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Reform Focuses On ‘New Vulnerability’ Under Trump

WASHINGTON (JTA) — A Reform movement leader described a “new sense of vulnerability” in the United States at the movement’s biennial Consultation on Conscience.

“We share a new sense of vulnerability,” Rabbi Jonah Pesner, the director of Reform’s Religious Action Center, said Sunday in opening remarks.

“We see refugees turned away at our borders, we witness our fellow citizens unjustly denied the right to vote, we are pained by transgendered individuals who are unable to live with authenticity, we fear the rise in anti-Semitism and Islamophobia,” he said.

Pesner did not name President Donald Trump, but Trump’s election in November has galvanized liberal Jewish activism, particularly as it relates to his crackdown on illegal immigration, his rollback of transgender protections and of criminal justice reforms and the rise of bigotry after a bitter and divisive campaign.

Trump’s election was never far from the surface. Rabbi Larry Bach of Judea Reform Congregation in Durham, North Carolina, described the new sense of risk his family felt for his transgender son in the wake of the election.

“My son no longer has a champion in the White House,” he said at the conference on Sunday.

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