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Knitted rainbow kippah resting on a rainbow flag

I am queer.

I’ve known this in my bones for as far back as I can remember, but I never knew whether I should ignore it, hide it, or try to pray it out – because in the Catholic community in which I grew up, openly queer people were seen as “looking for attention” or “causing trouble.”

For a long time, I didn’t know why I was so uncomfortable in the boys’ bathroom or why I felt so fake when I was asked to play with the “other boys.” As a child, I didn’t have the vocabulary to understand this, and there wasn’t much insight on gender expansiveness from my religious community...

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Racially segregated water fountains in the south

I was 23 in the summer of 1961 and President Kennedy had been in office six months, when I asked my rabbi, Albert Lewis, z”l, of Temple Isaiah in Los Angeles, CA, if he thought I should join the Freedom Riders, the civil rights activists who rode interstate buses in mixed racial groups to challenge the unlawful practice of segregated seating in Southern states.

Rabbi Lewis, whom I admired for his belief that God, justice, and right behavior are inseparable, replied, “Phil, if I were in your...

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voting in israel

Want to help Progressive Judaism increase its political clout in Israel? You can do so by participating in the 2020 World Zionist Congress (WZC) election, which run from January 21 to March 11, 2020 (MLK Day to Purim). These elections are held only every five years, and your vote for the ARZA slate will give the liberal Jewish community in Israel the opportunity to receive significant funds for Reform institutions and programs. You can also help mobilize others in your...

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Hand holding an iPhone with the RogueShul Twitter account pulled up

If you work in the Jewish community and spend time online, it’s likely that you’ve already heard of @RogueShul, the Twitter account taking Jewish communal professional world by storm. With its quirky, hilarious, and utterly relatable insights into the behind-the-scenes realities of synagogue life, RogueShul has gone “Jewish viral."

Who’s behind RogueShul? We don’t have a clue, as its creators have remained impressively unnamed – but they were more than happy to chat with us (anonymously by email, of course!) about the project, the...

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Young man sitting on a retaining wall looking at the water

Feeling the presence of God, in my experience, is a hit or miss deal. In working with people – often in pastoral care, spiritual direction, or the conversion process – I often joke that if I show up every Shabbat to light candles, and God shows up five times a year, we will meet. But if I appear only five times a year, as does God, the odds of the two of us being there at the same time drops precipitously! 

Experiencing God takes work and discipline, but who wants to hear that? 

I don’t necessarily feel close...

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