The application for the 2023-2024 Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Program has closed. The application for the 2024-2025 Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Program will open in late November/early December 2023. We can notify you when the 2024-2025 application opens. For more information, contact Assistant Legislative Director Jacob Greenblatt.
About the Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Fellowship
The Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Program is a year-long fellowship for recent college graduates or individuals with equivalent academic and professional experience who are interested in Judaism, social justice, and public policy. Being an Eisendrath Legislative Assistant (LA) at the Religious Action Center (RAC) of Reform Judaism means getting involved and playing a pivotal role in our work: legislative advocacy, leadership development programs, communications, organizing, and supporting the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism (CSA).
The salary for the 2023-2024 class is $42,000, and the program will run from August 22, 2023 to August 9, 2024.
We are particularly interested in investing in and engaging with applicants who come from underrepresented and marginalized backgrounds. This includes People of Color, people with disabilities, people coming from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and other marginalized identities. LAs are at the heart of every aspect of the Reform Movement's social justice work, and we are committed to making the Eisendrath Legislative Assistant Fellowship and RAC reflective of the diverse Movement we represent. Learn more about the fellowship's focus on racial equity, diversity, and inclusion.
LAs' work includes:
- Legislative Advocacy: The LAs have primary responsibility for monitoring legislation; representing the Reform Jewish Movement institutions to Capitol Hill, the White House, and coalitions; and ensuring that the voice of the Reform Jewish Movement's nearly 850 congregations, 2,000 rabbis, and 1.8 million Reform Jews are heard. Each LA takes on a different policy portfolio (based in resolutions adopted by the Commission on Social Action, the Union for Reform Judaism, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis), bringing a Reform Jewish perspective to the crucial social justice issues of the day. The LAs are the lead staff member on their policy issues, playing a key role developing strategy, drafting materials, and driving our work forward. One LA, The Linda Sher Legislative Assistant, will work on abortion, reproductive rights, and women’s rights.
- Leadership Development and Programs: Some 2,000 people participate in RAC-led conferences each year, which the LAs help plan, program and coordinate. Many LAs have found their opportunity to serve as the faculty for the L'Taken Teen Social Justice Seminars - the five weekend-long social justice seminars for high school students that we run each year - to be a highlight of their time at the RAC.
- Communications: LAs help guide our website, action alerts, blog posts, social media, press releases, and other communications to decision makers and the media, as well as our congregational leaders and Reform Jews who engage in advocacy.
- Organizing: LAs have an opportunity to work with our nine state-based affiliates to enhance our legislative advocacy at the state and local level and support congregations to bring social justice closer to the center of their work. Building transformative relationships across lines of race, class and faith are core not only to policy achievements, but also to bringing about a world where all people experience wholeness, justice, compassion, joy, and equity.
- The Commission on Social Action (CSA): The LAs prepare materials for the CSA's meetings, work with its members and task forces to shape resolutions on evolving policy priorities and to bring them to the boards of the URJ and CCAR. Interactions with CSA members are another highlight of the experience for many LAs.
WHAT ARE CURRENT AND FORMER LEGISLATIVE ASSISTANTS SAYING ABOUT THE PROGRAM?
Following the fellowship year, many Eisendrath Legislative Assistants attend graduate school or pursue careers in advocacy, Jewish life, academia, law, public policy, and more. Hear directly from current and former LAs about how the program has impacted their lives and careers. Stay tuned for additional testimonials coming soon.
"Working as an LA at the RAC was exactly the first job I needed. The work helped me learn the ropes of DC advocacy and public policy, as well as develop the skill set to be successful working on Capitol Hill and beyond. I learned from wonderful mentors at the RAC and its partner organizations. Above all, the opportunity to advocate on behalf of the Jewish community in pursuit of repairing the world was an extraordinary opportunity early in my career, and I would do it again in a heartbeat." - Charlie Arnowitz, Policy Advisor to Governor Jared Polis (CO), 2013-2014 Eisendrath Legislative Assistant
"I was fortunate to be at the RAC during the summer of 1983 when we were part of a grand coalition planning the 20th Anniversary March on Washington, paralleling the famous 1963 March. It was incredible to be 'in the room' where a major civil rights effort was underway, working shoulder to shoulder with national leaders across lines of faith and race to reinforce the coalitions of the past and build new bridges for the future. I felt immense pride when I attended the march that summer, surrounded by hundreds of thousands of activists, knowing that I had been a part of something truly historic!" - Rabbi Marla J. Feldman (she/her), Executive Director, Women of Reform Judaism
"The LA position at the RAC has provided me with opportunities to meet with several House and Senate offices, represent the Reform Movement at meaningful events, and take lead on actions which engage the Jewish community in support of just federal legislation. I am energized to bring a new perspective to the table as a Hispanic, Latino Jew of Color, and am grateful to gain professional experience in working for policy reform that reflects not only my personal values, but provides greater education, opportunity, and possibilities for others." - Israel Harris (he/him), 2021-2023 Eisendrath Legislative Assistant
"This fellowship has given me the unique opportunity to explore the many areas of policy advocacy, learn from experts in our coalitions, and represent the Reform Movement and my closely held values. Through rallying on the steps of the Supreme Court, joining our partners in urging Congress on important legislation, empowering Jewish teens, and more, I have learned lessons that will prepare me for career in advocating for justice and opportunity for all." - Lillie Heyman (she/her), 2021-2023 Eisendrath Legislative Assistant
The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) maintains a strong policy of equal opportunity in employment. It is our objective to recruit, hire, and retain the most qualified individuals including those of any race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation or identity, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, or any other characteristic or status protected by applicable federal, state, or local law.
Our equal employment philosophy applies to all aspects of employment, including recruitment, compensation, benefits, training, promotions, transfers, job benefits, and terminations. The URJ encourages applications from women, people of color, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ individuals.