For Immediate Release
Jewish Community Organizations Gather to Sign the UNITY Pledge in Support of a Fully Inclusive Arizona
(PHOENIX --Feb. 21, 2023 ) – Jewish community organizations gathered today at the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus to lend their signatures to the UNITY Pledge, a concerted effort by businesses, organizations and individuals who support equal treatment and inclusive non-discrimination policies in employment, housing, and public accommodations for LGBTQ+ individuals and their allies.
According to Rich Kasper, Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Jewish Philanthropy of Greater Phoenix (CJP), Judaism and social justice are inseparable.
“The Torah literally tells us ‘justice, justice, you shall pursue’ (Deut. 16:20). A well-known concept in the American Jewish community is ‘Tikkun Olam, to repair of the world,” says Kasper. “This is the idea that Jews are called upon to make the world more just, peaceful, tolerant, and equal, through acts of charity, kindness, and political action. Signing this UNITY Pledge is one such action.”
Currently, Arizona does not have a fully inclusive non-discrimination law, leaving LGBTQ+ individuals and their families vulnerable to discrimination throughout much of the state. In total, only 11 Arizona municipalities have LGBTQ+ inclusive non-discrimination laws, creating a patchwork environment of laws that is not only bad for individuals and their families, but for business as well.
Representatives from organizations located on the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus, including the CJP, were joined by board members and staff from B’nai Brith Youth Organization, Bureau of Jewish Education, Jewish Community Relations Council, Minkoff Center for Jewish Genetics, Jewish Tuition Organization, Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center, Anti-Defamation League, Jewish Free Loan and Gesher Disability Resources.
“Each day, the Jewish community strives to create communities where all people can experience Jewish life and Jewish community, to be embraced, supported and celebrated,” says Rachel Hoffer, Board Chair of the CJP. “I am proud to join with colleagues and board members from these Jewish organizations as we collectively sign the UNITY Pledge, that publicly declares that all are welcome.”
“Today’s gathering is the first step in bringing together the greater Phoenix Jewish community. We look forward to other Jewish organizations located throughout the Valley lending their support of this important and worthwhile effort,” says Kasper.
“Our ‘Open for Worship’ coalition has continued to grow, and we are so honored to be with these Jewish leaders today to celebrate equality and continue the conversation of how we advance culture and policies to ensure we celebrate, respect and protect all who live and work in our great state,” added Angela Hughey, president of ONE Community.
To date, more than 3,500 businesses, 500 faith leaders and 20,000 Arizonans have taken the UNITY Pledge in support of equality and non-discrimination, which is now the largest equality pledge in the nation.
For more information:
Sophie O’Keefe-Zelman for ONE Community
Abbie S. Fink for the Center for Jewish Philanthropy
About ONE Community
Since our inception in 2008, ONE Community has evolved into a member-based coalition of socially responsible businesses, organizations and individuals who support diversity, inclusion and equality for all Arizonans. We are committed to reshaping Arizona’s image through educating, empowering and connecting our diverse LGBTQ and allied communities on the benefits of inclusion and its direct impact on attracting and retaining top talent and businesses—and thereby, ensuring our state’s economic sustainability.
About The Center for Jewish Philanthropy of Greater Phoenix (CJP)
The Center for Jewish Philanthropy of Greater Phoenix (CJP) represents the integration of the Jewish Community Foundation of Greater Phoenix and the Jewish Federation of Greater Phoenix. With a combined 130 years of support to the community, the CJP will connect and serve the Greater Phoenix community by inspiring philanthropy that supports and enlivens Jewish life locally, in Israel, and around the world. For more information, visit www.phoenixcjp.org or call (480) 699-1717.