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Star of David necklace lying on an open Torah and yarmulke

This June marks 60 years since my rabbinical ordination from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. However, those six decades have not diminished my appreciation of the rabbinic mentors who symbolically escorted me to rabbinical school and upon whose shoulders I stand to this day.

My journey began when I was a 6-year-old student at Temple Rodef Sholom in Pittsburgh during Sukkot 1940. While standing on the building’s front steps, Rabbi Solomon B. Freehof, the congregation’s senior rabbi, handed me a bright red apple to commemorate the...

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Rainbow coming out of a fluffy white cloud amid a blue sky

This week, I tell a friend I’d love to chat but actually I have to run Yom Kippur services are starting soon and I’ve got to repent for my sins before the gates are closed. She laughs. “Well, you’re gay, so you’ve definitely got a lot of repenting to do.” It’s a joke, I know, but I still tell her don’t worry. My God is compatible with my queerness. I tell her my love is not my sin, but my tongue stumbles on the words because they ooze out from the pit of my rotten belly. Lies.

You see, the only girl I’ve ever loved boiled my God into mud and told me it was medicine, made mockery of...

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Rev William J Barber II speaks to Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner and Rabbi Rick Jacobs in front of a Union for Reform Judaism banner

Reverend William J. Barber II is an American Protestant minister and political activist. He is a member of the national board of the NAACP and co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

For the past decade, Rev. Barber has been a partner with the Reform Jewish Community in the work of civic engagement, election turnout, advocacy for the poor, and combating voter suppression. At the Union for Reform Judaism’s 2017 Biennial convention, he spoke about...

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Israeli flag against a white background

This moment requires a strong moral voice.

The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) and Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) have undergone a process with our respective leadership, listened to experts, worked closely with our beloved Israeli Movement, our partners at the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism and the Israel Religious Action Center,...

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Each Father's Day, I reflect on my father, now deceased, and my relationship with him, and his relationship with me. I also reflect on the men who have become father figures to me, not so much in place of my father, but as wonderful supplements who continue to provide the love, support, guidance, and wisdom I need and yearn for in a father or father figure, even as a middle-aged man.

My father was an imperfect man. But so what, and who isn't. My father was, however, perfect in at least one area, and that was in providing me with unconditional love, a love I still feel and relish...

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