January Newsletter

Refugee Resettlement: In September, President Trump issued an Executive Order calling on states and municipalities to decide whether they will participate in refugee resettlement initiatives. Our Nashville Jewish Social Justice Roundtable Jewish community, along with many in the organized Jewish community, stood strong in calling on Gov. Lee to continue keeping Tennessee as one of those states that will continue to welcome and receive refugees. Thankfully, on Dec. 18, 2019 Gov. Lee announced that Tennessee would continue to receive refugees. While the number of refugees being allowed into the U.S. is at an all time low, we are grateful that Tennessee is one of those states which, as our Gov. stated, “will continue to be a beacon of freedom and opportunity for the persecuted and oppressed.” The Roundtable sent the Governor a note of appreciation on behalf of our membership. Thank you to those of you who responded to our call to action and raised your voice on this issue. Our work ahead will continue in support of HIAS and TIRRC to renew our nation’s commitment at welcoming the stranger.

The Affordable Care Act: An appeal from the Tennessee Justice Center: A federal appeals court recently struck down the Affordable Care Act (ACA) individual mandate, while the fate of the rest of the ACA hangs in the balance. This ruling brings us one step closer to people with pre-existing conditions losing their health coverage and weakening their families’ financial security. The lawsuit by Tennessee and other states to get rid of protections for people with pre-existing conditions threatens to create chaos and fear. 1 in 3 adult Tennesseans has a pre-existing condition. The results of this lawsuit, if our leaders had their way, would be catastrophic. Health care in America could be thrown into complete chaos. Millions would lose coverage (including children), protections for pre-existing conditions will be eliminated, premiums would increase, older adults and women could pay more, and fewer prescription drugs could be covered, among many other consequences.Please email our state leaders and tell them to pull out of this case, so that Tennessee families don’t have to worry if a loved one will lose coverage.

Medicaid Expansion: Our Roundtable has paid close attention to health care for low-income people. We have partnered with the Tennessee Justice Center and have lobbied and issued calls to action in support of Medicaid expansion in Tennessee, to no avail. We are very concerned about Tennessee’s efforts to adopt a block grant. We, among many others, are concerned about how doing so will reduce opportunity for access to health. We are concerned about Tennessee’s disturbing record to date managing block grants. Our position was further supported by the results of a new study just released by Vanderbilt and Harvard Universities that concludes that not enacting Medicaid expansion makes it more likely that low-income will suffer from “plummeting health that jeopardizes their lives.” The study will likely fuel the debate over Medicaid expansion. Our Roundtable Steering Committee will continue to call on our membership to support the adoption of Medicaid expansion.

Better Angels: The Nashville Better Angels Alliance is hosting a series of conversations aimed at ending the polarization of the political divide in this country by bringing people together in conversation who view issues through different lenses. The purpose of these conversations is to better understand each other and work toward reaching common ground. Join Nashville Public Library and Nashville Better Angels Alliance for a free viewing of the documentary Better Angels: Reuniting America, which demonstrates how successful discourse across the divide can be realized. Upcoming screenings and conversations are being held from 6:00 – 7:45 p.m. at these local library branches: Bellevue Branch Library (January 14); Southeast Branch Library (January 21); and Edmondson Pike Branch Library (January 21).

The CRC will be partnering with Better Angels to provide information and opportunities for involvement from the general Jewish community at a Better Angels workshop on Sunday, February 2, 2020 from 1:30 – 3:45 p.m. at Congregation Micah.

MLK Day: The Jewish Community will again participate in Nashville’s annual Martin Luther King Day March. The event is open to the entire community, especially families and children. Transportation will be provided leaving from the Gordon JCC (9:15AM) and Elmington Park (9:30AM). The March begins at 10:00AM from the Jefferson Street Baptist Church. Bus space is limited. RSVP to Deborah Oleshansky, Director of Community Relations, at Deborah@Jewishnashville.org or 615-354-1637.

Tree of Life Synagogue Rabbi to Speak: Rabbi Hazzan Jeffrey Myers of Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh will visit Nashville for a Feb. 10 “Stronger Than Hate” program, 7 p.m. at The Temple. The event is presented by the Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Nashville and Middle Tennessee and co-sponsored by all the local congregations and agencies — Beit Tefilah, Congregation Micah, Sherith Israel, The Temple and West End Synagogue — along with Akiva School, the Gordon Jewish Community Center, Jewish Family Service and Vanderbilt Hillel.

CRC/Social Justice Seder: Save the date: The annual Jewish Federation Community Relations/Social Justice Seder will be held on March 26 at 6:30. This year the CRC will be partnering with the Kurdish community. More information will be forthcoming.