September 28, 2017
After leading the U.S. State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom from 2015 to 2017, David Saperstein will serve as a senior research fellow with the center's Religious Freedom Research Project.
This individual is not a direct affiliate of the Berkley Center. S/he previously worked with one or more of our core projects or programs. Please contact the individual at her/his home institution.
David Saperstein was the U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom from January 2015 to January 2017. He is currently is an adjunct professor with the Walsh School of Foreign Service’s Center for Jewish Civilization and previously was a senior research fellow of the Religious Freedom Research Project at the Berkley Center. An ordained rabbi, he served for several decades as the director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism representing the public policy positions of the Reform Jewish Movement, the largest segment of American Jewry, to the government and leading the movement’s efforts to strengthen social justice programming in synagogues across North America. Over the years, he headed several national religious coalitions, including co-chairing the Coalition to Preserve Religious Liberty, and served on various national boards, among them the NAACP, People for the American Way, and the World Faiths Development Dialogue. In 1999 and 2000, Saperstein served as the first chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. He was a crucial part of the faith-based movement that supported passage of the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act. A frequent media commentator on religion and public life, Saperstein is also an attorney and taught, for over 30 years, seminars on First Amendment law and Jewish law at Georgetown University Law Center.