Rabbi David Saperstein
Director and Counsel, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Designated in Newsweek’s 2009 list as the most influential rabbi in the country and described in a Washington Post profile as "the quintessential religious lobbyist on Capitol Hill," Rabbi David Saperstein represents the national Reform Jewish Movement to Congress and the Administration as the Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. The Center not only advocates on a broad range of social justice issues but provides extensive legislative and programmatic materials to synagogues nationwide, and coordinates social action education programs that train nearly 3,000 Jewish adults, youth, rabbinic and lay leaders each year.
During his more than three-decade tenure, Rabbi Saperstein has headed several national religious coalitions and serves on the boards of numerous national organizations, including the NAACP, People For the American Way, Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life and the World Bank’s World Faith Development Dialogue. 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, and in 2009 was appointed by President Obama as a member of the first White House Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Under Rabbi Saperstein, writes J.J. Goldberg in his book, Jewish Power, the Religious Action Center "has become one of the most powerful Jewish bodies in Washington." In 2004 and 2006, the Wall Street Journal and the Religion News Service, respectively, described him as among the country’s most influential shapers of religious issues in national elections.
Also an attorney, Rabbi Saperstein teaches seminars in both First Amendment Church-State Law and in Jewish Law at Georgetown University Law School.
A prolific writer and speaker, Rabbi Saperstein has appeared on a number of television news and talk shows including Crossfire, Hardball, Nightline, Oprah, Lehrer News Hour, ABC’s Sunday Morning, and The O’Reilly Factor. 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. More...