Looking back, I probably shouldn’t have been surprised that I was the oldest audience member in the Broadway theater last weekend, except for parents with their pre-teens. “Newsies” is, after all, a Disney musical. In our standing room only “seats,” my friend and I were able to dance along to all of the songs we had known by heart since seventh grade. As we sang along—sometimes a little too loudly — I realized a lot of the meaning of the lyrics I had missed years ago.
The Community First Choice option expands access to home- and community-based care in your state, leading to better health outcomes for older adults and individuals with disabilities. We are taught in Pirkei Avot to not separate ourselves from our community, but too often people with disabilities are forced to do just that. Urge your governor and state legislators to implement this option, allowing increased matching funds for more services to more people.
If there’s one new sleight-of-hand term we’ve learned in the past few months, it’s “flexibility.” Last week, flexibility gained a new meaning, as the House of Representatives passed the so-called Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013. Flexibility in this bill, though, actually means less flexibility, less choice, less time and less money for working families.
This bill proposes to grant workers more flexibility by allowing them to convert overtime hours into future vacation time, instead of earning extra pay. Speaker John Boehner says that this would grant working parents the flexibility to choose more time off when they need it: “This week, we’ll pass [Representative] Martha Roby’s bill to help working moms and dads better balance their lives between work and their responsibilities as parents.” In reality, though, this bill is nothing but bad news for parents.
While sanctuaries are filled with the white robes of Confirmation and the chanting of the story of Ruth, we sometimes forget that Shavuot is also a harvest festival and that Ruth’s story is not just one of choosing Judaism, but one deeply steeped in farming, gleaning and reaping. What better time of year, then, for the Senate and House to mark up the Farm Bill?
The Farm Bill governs America’s food policy for the next five years—from farm subsidies to crop insurance to international food aid to domestic anti-hunger programs. Wait, anti-hunger programs? Why are those included in the Farm Bill? Why is an anti-poverty program included in a huge bill all about farming? If we look at Jewish tradition, however, it makes total sense.
While the new Senate comprehensive immigration reform bill takes many strides toward improving our immigration system, it also includes some significant steps backward. Our Jewish tradition not only teaches us, but commands us to treat the foreigner living in our country with the same laws as our own.
One day, as a few people were walking by the riverside, they saw babies floating down the river. Several people jumped into the river and started pulling the babies out to try to save them, but more and more babies kept coming faster and faster. One of the men jumped out of the river and someone screamed to him, “Where are you going?” He said, “I am going to see who is putting the babies in the river and try to stop them.” (Version from Congregation Beth Israel)
This week the RAC hosted Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, Chief Imam of the All India Imam Organization. The All India Imam Organization is the largest imam organization in the world, representing half a million religious leaders and over two hundred million Muslims living in India. Imam Ilyasi has distinguished himself as a leader who powerfully addresses issues of religious extremism and global terrorism and frequently reaches out across religious lines. In particular, he has done considerable work bringing together Muslim and Jewish leaders in the Middle East and around the world and has been recognized internationally for his achievements in peace building and interreligious affairs.
With last week’s speedy fix of the air traffic controllers’ sequester cuts, it’s a wonder people complain about gridlock in Washington! The bill, which allows the Department of Transportation to move money around the department to offset furloughs, passed by a landslide in the House, unanimously in the Senate and is expected to seamlessly work its way through the White House. While the fast passage of a needed alternative to at least a portion of sequestration is welcome, this bill sets a dangerous—and infeasible—precedent for future budget discussions.