Thirty Jewish Leaders and Rabbis Visit White House to Urge U.S. Government to Help End Violence Against Women, Girls and LGBT People

WASHINGTON, DC — In a visit to the White House today organized by American Jewish World Service (AJWS), 30 Jewish leaders and rabbis from across the nation met with White House officials to learn about the administration’s strategy to end violence against women, girls and LGBT people. The delegation urged administration officials to continue working to ensure that women, girls and LGBT people are on the forefront of the United States’ foreign policy agenda. This effort is part of AJWS’s new national advocacy campaign, We Believe. AJWS is the leading Jewish international development and human rights organization working to end poverty and realize human rights in the developing world.

While at the White House, the delegation met with Jamille Bigio, White House Director for Human Rights and Gender, National Security Staff; Avra Siegel, Deputy Director of the White House Council on Women and Girls; Matt Nosanchuk, White House Jewish Liaison; Gautam Raghavan, White House Public Engagement Advisor; and Melissa Rogers, Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

“Around the world, women, girls and LGBT people are abused, assaulted and beaten, and our government must act decisively to help end this epidemic of violence,” said Timi Gerson, director of advocacy for AJWS, who was part of the delegation. “We were pleased to have the opportunity to learn about the administration’s strategy to end violence against women, girls and LGBT people and to discuss how we can work with the administration through our new We Believe campaign. We applaud President Obama and his administration for the proactive steps they have taken towards ending violence against women, girls and LGBT people. However, there is still more work to do and we cannot sit idly by while millions of women and girls are suffering worldwide.”

Over the course of its 28-year history, AJWS has worked with nearly 400 rabbis from every denomination of Judaism and thousands of other Jewish leaders to press for U.S. policies that will improve the lives of people living in the developing world.

Members of AJWS’s White House delegation included:

Rabbi Marvin Goodman, Executive Director of the Board of Rabbis of Northern California
Rabbi Peter Levi of Temple Beth El of South Orange County in Aliso Viejo
Rabbi Ahud Sela of Temple Ramat Zion in Northridge
Jeremy Simons, Rabbinical Student at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles

Rabbi Marc Soloway of Congregation Bonai Shalom in Boulder

Rabbi Joshua Ratner of Congregation Kol Ami in Cheshire

Rabbi David Kaiman of Congregation B’nai Israel in Gainesville
Rabbi Cheryl Weiner, Staff Chaplain for the Greater Miami Jewish Federation

Rabbi Erin Boxt of Temple Kol Emeth in Atlanta

Rabbi Taron Tachman of Beth Tikvah Congregation in Chicago
Rabbi Max Weiss of Oak Park Temple in Oak Park

Rabbi David Jaffe, Founder and Principal of the Kirva Institute in Sharon
Rabbi Elyse Wechterman of Congregation Agudas Achim in Attleboro

Rabbi Debra Hachen of Temple Beth-El in Jersey City
Rabbi Elinor Knepler at String of Pearls: Jewish Reconstructionist Synagogue of Princeton

Ilanit Goldberg, Graduate Student at Reconstructionist Rabbinical School
Kate Greenberg, Rabbinical Student at the Jewish Theological Seminary
Andrew Scheer, Rabbinical Student at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
Mia Simring, Rabbinical Student at the Jewish Theological Seminary
Jordan Soffer, Rabbinical Student at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
Rabbi Abby Sosland, Morah Ruchanit (spiritual adviser) of Solomon Schechter Westchester
Jimmy Taber, Director of New Generations – NY for the New Israel Fund
Rachel Zerin, Rabbinical Student at the Jewish Theological Seminary

Rabbi Dan Kaiman of Congregation B’nai Emunah in Tulsa

Karin Fleisch, Graduate of New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service
Rabbi Beth Kalisch of Beth David Reform Congregation in Gladwyne
Rabbi Diana Miller of Kehilat Hanahar in New Hope

Rabbi Matt Rosenberg, Executive Director of Texas A&M Hillel

Rabbi Hannah Goldstein of Temple Sinai
Rabbi Jessica Lott, Associate Director for Jewish Life and Learning at the University of Maryland’s Hillel

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