.

Q:
Did these rituals change your relationship with your extended families?

Fran Simon: I believe my family saw us differently as a result. Leading up to the Jewish wedding, my parents weren’t telling their friends. I don’t think they saw it as a marriage until it got closer.

Anna Simon: Fran’s father’s toasts had everyone in tears. At our rehearsal dinner he said, “You know Francine, when you came out as a lesbian to me, I was really sad and I told you then, I had always wanted to dance at your wedding, and tomorrow — I will.”

Anna Simon: I want to add something about Fran’s mother, who always loved me completely: The wedding ritual changed her perspective and attitude about Fran’s being gay.

Fran Simon: My mother refers to Anna as her “daughter” and asks her to call her “mom.” As a consequence of the wedding, she told all of her friends about us. She’s completely out about her daughter now, after struggling with it for many years.

Q: Anna, what about your mother?

Anna Simon: Well, when I told her I was in love and this is the one, her first two questions were “Is she Jewish?” and “Where did she go to school?” And she was very happy with the answers to both those questions; that I married a nice Jewish girl.

Q: Where did you go to college? I imagine readers would now be curious.

Anna Simon: Fran went to Cornell and then Stanford. I went to Earlham and the University of New Mexico.

Q: Do you have children?

Fran Simon: We have a son who will be six in July. He was our ring-bearer at the civil union.

Q: You now both have the same last name. Was that a difficult decision?

Anna Simon: If I was married to a man, I would most certainly not have changed my name. Fran felt more attached to her family name. We didn’t want our children to always be answering the question: “Who is this woman with that other name?” Not only that, but Jeremy is the one that will carry on the Simon name, as there are no other male grandchildren in the Simon family.

Q: Have you had to make accommodations around caring for your son out there in gun country?

Fran Simon: Not really. They did have “mom’s night” and “dad’s night” at our school, and when we questioned the gender separation they said it’s just so that they don’t have everybody show up all at once. So we said, “why not just call them ‘parents’ nights?” That worked.

Anna Simon: We are very happy with people’s attitudes here, very warm and welcoming. Jeremy went to daycare at the university where I work. And when he got older we switched to our neighborhood school and we’ve benefited from families that have come before us. Though we are still doing some educating, we feel completely accepted.

Fran Simon: I think we also shelter ourselves. We have been in the media a lot in this fight for civil unions, and I read the comments in some of the articles calling us terrible parents, etc. People don’t say things to our faces, but in this state there are certainly a lot of people who don’t support our relationship.

We’ve come such a long way; in 2006 we had Referendum I, which was domestic partnerships, and only 47% of the state supported it. But in the last couple of years support for civil unions has been 70% or higher. And now for marriage, one poll I saw was 50% for and 38% against. All this in a state where a 2006 amendment defines marriage as between a man and woman. Colorado was labeled the “Hate State” in 2002 due to Amendment 2, which allowed legal discrimination against LGBT people.

Q: New Jersey has a State Amendment, that may come up for a vote, that would require health insurance to cover treatment for those who want to cease being homosexual and attain a heterosexual life. How would you address such a situation?

Anna Simon: There is not just moment when someone makes a decision to be attracted to someone of the opposite sex or the same sex. It is a very deep part of a person’s biological and psychological makeup. We only have to look a little bit back in history and see what happened when people writing with their left hand were forced to use their right hand. They could manage, but it was not what their natural position was. And we have learned very clearly there is harm in such forcing. I think it is a good analogy for one’s sexual orientation except on a more serious scale: There is horrible damage done through this so-called reparative therapy — suicide and destroyed lives in the wake of these well-intended but damaging therapies.

Fran Simon: Well-intended?

Anna Simon:  A parent who wants their child to be straight loves their child, and thinks that is the healthy way to be. My heart goes out to that parent; rather than trying to change their child, I would encourage them to find support to accept their child for who they are. PFLAG, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, is a helpful organization to seek out for guidance and support.

Q: What role does faith play in your lives?

Anna Simon: Our faith exists in everything that we do. We say Jewish prayers before we eat, and at bedtime; indeed at every significant event. Jewish ritual is woven into our everyday lives; at the end of each day we sing the shema with our son and talk about the things for which we are grateful to God.

Q: Did prayer help you hold the course in advocacy?

Fran Simon: I would say that faith played a role in the civil unions battle. It really was an emotional roller coaster at times. Last year, the Republican leaders essentially killed 30 bills just to kill the Civil Unions bill. We kept our faith, knowing it would pass, just as we know marriage equality will come to be in the near future.

