New Raise Up Legislative Action on Fight for $15


Jewish Meet-Up at Fight for $15 Rally. Great JALSA presence at rally and announcement of new legislative efforts.

Be sure to be on our mailing lists for future Days of Action to help everyone secure a living wage.

Bannon Views Not Welcome in White House

For those who hoped that the hate-mongering of the presidential campaign might end with Election Day, the appointment of Steven Bannon as the President-elect’s chief strategist suggests such hopes are in vain. JALSA is outraged with this appointment. Bannon has facilitated white supremacist writings and he has been accused of anti-Semitic statements. This is not simply a controversial appointment; this normalizes speech and action which is not acceptable.     See JALSA statement:

Concerned about the direction of this country?

We encourage you to take action by joining JALSA’s work! Help us stay vigilant and increase our ability to monitor actions at the local and federal levels where actions can make a difference.

Volunteer to help plan actions around federal court appointments. (Thank you to the 30 people who responded to our request to call the Governor’s Council about a Massachusetts judicial appointment.)

Participate in our Task Force on Economic Inequality where we work to raise the minimum wage, encourage Paid Family and Medical Leave, and passage of a Fair Tax Amendment.

Sign Up to work with our Environmental Justice Committee. We will not sit idly and ignore Climate Change at our peril

Help us decide how we can best help criminal justice reform and move toward more racial equity in our community.

Make a gift or join with monthly contributions to enable our continued work.

Community Preservation Act Endorsed by Interfaith Clergy

Responding to a letter initiated by JALSA, over two dozen Boston interfaith clergy have publicly endorsed the Community Preservation Act.

We – as leaders in our faith’s Boston community – indicate our support of Boston’s participation in the Community Preservation Act – a state program that would allow Boston to raise money for affordable housing, parks, and historic preservation through a small property tax surcharge that would be matched by additional funding from the Commonwealth.

The CPA was passed by the Massachusetts legislature in 2000 in an effort to preserve the communities of Massachusetts’s towns and cities. By creating affordable housing that allows a community’s next generation to stay close to home, caring for parks and public spaces, and preserving historic sites, the CPA helps keep Massachusetts’s communities together.

See full letter and supporters

Newton School Committee Votes to Oppose Question #2

Following two contentious meetings, the Newton School Committee voted to oppose Question #2 on the statewide ballot.  JALSA members were significantly represented in the debate on the controversial ballot issue which would allow up to twelve new charter schools each year.  School Committee members Margie Ross Decter and Diana Gomberg led the effort  for a Newton School Committee vote against the proposal.  A number of Boston school parents came to the meeting to urge the committee to take a position on the ballot issue and to vote against lifting the cap on charter schools.  See Letter from Boston School parents.

See Letter from Sheila Decter to Newton Minyan

Immediate Action Needed on Family & Medical Leave

It is very baffling that anyone would oppose paid family and medical leave! Everyone has a family member who gets sick at some time.

Senator Tarr decided to use a parliamentary procedure to block a vote in the Massachusetts Senate this past Saturday, on a bill that allows workers to recover from a serious illness or injury, to care for a seriously ill or injured family member, or to take care for a new child.

Please take a moment to reach out to your Senator and ask them to stand up against this delay, and pass Paid Family and Medical Leave now, without any delaying amendments. Assume that all senators need a reminder. Please reach out to your Senator so we can get the bill passed in the Senate this coming Saturday, when the session resumes after the Democratic convention.

ACTION Needed on Gun Violence

The U.S. Senate will vote on Monday on several proposals dealing with background checks and persons under investigation for possible links to terrorism.
Our Massachusetts senators have been outstanding on this issue. Feel free to call and thank them.
However, the most useful thing you can do today and tomorrow is to call your friends and relatives in other states and urge them to call their legislators demanding action.

