Tomorrow we will make history when Reform Jews from almost every state in our nation will gather to do what we do best – bring our traditions to life by praying with our feet. Although this sixth sense of justice is nothing new to our movement, the circumstances with which we gather are. A bit over a month ago, the tragic mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School claimed the lives of 17 innocent souls, one of whom was Alyssa Alhadeff, a camper at URJ Camp Coleman.
Losing Alyssa—a soccer player, URJ camper, and devoted friend and...Read More
Editor's Note: On Wednesday, March 14, one month after the mass shooting that killed 17 students and community members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Matthew Youkilis, along with other Reform Jewish students and their classmates organized nearly 250 students to lobby at the Columbus Statehouse for commonsense gun violence prevention policies. This post is adapted from Matthew's speech during a press conference at the Statehouse. Their organization, Lobbying for a Safer Tomorrow (LAST), is a student-run, grassroots...Read More
When the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting happened in Florida, we were once again dismayed at the ongoing specter of gun violence that plagues our country. And once again we wondered what we could do as individuals and as a synagogue to move beyond thoughts and prayers to concrete actions.
We have preached around the subject before and held discussions within our synagogue community. There is frustration at the inertia on the federal level, with a sense that given the gridlock in Washington, nothing will be accomplished there. And living in Massachusetts we are lucky to be in...Read More
The people were oppressed, taxed beyond their limits. Their ruler was considered cruel and harsh – a tyrant. The people experienced an insufferable bondage. Liberation was required for a new and just society to be born. The overthrow of Pharaoh and the Israelite redemption from Egyptian slavery would prove to be the model and inspiration for the American rebellion against England and the founding of the United States of America.
I love sharing with adults and children alike just how important the greatest Jewish story ever told – the Exodus, the centerpiece of Passover this month...Read More
As Jews, we are often reminded that the mandate to “welcome the stranger” is the most oft-cited commandment in the Torah. In the Reform community, these words are a call to conscience – we are called to act in solidary with DREAMers fighting to stay in the country they consider home; we are called to advocate for an Israel that treats refugees with respect and care. We are called to make our homes, our congregations, and our countries places of refuge and sanctuary to those of different experience, circumstance, or background.
But what about our hearts?
It occurred to me...Read More