Anna Simon: I feel strongly that we are called to the lives that we have and the work on justice. In our brit ahuvot, we talk about tikkun olam (repairing the world). We were able to testify a half a dozen times regarding this bill, in part because of where we live and the type of work we do, and given that we are out and at less risk than some. I believe literally that God intended us to do this work.

Q: How did your son relate to the civil ceremony?

Fran Simon: One Colorado organized a lot of the press who came. We did bring our son to testify at the hearings this year. Not previous years, just now, when we were very confident that it was going to pass. He also attended the rallies; he was part of help makeing this bill become law. We felt extremely honored to be the first couple to receive the civil union. Our son saw the signing pens on the document table, and asked for one before the ceremony. And I said, “No, these are for very special people.” And then, at the bill signing, one of the bill’s sponsors, Senator Guzman, spontaneously gave one the pens to the governor to give to Jeremy.

Anna Simon: I want to acknowledge how grateful we are to all the people in Colorado who supported the effort, and to our legislators, who showed courage and real leadership in passing this bill. There are many people that put in time, money, effort and sacrifice to make the bill pass.

Q: Thank you so much. May you be blessed with long healthy lives together in your loving Jewish home, and may your work for justice prevail.

Rabbi Goldie Milgram’s Living Jewish Life Cycle: How to Create Meaningful Jewish Rites of Passage at Every Stage of Life (Jewish Lights Publishing) provides traditional and inclusive step-by-step guides to all Jewish rites of passage. Also see the websites ritualwell and Keshet for information on the subject.

JSPAN Joins Briefs In U.S. Supreme Court Same-Sex Marriage Cases

— by Lynn Zeitlin, JSPAN Past President

There are two cases before the United States Supreme Court involving same-sex marriage. We are pleased to announce that JSPAN has joined the two amici briefs for which the ADL was the lead amicus.

One brief was filed in support of Edith Windsor, who challenged the constitutionality of Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), after being denied treatment as a surviving spouse under federal estate tax and other laws despite having been legally married in Canada. Section 3 of DOMA amends the United States Code to define “marriage’ and “spouse” for federal laws, rules and regulations as follows: “the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife.”

More after the jump.
The brief JSPAN signed makes the argument that Section 3 of DOMA violates not only the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of Equal Protection but also the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. The brief points out that numerous religious denominations recognize marriages between two men and two women and points out that the Establishment Clause prohibits laws that favor a particular religious view over others and does not have a secular purpose as its primary purpose or effect. The brief argues that DOMA had only a religious purpose that flies in the face of longstanding Establishment Clause principles and is therefore unconstitutional. The Fifth Amendment argument is grounded in the absence of any legitimate governmental purpose in enacting DOMA so that the only motivation for its passage was moral disapproval of gay and lesbian people, which has never been a sufficient rationale for justifying a law that discriminates, citing Justice O’Connor’s concurrence in the Lawrence v. Texas case that overturned a Texas law criminalizing gay sex practices.

The second brief joined by JSPAN is in the case out of California popularly known as the Prop 8 case. In May 2008, the California Supreme Court ruled that the California law barring same-sex couples from marrying violated the state’s constitution. In November that same year, Proposition 8 was passed by voters; it defined marriage as between one man and one woman. The brief makes the same point as the Windsor brief, pointing out that the Court no longer relies on religious or moral disapproval as a legitimate basis for any law. Thus, the brief argues, laws that discriminate against historically disadvantaged minorities have been rejected by the courts as societal support for discrimination.

Review: The New 60: Outliving Yourself and Reinventing a Future

THE NEW 60: Outliving Yourself and Reinventing a Future, by Robert Levithan seems to have been compiled at age 59. Gay, AIDS positive and “in the 1990s the ‘designated die-er’ in my circle”, the author exudes the profound joy of one blessed with unexpected years of life who has attained through the new medications, luck and self-care: “extraordinary health.” His sadness, given AIDS means he cannot responsibly provide his seed to father children, is also reflected in this honest narrative. A therapist in private practice, and active volunteer with Friends In Deed, a crisis center for those with life-threatening illnesses, he is also an active blogger. The New 60 is a reprinting of about thirty-three of Robert Levithan’s on-going blogs.

Frankly, as Robert Levithan presents himself in writing, I found it hard to like the man. His style is flooded with a stressing of associations with persons and things accomplished — the Huffington Post, O — The Opra Magazine, having had a relationship with the photographer Peter Hujar, with another man who had “an Oscar and some Tonys,” and a “Venezuelan director,” his nephew being a “Lambda award-winning author,” being photographed by Robert Maplethrope, upcoming travels to Turkey, Greece, South Africa, etc. And an entire chapter that opens: “Of late, I have been dating mostly younger men —  much younger men.” And, further on in the chapter: “My lovers have been my teachers, my comrades, my students.”
I felt I was missing the point of the book, something that a target audience would know right away. So I e-mailed Robert Levithan to find out the intended target audience, given he hadn’t reached his sixties at the time of writing, the title wasn’t conveying well. He called almost immediately: “I have a real desire is to reach young men and women with the message that they don’t have to be afraid of getting older. A lot of people, particularly gay men, fear passing 40.”

