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rally in Raleigh

Sound the Shofar

 

By Rabbi Fred Guttman

Adapted from a speech given on September 3, 2015 at a rally for voting rights in Raleigh, NC.

At this time of the year, Jewish people throughout the world hear the sounds of the rams horn or what we call the shofar.   In ancient times, the shofar was used to announce the coming of the Sabbath and the beginning of a new lunar month.  It was also used by guards on city walls to announce that the city was under attack. Read more…

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Rabbi Paul Kipnes and Rachel with Torah, Arms around each other

The Call to Californians: Act to End Racial Injustice

By Rabbi Paul Kipnes

When the call came to drop everything and fly cross-country to highlight the racial injustice that still exists in America, nearly 200 Reform rabbis answered.  We put personal and work lives on hold to retrace the steps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from Selma to Montgomery and beyond. Read more…

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Recap: Catholic and Jewish Faith Traditions Call for Action on Climate

By Jennifer Queen

Listen to the full text of the July 15: Interfaith Update on Papal Encyclical webinar here.

Though Pope Francis may not know it, he and the ancient rabbis have a lot in common. As I participated in the Interfaith Update on the Papal Encyclical webinar yesterday, Rabbi Tarfon’s words, “it’s not your obligation to finish the work, but neither are you free to desist from it,” from Pirkei Avot (2:15-16), continually came to mind. The conversation between Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner and Rachel Laser from the Religious Action Center, founder of the Catholic Climate Covenant Dan Misleh, and Mark Rohlena from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, unfolded around Laudato Si: Sulla cura della casa commune (or Praised Be You: On the care of the common home), Pope Francis’ encyclical, released in June.

Read more…

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Rabbi Judy Schindler with Co-Pastor Rhonda Kinsey

A Greater Fire

By Rabbi Judy Schindler

Two weeks ago, Charlotte’s Briar Creek Road Baptist Church was a victim of arson. It is less than three and half miles from my home. Their children’s choir sang at our Beth El MLK service three years ago and my kids were close friends with the kids of their former minister, Dennis Hall. I was moved to worship with them the first Sunday after the fire.  Read more…

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Cross, Star of David, Islamic crescent

Reflecting on Interfaith Issues in Israel

By Joey Rosen

On the plane back from my Year-In-Israel as part of my first year of rabbinical school at HUC-JIR, I had the privilege of sitting next to a man who had participated in a Christian mission trip in Israel. It was a pleasure sharing with him my journey that led me to rabbinical school, a conversation he might have never had before. I also got to enjoy a different perspective on seeing Israel for the first time, as I had no previous knowledge of how a Christian mission trip to Israel works. But before he said ‘God Bless’ and dozed off for the nine hour flight, he made a comment to me about how the Christians of America were cheering for us in our war against the Muslims, who are polluting the land with violence and treachery. Read more…

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Our Shared, Sacred Earth: Reflecting on the Papal Encyclical

By Jenn Queen

Combating climate change is a moral imperative. Faith leaders have been calling for better policies and encouraging better personal practices to turn the tide of climate change for years. This week, the Vatican released Pope Francis’ latest encyclical (a papal letter sent to all bishops of the Roman Catholic Church stating the Vatican’s position on a particular issue), which details a strong connection between faith and environmental stewardship.

Read more…

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prayer vigil at Morris Brown AME

Searching for Words After the Unspeakable

By Micah Feinstein

Charleston, South Carolina is a quaint coastal city where many families, like mine, head for a reinvigorating weekend escape. Similarly, a house of worship is where one goes to find solace in times of need. On Wednesday night, June 17, 2015, a single gunman shot through this idyllic safe haven, opening fire on congregants attending a prayer meeting at one of the oldest black churches in the nation, Emanuel AME in Charleston, leaving nine dead and millions more with questions. Read more…

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Stop Gun Violence

Building Laws That Prevent Gun Violence  

By Jenn Queen

In gematria, Jewish numerology, the number 40 is incredibly significant. It is the number of days of the flood in Genesis, the years the Israelites wandered in the desert and the days and nights spent waiting for Moses to descend Mt. Sinai with the Torah. It is also an important figure of a new study published yesterday in the American Journal of Public Health: the percentage by which gun deaths have decreased in Connecticut since the implementation of handgun purchaser licensing legislation. Read more…

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