Tag Archives: Holidays

This Jewish-American Life: Notes on the Fourth of July

This past Shabbat, I was excited to attend services at my home congregation with our Machon Kaplan program participants. During the sermon remarks, Rabbi Danny Zemel (who I’m lucky to call my dad) reflected on a piece of Temple Micah’s mission statement as part of a discussion about events this past week in Charleston, SC and the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality: “[at Temple Micah] we attempt to answer the question of what it means to live a fully American and a fully Jewish life.” Growing up within a congregation and a home that strives to do this, is, in part, what led me to embrace my work at the RAC. Professionally, I can aspire to help create an American Judaism that is meaningful and relevant in the year 2015   Read more…

Counting Towards Economic Justice

Sincethe second day of Passover, Jews have been participating in the ritual of counting the Omer. As we count the Omer, we look forward to the celebration of receiving the Torah at Sinai and the joyous celebrations of harvest and springtime. .

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Children walking down street with their father wearing backpacks

The Sustenance of Education

As Memorial Day approaches, we are also coming closer to Shavuot, or the Festival of Weeks, when we celebrate the giving of the Torah at Sinai. On Shavuot, it is customary to have sweet dairy foods, like cheesecake and blintzes, in honor of the sweetness of milk and honey, akin to the sweetness of celebrating the knowledge of learning and the Torah.

Yet, there are many children across the country who cannot fully enjoy the sweetness of studying without going hungry.  Three out of four public school teachers say that students regularly come to school hungry. Though child nutrition programs like the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, already exist, these programs need to be strengthened. Breakfast is connected to benefits in the classroom: a majority of teachers see students paying better attention in class and having improved attendance. 48% of educators also note that their teens have fewer disciplinary problems when they eat breakfast.

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Equal Work Deserves Equal Pay

Not Just Celebrating, but Advocating for Mothers

On Sunday, we celebrated the mothers in our lives, thanking them for their love, support and hard work balancing childcare, family responsibilities and work—both paid and unpaid. Today more than ever, moms have entered the paid labor force to support themselves and their families. A record 40 percent of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family—nearly double the number from 40 years ago. Women comprise half of the entire paid labor force, and three-quarters of mothers work outside the home. Most families now need two breadwinners to make ends meet. Simply put, women and families rely on women’s earnings.

We know all too well that women on average earn just 78 cents for every dollar their male counterparts make. Did you also know that mothers are paid only 70 cents for every dollar that fathers make? That’s right—mothers who work full time, year round earn on average $40,000 compared to fathers’ $56,999. For comparison, women without children make 90 cents on the male dollar, and single moms make just 60 cents. Read more…

JWI Mother's Day Project

This Mother’s Day, Supporting Mothers in Shelters

This post originally appeared as a WRJ Weekly Digest.

This year, 45,000 women and children will spend Mother’s Day in shelters for survivors of domestic abuse. WRJ is proud to partner for the second year with Jewish Women International (JWI) to send bouquets of flowers and baskets of beauty products to 200 shelters across the U.S., offering hope and encouragement to moms and their children. For every $25 contribution you make, JWI will send a Mother’s Day card to any woman you choose, letting her know that she’s inspired a gift that’s helping women in need. Read more…

The Fifth Question

By Erin Glazer

As a mom, I spend a lot of time thinking about what my daughter eats. And if I stop thinking about it, even for just a minute, she reminds me! Our days are peppered with refrains of “I’m still hungry” or “I want a snack.” Like most parents, I do my best to make sure she has a balanced diet, with the occasional treat thrown in for good measure.

Even on her pickiest days, I know that my daughter is well fed. I can’t imagine opening the refrigerator only to find empty shelves, or worrying every morning about whether or not I have enough food to pack in her owl-shaped lunch box. And yet, for too many American families, this is the harsh reality of daily life. Read more…

Girls in 1909 protesting slavery in Yiddish and English

A Healthy Passover for All Workers

This week, we will celebrate the holiday of Passover, when we remember the process that led the Jewish people to become free in the land of Egypt. Part of this process will include discussing the Ten Plagues. At my family’s seder in Atlanta, we use goodie bags with various small toys that resemble each of the plagues. In these bags there will be three toys that resemble a lack of health: small plastic insects to represent lice, a small rubber cow to represent the cattle disease that killed many of Egypt’s domestic animals and bubble wrap to represent the boils that deformed the Egyptians. In Jewish tradition, lacking health and adequate health care is viewed as a plague, an issue so damaging that God viewed risking your health as a serious enough threat to cause Pharaoh to free the slaves. Read more…

Rosie the Riveter

Not Enough: The Ongoing Fight for Women’s Liberation

As a kid, “Dayenu” was perhaps my favorite Jewish holiday song. It’s catchy, it’s upbeat, and, if you sing the full 15 verses, it goes on forever. With “Dayenu,” we express our thanks for the myriad miracles that took place at the time of the Exodus. We sing that each was so powerful that one alone would have been enough. Read more…

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