Concerns about HIV & Gay Suicide

Levithan told me he was deeply affected by Bob Bergeron’s suicide. Bergeron had written a book titled “The Right Side of Forty: The Complete Guide to Happiness for Gay Men at Midlife and Beyond,” but it never was published despite a signed book contract, because he killed himself prior to the volume’s release. Levithan also of his concern for: “Narcissistically driven gay men that, when they lose attractiveness believe their life is going to be over.” He also writes of the dangers of vanity and the great beauty of “other-bodied people.”

Levithan further explained on our call: “The myth is those with HIV have a ‘shelf life.’ I show how to keep going and grow from it.” His goal is to offer an alternative view, that other chapters of life are possible, after 40, with/or without AIDS. It’s still not clear to me how a title “The New 60” would attract a readership of those fearing moving into their forties or fifties, nor what he knows, yet, about being in one’s 60s or beyond. His optimism and advice is abundant.

Questions of Boundaries

Given Robert Levithan is a therapist, his range of choices of partners seems strange. Surely he is aware of the problem of power differentials between people that arise not only professionally, but also by age. So I asked him: How do you view it as ethical to date young men?” Levithan first addresses this by explaining that he advocates recreational sex, not only sex inside of relationships and views it as a need of most men and some women. He also explains, as he does in the book, how having young lovers allows him to give them the mature mentoring he received from three relationships with older men when he was young. And then points out, as what he seems to consider a redeeming factor, a psychodynamic awareness he offers in the book: that perhaps dating young men is a form of avoidance of long-term relationships. “Besides,” he adds,  “I’m not a predator, young men approach me.”

“How do you tell someone you have AIDS?” I feel I have to ask, since safe sex isn’t a topic addressed in the book. “I really don’t have to; it’s listed in my profile on dating sites.” So I further inquired: “With so much that is fascinating to do in life, why is your ability to attract sexual partners a preponderant theme in your book?” His response: “In the HIV community, the HIV positive folks tend to feel they won’t have an opportunity; that their sex life is over. So I portray my own flawed journey, as a source of inspiration.”

Jewish Values Considerations

Since the author provides a chapter in which he strongly advocates honestly, I will give my honest opinion. I wouldn’t put this book into the hands of most young gay men under 40, or young people elsewhere in the spectrum of gender, despite it’s depiction of some beautifully realized Jewish values – particularly visiting the sick, honoring the dead, volunteerism and philanthropy. Actually, it is when he is sharing mitzvah-centered vignette’s and not talking about himself, that I find Robert Levithan is at his best.  

As a liberal rabbi, I’ve taught young people — gay and straight, the mitzvah of shmirat ha-guf, care for the body, the practices of safe sex, nutrition and exercise and the value of waiting on an intimate physical relationship until one is with someone likely to be enduringly beloved. This author’s values just don’t go there. THE NEW 60: Outliving Yourself and Reinventing a Future constitutes a provocative read for mature adults, and can lead to meaningful discussion. This book may well also be a helpful gift for those who tend to isolate, and/or lose their perspective on how life can continue in its joys and wonders in the wake of severe traumas, like contracting AIDS.  

Jewish Gay Pride Strong at Philadelphia Parade

Dignity characterized Philadelphia's Gay Pride Parade yesterday. Each group marching past the review stands at Independence Mall stood tall and in the thousands, reflecting a growing and strong array of social service, religious and artistic, family and corporate support for equality across the full range of gender. 

The Philadelphia Jewish Voice was on the scene with a substantial booth at the six hour Penn's Landing party into which the parade participants and observers poured. Why? Rabbi Janet Marder put the matter most succinctly to my mind in the October 1985 issues of the Reconstructionist Magazine: "Reverence for tradition is no virtue when it promotes injustice and human suffering." All afternoon long, Jews and non-Jews of all ages and gender orientations came over to appreciate and explore our Jewish presence. We could see representatives of Beth Ahavah, the Delaware Valley's only gay and lesbian synagogue, as busy as we, across the courtyard. 

