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Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner

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VOTE HERE sign on voting day

Register for our virtual town hall launch of Every Voice, Every Vote: The Reform Movement’s 2020 Civic Engagement Campaign on May 19 at 8 p.m. ET.

The COVID-19 disease has taken so much from humanity over the last few months. First and foremost, the virus has taken thousands of lives in North America and across the world. As we undertake prudent social distancing measures, it has also taken our ability to conspire for a more just and compassionate world.

The word “conspire” has taken on a negative connotation, but it originally comes from the Latin roots spirare, meaning “...

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Sign that says "Vote Here"

Register for our virtual town hall launch of Every Voice, Every Vote: The Reform Movement’s 2020 Civic Engagement Campaign on May 19 at 8 p.m. ET.

The COVID-19 disease has taken so much from humanity over the last few months. First and foremost, the virus has taken thousands of lives in North America and across the world. As we undertake prudent social distancing measures, it has also taken our ability to conspire for a more just and compassionate world. The word “conspire” has taken on a negative connotation, but it originally comes from the Latin roots spirare, meaning “breathe...

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sunrise

As the COVID-19 pandemic escalates, many of us are grappling with a newfound vulnerability. It is natural to worry about our families and communities as we confront a major crisis and the question of how a community ought to respond to serious danger comes up throughout our sacred texts.

Last week, we celebrated Purim, the quintessential tale of Jewish defense. Our people have often been a fragile minority and it would be tempting for the Purim narrative to reign supreme: “They tried to kill us, we won, let’s celebrate.”

But our tradition’s true master story will in fact be...

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Hands holding a glowing globe

Editor's note: The text that follows was presented before a live audience at the 2019 Union for Reform Judaism Biennial.

Only a few short years after the founding of the United States of America, George Washington expressed in an exchange of letters with the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, R.I., the oldest synagogue in the United States, the following historic sentiment:

“For happily the Government of the United States gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good...

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Rabbi Jonah Pesner standing at a podium addressing the URJ Biennial with two other speakers on each side of him

Editor's note: The text that follows was presented before a live audience at the 2019 URJ Biennial.

Only a few short years after the founding of the United States of America, George Washington expressed in an exchange of letters with the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, R.I., the oldest synagogue in the U. S., the following historic sentiment:

“For happily the Government of the United States gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all...

Read More

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