Rabbi David Saperstein Becomes First Jewish Ambassador For Religious Freedom


The U.S. Senate has approved Rabbi David Saperstein as Ambassador for Religious Freedom in an attempt to strengthen religious freedom throughout the world. He is the first non-Christian in this position.

Religious cooperation is a topic that is being viewed as essential in a time when there are unifying characters such as Pope Francis as well as massacres perpetrated by ISIS. With increasing concerns about the religious freedoms around the world, the United States is taking a more definitive stance on the subject. They have placed David Saperstein, a rabbi, in the office of Ambassador for Religious Freedom. Their goal is to use this new appointment to help keep religious freedom open to as many people as possible around the world.

Saperstein Approved By Senate

Saperstein was approved by a vote of 62 to 35, opposed almost entirely by members of the Republican Party. His proponents argued that his 40 years of service to advancing the welfare and cooperation of religious freedoms around the world could benefit the United States as well as other areas he could visit as an ambassador. Saperstein was nominated Most Influential Rabbi in America by Newsweek in 2009. Their confidence in his abilities and his experience has given many people high hopes for his coming term in office.

Who is David Saperstein?

While he is best known as a rabbi, Saperstein has spent a tremendous amount of time and effort contributing to fights against religious discrimination and violence in countries around the world. During his most recent confirmation hearing in September, he gave an impassioned speech that shows just how necessary the role of ambassador is. He said, “Religious freedom faces daunting and alarming challenges worldwide,” and noted challenges that need to be faced both at home and abroad. The most serious challenges that are facing David Saperstein in his ambassador position are the severe religious freedoms that are being restricted and denied in countries such as China and Iraq.

What Will He Be Able To Do?

While Saperstein’s job may appear ceremonial at first, he has many responsibilities and the chance to report his findings to members of the government that can provide help in serious situations. Among the duties of an Ambassador for Religious Freedom is determining where there are violations of religious rights occurring throughout the world. As a leader of the Reform Jewish Movement for the last forty years, he has seen many types of religious harm be perpetrated around the world, and is not afraid of boldly confronting facts and realities. However, the personal trait that has made him most desirable for the current administration is that he has led many different task forces that have been made up of multiple religions. David Saperstein’s ability to look past personal religious differences for the greater good has prepared him for his ambassador appointment, a task that he is looking forward to undertaking.


Follow the Conversation on Twitter

Leave a comment