Double Booked: The Sacrifices are Worth It



By Natalie Bullock Brown

It was a sinking feeling I had experienced before – that moment when you realize that something you were so ready to see happen, just can’t take place.  This occurred recently when I had to turn down a job at a coveted university in the area where I live.  I had been offered the job, negotiated a reasonable salary, and was even allowed the chance to figure out a telecommuting schedule.  But logistically, I couldn’t make it work, not when I have two elementary aged kids who require, and deserve, so much of my attention and time.  The new job was not going to work, and I knew it.

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Why Talk about Disability Rights on Passover?



Moses is never mentioned in the Passover Haggadah.  At first glance, it’s a little strange that Moses’s name or involvement in the Exodus is never discussed in the Passover Haggadah.  I was taught that there is no mention of Moses for two reasons: (1) Because at our Seder, we want to remember the miracles performed by God and that God was ultimately responsible for our redemption and; (2) Because we are supposed to imagine ourselves as having gone out of Egypt and using Moses’ name places the Exodus at a certain point in history.  Whatever the reason, it’s an interesting omission to think about as we prepare for Passover.  Read more…

Drifting from Israel, per Rabbi Eric Yoffie



Rabbi Eric Yoffie’s most recent piece in Ha’aretz, the Israeli daily, makes the case that young U.S. Jews are not all that enamored with the Jewish state, and goes on to explain why. Read more…

Talking to Teens about Israel



Yesterday evening, I was invited by Temple Sinai of Washington, D.C. to speak to their seventh grade students about my connection and relationship to Israel as a part of their culminating class on their Israel unit.  One of my favorite parts of my job is working with young people, so I was especially excited for my “official” workday to end and to get to speak with the seventh graders of Temple Sinai.  The coordinator of the program emailed me and the other speakers ahead of time with the worksheet that each student would fill out after hearing each speaker.  It included four questions (appropriate as we head in to Passover, I think, but unrelated to our upcoming seders!): Read more…

Miriam, women, dancing

Don’t Pass Over Us: Women’s Equality at the Seder



Moses. Aaron. Pharaoh. Our ancestors. Elijah. Family. Friends. These are the people we are most likely to think about as we sit down to our Passover Seder in the coming days. Passover lends itself so well to many of the critical social justice issues of today, from religious freedom, to  immigration and to human trafficking, to the environment and civil rights. But what about equality for half of the world’s population? Are we also thinking of Miriam – and women’s equality – as well?

Miriam, Moses and Aaron’s sister, plays a key role in the Passover story. Miriam watches over baby Moses as he floats down the Nile to Pharaoh’s daughter in the basket, leads the Jewish people in song after crossing the Red Sea, and provides for the Jewish people in their wandering with her well.

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Aunties With Children



By Acacia Bamberg Salatti

I am married with no children. I feel like I should make that full disclosure first when writing this post. However, I am the beloved Auntie of nearly 20 children. They range in all ages and colors; live in various places around the country; and are connected to me through biology, marriage, and long lasting friendships.

For me, the role of the Auntie is to provide a counterweight to the parents. I add the missing ingredients of raising children in this modern world. For nieces and nephews who have tightly scheduled agendas, sleepovers with Auntie Acacia means watching cartoons in their PJs and being given homemade pancakes. For nieces and nephews whose parents are more lenient, it means teaching them how to wash dishes and reminding them to say “please,” “thank you,” “sir,” and “ma’am”.

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Today is Equal Pay Day



This post originally appeared at WRJblog.

Who would believe that in 2014 we’d still be discussing gender-based pay discrimination? Certainly when Congress passed the Equal Pay Act in 1963, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, our lawmakers and the nation believed that we had taken major strides towards closing the wage gap. Did you know that the wage gap hasn’t budged in 10 years? Women who work full-time year-round make 77 cents for every dollar their male counterpart makes. And it’s even worse for women of color — African American women make 64 cents for every dollar their white male counterpart makes, and for Latina women, it’s 54 cents. This appalling, persistent discrimination needs action.

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At Passover, Reflecting on the Relationship Between Blacks and Jews



As two communities that have historically struggled for freedom side by side and share a common history of slavery and oppression, it is appropriate that we reflect upon the relationship between American Jews and African Americans during this Passover season.

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