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Jewish students sitting on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC by candlelight

“A good week, a week of peace. May gladness reign and joy increase…”

These are the words Reform Jews sing during Havdalah, the ceremony observed Saturday evening at sundown to mark the end of Shabbat. We gather together to sing and to pray, passing around a snifter of fragrant spices to soothe the soul as we say goodbye to Shabbat, the day of rest, and welcome a new week.

Joining in Havdalah services at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C...

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Paper stick figures holding hands around a lit candle

At Congregation Beth Israel in Charlottesville, VA, we are deeply grateful for the support and prayers of the broader Reform Jewish community. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Heather Heyer and the two Virginia State Police officers, H. Jay Cullen and Berke Bates, who lost their lives on Saturday, and with the many people injured in the attack who are still recovering.

The loss of life far outweighs any fear or concern felt by me or the Jewish community during the past several weeks as we braced for this Nazi rally – but the...

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The backs of two teen boys facing away from the camera with their arms around one another as in friendship

Summers at URJ Olin-Sang Ruby Union Institute, a Reform Jewish summer camp in Oconomowoc, WI, bring experiences that last a lifetime. Among the most unique opportunities is the program called חלוצים, Halutzim.

Halutzim means “pioneers” and is different than any other session in camp: It is a completely immersive Hebrew environment. From sunup to sundown, חלוצים campers speak Hebrew with the staff and with each other.

If this sounds impressive, that’s because it is!

Before breakfast, an animated staff member – frequently the...

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large white candle glowing in the dark

Today, I am neither Democrat nor Republican, Neither left nor right nor center. I am an American, Born to a legacy of truth and justice, Born to a legacy of freedom and equality.

Today, I am a patriot Who will not yield this nation to hate. Not to neo-Nazis. Not to thugs self-styled as militia. Not to slogans or chants. Not to gestures or flags. Not to threats and not to violence.

Hate is hate, Ugly and brutal, And we will not yield.

Today, I am Christian, Muslim and Jew, Catholic, Buddist, Hindu and Sikh, Atheist and agnostic. I am Asian, Latino, Hispanic, African...

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Protesters hold shields and Confederate flags at an alt right rally in Charlottesville Virginia

During Shabbat, our day of rest, terrible events took place in Charlottesville, VA. A "Unite the Right" protest organized by the alt-right turned bloody, violent, and ultimately deadly as tensions escalated, fights broke out, and one attendee drove his car through a sea of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring dozens more. Headlines and videos out of the event are shocking and painful: Protesters donned Nazi imagery, heiled Hitler, and...

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