Last weekend marked one year since Michael Brown was shot and killed in the street by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, MO. As we take this moment to reflect on the past year, I am reminded of the Jewish tradition’s unique way of coping with death, to help mourners gradually reenter into normal life after the death of a loved one.
In the first week after a loved one passes, mourners are obligated to sit shiva, Hebrew for "seven. During these seven days, the mourners’ immediate community cares for them, visits them in their home and brings them food, so the bereaved family and...Read More
Nine people were killed last night at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., when a 21-year-old man opened fire. The tragedy has shaken the country and reminded us that violence and hatred know no boundaries, and can reach us even within the walls of a house of worship. Rachel Laser, deputy director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, shared the following statement:
We are heartbroken by last night’s attack at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families...Read More
According to The Guardian’s investigation, the deaths of Isiah Hampton, 19, in New York City, and Quandavier Hicks, 22, in Cincinnati on Wednesday, brought the number of people killed by police in the United States in 2015 to 500. The total number includes both unarmed victims and encounters when responding violent altercations. Through a project called The Counted, The Guardian is using reports and crowd-sourcing to keep track of American deaths at the hands of law enforcement. The Counted keeps track of data such as the names, races, ages and other information about those who have died...Read More
My colleagues and friends and I boarded a train to Baltimore on Friday, May 1, on our way to a march and rally organized by Jews United for Justice. We were once again disappointed and outraged by the death of an unarmed black man at the hands of the police. Though we were standing up for justice for Freddie Gray, we knew that we were also asking for justice in our broader criminal justice system.
In our backpacks, we each had snacks, water, and a scarf or bandana to cover our faces with in case we got tear gassed – a hopefully unlikely but certainly possible situation. When one...Read More
On Friday morning, President Obama spoke at the 63rd annual National Prayer Breakfast. The breakfast was attended by legislators, officials and clergy, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama and our new Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. Rabbi David Saperstein. The president spoke of the power of faith as an inspiration and unifying force, as well as the way faith can be used as a wedge or a weapon to divide us.
In his remarks, the President reminded us of the wisdom of the American Founders in protecting the freedom of religion and ensuring the separation of...Read More
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