Here are the names of the states where one or more senators voted against background checks at the most recent vote.
New Hampshire
North Carolina
North Dakota
South Carolina

Here is a list of the Senators who voted against background checks at that last vote.
1 Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
2. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
3. Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)
4. Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)
5. Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK)
6. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO)
7. Sen. John Boozman (R-AR)
8. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)
9. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
10. Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN)
11. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)
12. Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)
13. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN)
14. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
15. Sen. Michael Crapo (R-ID)
16. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)
17. Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY)
18. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE)
19. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
20. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
21. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA)
22. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
23. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
24. Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV)
25. Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND)
26. Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)
27. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA)
28. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-NE)
29. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)
30. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT)
31. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
32. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS)
33. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
34. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)
35. Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)
36. Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR)
37. Sen. James Risch (R-ID)
38. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS)
39. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)
40. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC)
41. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
42. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)
43. Sen. John Thune (R-SD)
44. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)
45. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)

We are all Members of the LGBTQ Community

Vigil for Orlando Victims
Thursday, June 16, 2016
Steps of Newton City Hall, 7:45 p.m.

Sadly, within hours of enjoying the PRIDE festival in Boston, JALSA learned of the tragedy in Orlando.

The LGBTQ community members and friends were celebrating the accomplishments in Massachusetts that allow people full dignity and equality, including protection of civil rights, equal marriage, and – in the weeks ahead – full access to public accommodations.  JALSA members have worked to earn all these public policies so that all members of our community can live with full rights and protections from discrimination.

The happiness expressed at the PRIDE parade and the celebrations were choked by the act of terror at an LGBTQ nightclub.  JALSA joins the members of the LGBTQ community in outrage at this carnage.  Today is the Jewish holiday of Shavuot where we read of the welcoming of Ruth – a non-Jew – to the community of Jews.  We – straight and LGBTQ members of JALSA – are today all members of the LGBTQ community as we stand with you to mourn the victims and the impact of this event on all our lives.

We will learn in the days ahead of the motivation of the shooter.  But, whatever his motivation, we cannot have a society where people use not only words, but an assault rifle, to make a political point.  Once again, we see carnage as a result of the use of military style assault weapons with high capacity ammunition magazines.


When will this country recognize the need for background checks and waiting periods for all gun sales?   How many deaths will we endure before civilians are prohibited from buying automatic weapons or devices to convert weapons to assault weapon capacity?   It is time for each of us to write and call our local, state, and federal authorities and demand action.  It is common sense to prohibit the purchase of automatic and semi-automatic weapons by civilians.  There is no acceptable reason to allow the purchase of high-capacity magazines.



House Passes Public AccommodationTransgender Legislation

Carly Burton Visit to JALSA to Speak on Transgender Anti-Discrimination Bill Temporarily Postponed Due to State House Action

Massachusetts law protects transgender people in the areas of employment and education, but not in public accommodations. The Senate had voted 33-4 to pass a public accommodations bill, but the House vote had not been held and JALSA had scheduled a meeting for increased action.    The issue which had held up passage is that of public bathrooms and locker rooms, with opponents unable to move pass that issue to the larger one of full non-discrimination protection for transgender people in Massachusetts.  The House has now voted and leadership in the House and Senate are now working to deal with differences in the two versions.  Agreement is anticipated quickly.


Ayanna Pressley at Brothers Restaurant on March 2

Ayanna Pressley, Boston City Councilor at Large, Speaking on Issues of Racial Injustice & Inequality,  .

20160302_194002Councilor Pressley is an impressive political and community figure.     Ayanna Pressley’s career has been marked by history-making campaigns and a relentless determination to advance a policy agenda focused on girls and women, breaking cycles of poverty and all forms of violence, and reducing trauma in our communities. Pressley was first elected to the Boston City Council on November 3, 2009, becoming the first woman of color ever to do so. In 2011, she became the first woman in 30 years and the first person of color ever to top the ticket. On the trail and in office, Pressley doesn’t shy away from sharing her story as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and sexual assault as a college student. Pressley founded and Chairs the City Council’s Committee on Healthy, Women, Families, and Communities and has built broad and diverse coalitions to advance lasting, meaningful reforms to complex social issues like teen pregnancy and trauma. Pressley is an Aspen-Rodel Fellow in Public Leadership (2012) and a Truman National Security Project Partner (2012).

