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Rabbi Joseph B. Meszler

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Group of rabbis standing in front of the Massachusetts statehouse

My first personal exposure to gun violence was as a teenager. I had a weeklong internship at a courthouse, and coincidentally a murderer from my hometown was being sentenced that week. A young man had shot his grandmother with the family hunting rifle.

My next experience was going to the shiva for a friend’s father who was shot outside his store.

After that, I had the experience of consoling a congregational family whose toddler was killed by another child who was playing with a gun that was left out in the house.

Gun violence is always personal, horrifying, and...

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Statue of Justice -- blindfolded with a sword in one hand and a scale in the other

This past year, I had a wonderful experience as a participant in the Rabbi Balfour Brickner Rabbinic Seminar and Fellowship through the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC). Open to clergy of all Jewish denominations, the Brickner Seminar and Fellowship brings together rabbis and cantors who want to learn about how they can make social justice an integral part of their work.

Social justice is different from social action. Social action meets the world where it is, and includes such things as making sandwiches for the homeless and participating in clothing drives for...

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