Related Blog Posts on Current Events, Racial Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion, Jewish Values, Jews of Color, and Social Justice

Taking a Breath for Life: URJ’s Actions to Build Resilience

Ruben Arquilevich
January 19, 2022
On Tu Bishvat we celebrated trees and a season of new growth. I've been doing lots of thinking about trees, as I frequently do, and the role they play in providing oxygen for the planet. At the Union of Reform Judaism, we provide oxygen to our communities by creating compassionate spaces for our participants to grow and thrive. We can respond to current and future challenges by fostering resilience that reflect our Jewish values.

For Colleyville, Texas

Alden Solovy
January 18, 2022
This is a prayer of healing for the hostages freed from Congregation Beth Israel, Colleyville, Texas, as well as the congregation and the community.

A Jewish Take on New Year’s Resolutions

Dasee Berkowitz
December 27, 2021
New Year's Day and the traditional resolutions that accompany it invite us to take stock of our lives. Are we living our lives to the fullest? Can we imagine a future in which the commitments we make for ourselves (e.g., healthier habits around eating and exercise) actually come true? What will it take this year to really change?

"Unite the Right" Organizers Lose Big in Court

Aron Hirt-Manheimer
December 13, 2021
Amy Spitalnick is the executive director of Integrity First for America (IFA), the civil rights nonprofit behind Sines v. Kessler - the successful federal lawsuit against the neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and hate groups responsible for the violent "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017. I sat down with Amy, the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, to get her views on the significance of this lawsuit.

Choosing Hope in Times of Trial

David Arnow
December 6, 2021
From Covid and climate change to the erosion of democratic norms and the decline of a shared sense of truth (and the list could go on), two things are clear. First, are we living in an age that tests our ability to sustain hope. Second, if despair dominates hope, we will be unable to meet the challenges that beset us.

Reimagining Hanukkah Gift-Giving

Dasee Berkowitz
November 18, 2021
There are a lot of creative ways to make Hanukkah meaningful when we pause to ask ourselves a few good questions before automatically going into shopping mode.

Reflecting on Transgender Awareness Week in 2021

Hannah Bender
Eliana Rubin
Kelly Whitehead
Rachel Klein
November 16, 2021
Transgender Awareness Week is a chance to educate the public. It is important for people who are not part of the trans community to understand the oppression transgender and gender-expansive people face every day. While it is always important to affirm trans identities, Transgender Awareness Week provides an opportunity to center the voices of trans and gender-expansive people.

A Jewish Approach to Transgender Awareness Week

Ariel Tovlev
November 9, 2021
After services one Friday night, I was approached by a woman and child I had not seen before. The woman knew I was a rabbinical student, and said she had an important question to ask me. Then, slowly, trying to find the right words, she said, “Let’s say there was someone who was born female but realized they were male—a female to male transgender person. Would that person be able to have a bar mitzvah? Is that something Judaism would allow?”

Remembering Kristallnacht After Pittsburgh

Aron Hirt-Manheimer
November 3, 2021
On November 9, we will mark the anniversary of Kristallnacht (Night of the Broken Glass), the Third Reich's first large-scale attack on the Jews of Germany and Austria in 1938.