Next Tuesday, April 28, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on four combined cases relating to marriage equality. The joint suit is known by one of the cases, Obergefell v. Hodges, and could establish the freedom to marry in all fifty states. As oral arguments approach, the RAC has joined other faith organizations in co-sponsoring a National Weekend of Prayer for marriage equality on April 24-26, 2015.
On April 26-28, hundreds of Reform Jews will gather in Washington, D.C. for the RAC’s Consultation on Conscience, the Reform Movement’s flagship social justice event. On Monday, April 27 at 2:00 PM, Evan Wolfson, Founder and President of Freedom to Marry, will join Rabbi Denise Eger, President of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, Jen Kaufman, Chair of the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism, and Rabbi Judith Schindler, Senior Rabbi at Temple Beth El, for a discussion on LGBT equality. A live stream will be available on the RAC homepage if you are unable to join us in person at the Consultation. In the meantime, you can brush up on some of the latest developments in the fight for LGBT equality!
At the end of last year, Leelah Alcorn, a trans teen from Ohio, committed suicide. In her suicide note, she cited her parents’ rejection of her gender identity, their refusal to let her transition and her feelings that things will not get better as some of the reasons for her decision. The final words in Leelah’s goodbye post were “Fix society. Please.” and people listened. A petition on We The People asking the administration to “enact Leelah’s Law to ban all LGBTQ+ conversion therapy” gained over 120,000 signatures and the administration and President Obama responded last Wednesday in opposition to conversion therapy.
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was signed into law 22 years ago to allow workers to take a maximum 12 weeks unpaid time off of work to care for a new child (including adopted and foster children); care for a sick child; act as a caregiver for a parent; address personal serious health concerns; and care for wounded service members. After the decision in United States v. Windsor, in which the part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defining marriage as between a man and a woman for federal purposes was struck down, the Department of Labor announced that FMLA would apply to eligible employees in same-sex marriages if the employee resided in a state that recognized their marriage. Rachel Laser, Deputy Director of the Religious Action Center, submitted comments last August to the Department of Labor in support of this change when it was proposed.
The big news of the week has been the aftermath surrounding the passage of state Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRAs), with new developments on how which governor felt about which law or possible amendment changing every few hours. Read more…
When I left for college my freshman year, I was nervous about exploring a new Jewish community. However, I immediately felt at home as I walked into my university’s Hillel’s Conservative Friday night services and saw the Siddur Sim Shalom, the prayer book that I had grown up with. The siddur offered me a sense of comfort and familiarity in an otherwise completely new setting.
Over the past couple of years, the number of states that have marriage equality have more than doubled, thanks largely in part to court cases. On April 28, the Supreme Court hear oral arguments on four combined cases relating to marriage equality and could potentially establish marriage equality as the law of the land in all 50 states. The joint suit is known by one of the cases, Obergefell v. Hodges.
Whether you observe Passover according to the strict rules of Jewish law, or you attend one family Seder, or whether your Passover observance is watching The Prince of Egypt, or whatever traditions, practices or customs you find meaningful, the weeks leading up to Passover (April 3-11, 2015) feel like a Jewish March Madness. Between planning Seders, cleaning your house of chametz or mentally preparing yourself for a week of matzah, there’s a lot to get done and it always feels like not enough time. Read more…