 This event is part of our Salon in the Suburbs series to bring together Jews and social activists of all ages with important policy makers, attorneys, and academics for casual conversations to explore the cutting edge issues facing our society and state today.



JALSA Successfully Reaches and Passes Goal for 4500 signatures

CJP Open House Party cropped

As we reach the end of the signature campaign on the Fair Tax amendment, JALSA signature gatherers surpass our announced goal of 4000 signatures.  Over 155,000 total signatures will be on their way this week to local election clerks for verification of signatures on the proposed constitutional amendment to add a 4% tax to those earning more than $1 million annual income on the amount over $1,000,000.00.

Save the Date for our 14th Annual Meeting – January 24, 2016


 Successful Hearings at the State House on Family and Medical Leave


JALSA Coordinator for Family and Medical Leave, Barbara Gutman, and Stephanie Shapiro Berkson, a witness at the great hearing this week for S2008 and H1718 – An Act establishing a family and medical leave and temporary disability leave insurance program.
Serious personal or family medical emergencies arise for all of us at some point.  Individuals receive an unexpected diagnosis. An elderly parent’s health rapidly declines. And parents need time off to nurture and bond with their newborn or newly adopted children. But despite the universality of these circumstances, most MA families face losing their jobs to care for themselves, their families or children during these times.
Nearly 40% of Massachusetts workers have to choose between caring for a family member during a medical emergency or losing a job. That is 1.2 million workers who cannot take time off to stay home with a new child. Paid family and medical leave would allow these workers to take the time off they deserve to care for themselves and their loved ones without risking job loss or financial ruin. ​ Call our office and let us know if you have a story you might want to share.

Test of Shopping Cart


Advocate – $2,500 (includes 5 tickets)

Supporter – $1,000 (includes 5 tickets)

Ally – $500 (includes 2 tickets)

Friend – $250 (includes 2 tickets)

Individual Ticket – $60

Individual Ticket for Tzedek Salon Attendees or Persons Under 30

Thanks for participating in
the Fight for $15.

IMG_3334 - one column widthIt was wonderful to see so many JALSA members at the rally for $15 an hour.  We saw people from JALSA, Jewish Labor Committee, JOIN for Justice, Moshe Kavod, MCAN, Temple Beth Elohim, Temple Beth Zion, Temple Hillel B’nai Torah, Temple Shir Tikvah, and Cong. Dorshei Tzedek at our end of the field.  Let us know who we’ve missed here.  It was wonderful to join with our friends and colleagues in the worker justice movement.

See more photos:


SJC Upholds Police Discretion on License to Carry

Important SJC decision March 9th upholding the discretion of police in determining who should be allowed to have a license to carry.  JALSA participated in a brief supporting this important provision of both the old law and our most recently enacted law supporting police discretion.  The new law, in which JALSA played a significant role in encouraging passage, provides police discretion for both the license to carry and the FID card which is needed to buy any arms, although there are different conditions for each.

Earned Sick Time – Congratulations
to JALSA and all MA Workers

Take a well-deserved round of applause JALSA

Congrats on passing Earned Sick time!!
We did it!..YES – 1,252,197 (59%); …………………….NO – 856,280 (41%)

8 years of perseverance and hard work has provided a million workers in Massachusetts the right to earned sick time!!  We made a difference for hundreds of thousands of low and middle income workers and their families!   We’ve hung in there through thick and thin. Hearings, Forums, Phonebanking, Lobbying, Signature Gathering, Canvassing. What haven’t we done to get this passed.

Read More…