Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Rabbi David Saperstein is the Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. Described in a The Washington Post profile as the “quintessential religious lobbyist on Capitol Hill,” he represents the national Reform Jewish Movement to Congress and the administration. He currently co-chairs the Coalition to Preserve Religious Liberty, which comprises more than 50 national religious denominations and educational organizations, and serves on the boards of numerous national organizations including the NAACP and People For the American Way. President Barack Obama recently named Rabbi Saperstein to the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, a volunteer advisory council composed of 25 religious and secular leaders and scholars.
Under Rabbi Saperstein’s tutelage, writes J.J. Goldberg in his book, Jewish Power, the Religious Action Center “has become one of the most powerful Jewish bodies in Washington, second only to AIPAC.” The Center not only advocates on a broad range of social justice issues but provides extensive legislative and programmatic materials used by synagogues, federations and Jewish community relations councils nationwide, and coordinates social action education programs that train nearly 3,000 Jewish adults, youth, rabbinic and lay leaders each year.
Also an attorney, Rabbi Saperstein teaches seminars in both First Amendment Church-State Law and in Jewish Law at Georgetown University Law School. In 1999, he was elected as the first Chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom created by a unanimous vote of Congress.
A prolific writer and speaker, Rabbi Saperstein has appeared on a number of television news and talk shows including Nightline, Oprah, Lehrer News Hour and ABC’s Sunday Morning. His articles have appeared in The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Harvard Law Review. His latest book is Jewish Dimensions of Social Justice: Tough Moral Choices of Our Time.