Internet Round-Up: The Best Jewish Stories on the Web
Here are just a few of the recent stories from across the webosphere that speak directly to (and about) Reform Jews. What Jewish stories have you been reading recently? Leave a comment and let us know!
- “Man Whose Late Son Was Victim of Bullying Urges Campers to Change Culture,” The Berkshire Eagle
Campers at URJ Camp Eisner and URJ Crane Lake Camp recently saw a presentation from David Long, the father of Tyler Lee Long of Georgia, who took his own life in October 2009 after severe bullying at school. Long told campers “that they have a true value in life, and should treat each other with respect and empathy.” The overall goal of the presentation was to empower students to realize the grave results bullying can have.
- “Tishah B’Av: An Unloved Jewish Holiday Gets a Makeover,” Religion News Service
Tishah B’Av can be a challenging holiday for American Jews. The holiday, which includes a ritual fast to mourn the destruction of the second temple, takes place during the summer, a time when Americans want to relax and forget their troubles. American rabbis are doing their best to restore interest in the holiday, “with new rituals that emphasize introspection and reflection, ideas to which modern, nontraditional Jews can better relate.”
- “Pallone Hits Removal of Food Stamps,” My Central Jersey
Congressman Frank J. Pallone, Jr. of New Jersey spoke at Elijah’s Promise Soup Kitchen in New Brunswick, N.J., where members of the URJ’s Urban Mitzvah Corps program regularly volunteer, to voice his concern the elimination of the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP which, among other things, provides food stamps for families below the poverty line. Pallone said that although the soup kitchen extremely beneficial to the local community, it was never intended to make up for the SNAP bill.
- “Let’s Not Lose Diaspora Jewry,” YNet
Attorney Rabbi Gilad Kariv, executive director of the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism, writes of the importance of a sense of team work and dependence between the Diaspora and Israeli Jewry which, which he says “can provide a firm basis for discourse to shape the character of Judaism in the 21st century and to ensure Jewish survival.”
- “Demand Legal Protection: It’s Okay to be Gay at Work,” Washington Post
In 29 states, works can be fired for their sexual orientation; in 33 states, they can be fired for their gender identity. Rachel Laser, deputy director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, writes that the Senate “took a momentous step towards rectifying this situation, sending the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) out of committee to the Senate floor – with a strong bipartisan vote of 15-7.” Dozens of religious organizations, including the URJ, are in favor of the bill.
- “Rabbis Meet Jonathan Pollard in Person,” Jewish Daily Forward
Rabbi Rick Jacobs and other American Jewish leaders recently visited Jonathan Pollard in federal prison. Pollard, 58, pleaded guilty in 1986 of stealing classified information and passing it to Israel while he was working as a civilian intelligence analyst for the U.S. military. The goal of the visit was to emphasize that the rabbis wanted to reemphasize their demand that Pollard be freed 28 years into his life sentence. The rabbis believe that his sentence “grossly disproportionate to any other American convicted of similar crimes involving an allied nation.”