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The author wears a prayer shawl and sings as he walks with other Women of the Wall members toward the Kotel while Haredi look on from atop a tall wall

My strong beliefs in gender equality, religious freedom, and social justice motivated me and a group of friends to go to the Western Wall last Friday morning for Rosh Chodesh. We were there to support Women of the Wall, an organization fighting for women's right to pray aloud at the Kotel.

While there, we experienced harassment by Haredim (Ultra-Orthodox Jews), who shouted curses at us and disturbed our prayers with their yelling, whistles and pushing. Haredi boys...

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A mans hand clutching at a barbed wire fence against a blue sky

As I watch human tragedies unfold on the U.S.-Mexican border and elsewhere, nothing is helping me more right now than a conversation I had on my radio show On Being with literary historian and author Lyndsey Stonebridge, who channels the thinking of the 20th-century Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt.

Lyndsey is a professor of modern literature and history at the University of East Anglia in Norfolk, England. She’s the author of ...

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Woman (from the neck down) holding small notepad that says: "We Are Equal!"

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg visited Israel recently to receive the Genesis Lifetime Achievement Award. During her visit, she spoke out against gender segregation and discrimination in Israel at a meeting with women's groups. She likened the gender segregation in Israel to the segregation of African Americans in the U.S., referring to the doctrine of "separate but equal," which was overturned in 1954 by the U.S. Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education. It was clear to the Supreme Court in 1954, and is clear to Justice Ginsburg today, that separate but equal never...

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Photo of the author who is a young blonde man with his long hair pulled back

“We know how to manage this conflict.”

Those are the words of the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Nethanyou. I want to talk, for a moment, about my connection to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The first time I met with this conflict was the day of my bar mitzvah. I had the opportunity to celebrate my bar mitzvah in the capital of Israel – Jerusalem. More than that, it was held at the Western Wall. By the way, that was the last time I felt the stones of the Western Wall, and I will not feel them until there is a...

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Pride flag

In the late 1980s, when same-sex marriage was just a dream, and no one asked for or volunteered their pronouns, friends and acquaintances who were Jewish lesbians told stories of family members sitting shiva when they came out.

On my East Coast university’s campus, there was both a Hillel and a Lesbian and Gay Student Alliance, but not one organization spoke to the intersection of both Jewish and LGBTQ realities. Into this world of ours, someone brought the news that somewhere out west, there was a gay synagogue.

The news was repeated in cadences of awe and hope. As both...

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