The progress in GBLTQ acceptance in Jewish life is substantial, albeit incomplete and insufficient. Since the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College led the way with unconditional ordination of gay and lesbian students in 1984, all the movements, save for for Orthodoxy have found their way to inclusive rites and ordinations. A few summers back National Havurah Institute offered programming to raise awareness of the leadership, challenges and needs of transgender Jews. In Jewish Renewal inclusion has long been manifest and encoded within its ethical platform.
 
"I'm so glad you're here," was what we heard over and over at the parade yesterday. We're offering a free raffle through the end of June with one of the prizes a free commitment ceremony with trimming donated from the flowers, cake, clothes and more.
  
More after the jump.

Yes, Judaism is big on family and commitment, so it was a joy to hear many share that they'd already undertake a Jewish commitment ceremony with their local Philadelphia rabbi. And we often heard comments such as these: "Reb Goldie, did you know that our rabbi is out and she's amazing! and "Ours isn't a gay synagogue, our rabbi is gay. We're an everyone synagogue and we love our rabbi." 
 
Echoing in every moment, for me, was the memory of being a married student attending the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote back in the 1980s when gay and lesbian ordination was coming up for a vote in the moment. Accustomed to heterosexual privilege, my heart broke that a vote on the humanity and Jewish authenticity of those around me. As a student body we rallied together, making sure airfares were available to get all possible voters down to the decision-making body that would be meeting in Florida. How could a Jewish human's right to ordination could possibly be an issue if they were succeeding in their training and studies? Faculty and movement leaders held educational programs to help members prepare for the vote. Gay and lesbian ordination passed by an overwhelming majority.
 
The Reconstructionist movement report mentioned early in this report states: "Traditional Judaism spoke of the widow, the orphan, the deaf, and the blind as those most in need of protection. Justice for the vulnerable is a test of the ultimate values of a community or society. Jewish sources, prayers and rituals continually remind us that we were once vulnerable as a people, enslaved in Egypt. We speak of having been strangers in the land of Egypt .At various later points in Jewish history, we have been vilified and oppressed for no reason other than our identity as Jews. As a consequence, a major theme of Jewish tradition is the obligation to be sensitive to the needs of … those that society views as outcast. The Jewish people has a special concern about just and fair treatment …"
 
One of the many parade delegations is called PFLAG, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. This year PFLAG was one of the smallest groups marching, which I find a cause for concern. Showing up and standing up for our neighbors' humanity, and in every extended family, the rights of those we love, is part of what it means to live a mitzvah-centered life. Next year, if you didn't this year, join us in "coming out" as Jews who do not accept discrimination as an acceptable way of life. 

Photo: Barry Bub.

Open Letter to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates

Dear Secretary Gates,

On behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, which includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis, we write to express our support for repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy. We find disappointing the position espoused that ministering to gays and lesbians would violate religious freedom. We strongly believe that such a repeal need not compromise religious freedom within our armed services, but instead will lead to a stronger, more fair and effective military.

While respecting the complexity and seriousness of the issue, the White House and many current and retired military leaders have recognized the urgency of repealing “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen and General Colin Powell, among others, have expressed their view that the policy should be abandoned.  These views reflect the fact that since its inception, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” has forced gay and lesbian service members to live their lives in secret, always at risk of losing their ability to serve our country. Almost 14,000 soldiers and sailors have been expelled under the policy. It has been estimated by the GAO that the cost of replacing these service members exceeds $200 million, with a follow up study by an expert commission placing the figure even higher, at $363 million.  Particularly in a time of war and recession, these are human and financial resources we cannot afford to squander.

More after the jump.
We know, however, that some in the religious community have expressed support for maintaining “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  We strongly hold the opposite view.  Communities of faith across the country believe in the importance of ensuring the rights of gay and lesbian Americans and repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” As Reform Jews, we are guided by the understanding that all human beings are created b’tselem Elohim, in the Divine image. Regardless of context, discrimination against any person is inconsistent with this fundamental belief, for the stamp of the Divine is present in each and every one of us. The repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is a crucial step toward creating a more just and compassionate military. We must no longer allow prejudice to deprive our nation of the skills and commitment of talented and patriotic men and women.

More than two-dozen countries allow homosexuals to serve openly in their militaries without negative impact on unit cohesion or efficiency. In fact, as you know, among NATO countries, only the United States and Turkey continue to have such bans. In Iraq and Afghanistan, American troops serve side by side with openly gay allied service members. In addition, 75 percent of Americans, a majority of both Democrats and Republicans, believe gays and lesbians should have the right to serve openly.

The time has come to repeal this harmful law. We urge you to do so expeditiously and with the interests of justice held paramount.

Sincerely,

Rabbi Steven A. Fox          
Chief Executive, Central Conference of American Rabbis    

Rabbi Eric Yoffie
President, Union for Reform Judaism