Join us Tuesday, March 24, 2015 from 6:30-8:30 pm at The Koubek Center at Miami Dade College for a panel discussion on immigration reform with Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez, Deputy-Managing Director of...
(PRWeb March 13, 2015)
Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/03/prweb12578376.htm
The Jewish Spiritual Leaders’ Institute (JSLI) Online Rabbinical School has matriculated its 10th class of rabbinical students. These students will receive their semicha, or certificate of ordination,...
(PRWeb March 11, 2015)
Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/03/prweb12564895.htm
By Shira and friend of the RAC, Ronit Zemel, incoming Assistant Director of Harlam Day Camp
In the front hallway of our home growing up was a picture of our great grandfather, Rabbi Solomon Goldman, standing next to Chaim Weizmann at one of the gatherings of the World Zionist Congress in the late 1930s. This picture is a hallmark of our upbringing as liberal Zionist Jews. We heard lore of our grandmother’s grade school education at the Riali school in Haifa. Our dad told us stories of his first time in Israel as a thirteen year old, peering out into the still forbidden Old City from a lookout tower in Jerusalem. Then we had the opportunity to see Israel for ourselves; to see the vibrant Jewish life in cafes and the shuk, on buses and in kibbutz fields. Israel is a part of the fabric of our family.
Our father tells stories about singing songs of the yeshuv in his Jewish day school when he was growing up. As children, each summer at Camp Harlam we would sing the same songs and look forward to befriending our Israeli counselors. Through family trips to Israel, NFTY EIE, a gap year for Ronit spent in Tel Aviv, and conversations around our family dinner table, we have learned to push, scrutinize and consider our complex relationship with Israel.
Is it enough to feel that Israel is a homeland, or must we actively support Israel as a modern Jewish State? And as Americans, where does our fundamental belief in democracy factor in to our attitudes? As Reform Zionists, we consider these questions and more, so that we can love Israel as sincerely as possible: when we were young we sang songs and ate chocolate and learned to love the land, and as we grew older we were taught to look honestly at the land we had grown to love.
During this WZO election season, we are reminded of Herzl’s famous words: Im Tirzu Ein Zo Aggadah– if you will it, it is no dream. It was the will of our founding Zionist forefathers to build a state of our own upon Jewish and democratic values. We have fallen in love with their dream– the modern, thriving Jewish state of Israel. But the dream is far from complete. We play a part as Israel’s story continues to unfold. This is why we are on the ARZA slate and encourage everyone to vote for ARZA in the World Zionist Congress elections: A vote for ARZA is a vote for our shared dream of a pluralistic, egalitarian and democratic Israel– it’s a vote for a progressive Zionism of which we can be proud.
Vote now! www.reformjews4israel.org/
Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein are the Jewish kings of the American musical. How could they have been so shockingly insensitive — even racist — in their epic ‘The King and I’?Click here for the rest of the article...
To save money, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York wants to close several dozen of its churches, including the Church of St. Elizabeth of Hungary in New York City known for its 35-year-old ministry to the deaf. But the deaf parishioners are determined to oppose the plan, even appealing to the Pope and arguing that no other church can provide for their needs like St. Elizabeth.
Rabbis from the Reform movement of Great Britain are launching an online matchmaking service with the intent of making it easier for gay and lesbian Jews to find Jewish partners.Click here for the rest of the article...
We mourn the tragic death of Walter Scott this past weekend in North Charleston, South Carolina and send our thoughts and prayers to his family and community. Over the past year, our nation’s consciousness has been raised as we have watched Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and so many more tragically and unnecessarily lose their lives. We hope that the charges brought against the police officer indicate the seriousness with which this situation will be handled.
We acknowledge and appreciate the challenging work of law enforcement officers who risk their lives each day to ensure public safety and are often posed with difficult decisions. Though videos do not always bring about the justice we hope to see, we will continue to advocate for the use of technology, such as body cameras, to be used by law enforcement to protect police officers as well as citizens and increase transparency and accountability. North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey told reporters on Wednesday that the city has ordered 150 body cameras, in addition to the 101 already ordered, “so every officer on the street” will have one.
While the announcement of more body cameras is encouraging, the shooting raises anew concerns about the structural inequality and racism that persists in our country. We must recommit ourselves to working to ensure that police units and command staffs, to the greatest extent possible, reflect the racial and ethnic make-up of the communities they serve.
While we work to bring about reform in our police departments, we also take this moment to reflect on the work that needs to be done in our criminal justice system. Today, more than 60% of the people in prison are racial and ethnic minorities. A 2010 report in Michigan showed that blacks were arrested for marijuana possession at 3.3 times the rate of whites, despite comparable rates of marijuana usage. Therefore, we must continue to advocate for an end to the use of racial profiling and work to mitigate these racial disparities that we see in traffic stops, arrests, prosecutions, sentencing, and use of the death penalty at federal, state and local levels.
As Reform Jews, we are guided by our texts that tell us, Tzedek, tzedek tirdof, “Justice, justice you shall pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20). We are taught that the word tzedek is not only repeated for emphasis, but also to tell us that we must be just in our pursuit of justice. In partnership with communities of color, we must continue to work for structural reforms and systemic changes that will save lives and protect all people. Please contact Legislative Assistant Claire Shimberg if you want to join our efforts to bring about this world of justice or to share the work you are doing in your own community.
When Rabbi Bruce Dollin first talked to the board at his Conservative synagogue about launching an alternative, singing-centered Shabbat morning service that would use musical instruments, he didn’t encounter much resistance.Click here for the rest of the article...