Yesterday began the three-week period leading up to Tisha B’Av (August 4-5 this year), the darkest, saddest day on the Jewish calendar. On Tisha B’Av, we fast and we mourn for the destruction of the ancient temples, as well as many other devastations throughout Jewish history.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is partnering with the faith community to promote Tips from Former Smokers. Tips is a national tobacco education campaign that encourages Americans to quit smoking, by “showing the toll that smoking-related illnesses take on smokers and their loved ones.” The Tips campaign goals include building public awareness of the health damage caused by smoking, encouraging smokers to quit, and encouraging smokers not to smoke around others, in order to avoid the effects of secondhand smoke. You have probably seem some of their memorable ads, which vividly depict some of the consequences of smoking. Take a look at the campaign’s website, which features powerful personal stories and important information about the consequences of tobacco use. Read more…
As a mother of two young girls, I most look forward to Sundays in the spring and summer time. Each week, I plan different activities – biking, swimming, hiking, and the like – and this past Sunday was no different. My husband and I took our daughters and a bunch of their friends boating. We stopped at the Baltimore Inner Harbor for a picnic lunch, after which the girls ran through the sprinkler/splash park area. While relaxing and soaking up the sun, I quickly eyed my email and saw a slew of reminders related to this week’s anniversary marking the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
This milestone anniversary is, of course, of note to so many Americans. In our home, the date carries a special resonance because we are a biracial family. Read more…
How much evil can we bear in one short week?
It is with a sad and heavy heart that I share with you that the body of a 15-year-old boy, Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir, was found early this morning in Jerusalem. There are signs of much violence on his body. Right now, riots are breaking out in his neighborhood Shuafat in East Jerusalem. Last night, the streets of Jerusalem were lined with hundreds of rioters shouting “death to Arabs” and “revenge.” Read more…
On Wednesday, July 2, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the landmark legislation that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The Reform Movement played an instrumental role in the civil rights movement including helping to draft (in the Religious Action Center’s very own Sillins Conference Room) both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which will also turn 50 next year. Read more…
This series of FAQs from the Union for Reform Judaism can serve as a guide for congregations and leadership to discuss the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s recent vote to divest from certain companies doing business in and with Israel.
What happened last week in Detroit?
The Presbyterian Church (USA) met last week in Detroit, MI, for its annual General Assembly (GA). Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, spoke there in opposition to a number of resolutions that supported divestment from companies doing business in and with Israel.
What did Rabbi Jacobs say to the GA?
In his remarks in Detroit, Rabbi Jacobs spoke of the important relationships between many Reform congregations and Presbyterian churches. He spoke of the need for continued and strengthened efforts together and said to the Assembly, “You can choose partnership and engagement or you can choose separation and divestment.”
Late last week, the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to divest from three companies doing business in Israel. Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism, had addressed the church’s general assembly earlier in the week, imploring Presbyterians to choose engagement with Jewish partners on Israel-Palestine peace issues.
Update: Listen to a conference call about the PC(USA) divestment vote
On Friday morning, the Religious Action Center had the privilege of hosting the 2014 Gabr Fellows. The 2014 fellows are part of East-West: The Art of Dialogue Initiative, initiative project of The Shafik Gabr Foundation. The fellows spent time travelling in Egypt together and are currently travelling in the United States. You can see their itinerary here.
The fellows visited the RAC and met with myself and Rachel Laser, Deputy Director of the Religious Action Center, to learn about interfaith activities in Washington, D.C., and to hear about the interfaith advocacy work that we do. We shared information on who we are, why we care about interfaith work, and what we do as an organization. Read more…