Tag Archives: Race Relations

Microgrants Launched to Support Black-Jewish Relations


are pleased to announce the new Kovler Black-Jewish
Microgrant Program
to promote quality programming and activities that enhance
Black-Jewish relations! Rabbi Saperstein noted in our press release: “Honoring
the history of the Reform Jewish engagement in the great civil rights struggles
of the 20th century and the Center’s ongoing work to strengthen
Black-Jewish relations, we are very pleased to launch this program.”

Your community can apply now for funds aimed at
developing links and common ground between African Americans and Jews. We hope
successful proposals will involve activities that bring members of both
communities together.

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An Excuse for Bigotry

Our community learned a long time that Anti-Semitism can surface even where there are no Jews. In fact, the absence of a local Jewish community has often fueled such hatred, since those who might be inclined to such thinking do not have any personal experience with “real live Jews” to offset the popularly-received stereotypes.

So I guess it’s not a surprise than anti-Muslim animus is flourishing in the United States, especially, it seems, in places with almost no Muslims. As Roger Cohn reports from Perry, Oklahoma in this great New York Times op-ed, “You might not expect Shariah, a broad term encompassing Islamic religious precepts, to be a priority topic at the Kumback [diner] given that there’s not a Muslim in Perry and perhaps 30,000, or less than one percent of the population, in all Oklahoma. And you’d be wrong.”


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Tolerance, Pluralism for the New Year

Micaela Hellman-Tincher is a former Legislative Assistant for the RAC and is currently spending the year at Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village as an American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Jewish Service Corps member.

I’m pretty stressed about what’s happening with regards to religious tolerance in the U.S. these days.  While I’m not there to feel the tension, all the way over in Rwanda I read about the fury over the Islamic Center in NYC and the Qu’ran burning and I am embarrassed and angry.  How could a country founded on principles of liberty be so intolerant and oppressive?

I’m currently in Rwanda, a country that was not founded on the concept of liberty and a country where ethnic differences are supposed to be unspoken, lest they rival the unified country that is trying to be formed.

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Praying With Our Feet

Jonathan Prosnit is a 5th year Rabbinical Student at HUC-JIR in New York.  He is the student representative from HUC to the Commission on Social Action (CSA).

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Over 40 Hebrew Union College (HUC) students, faculty and administrators turned out in a rally to support Park 51 (aka-”The Ground Zero Mosque”) on Tuesday. Despite vicious New York City heat, the HUC representatives walked the 1.5 miles from Hebrew Union College to the future site of Park 51 in Lower Manhattan. As the closest seminary (of any religion) to Ground Zero and to Park 51, the HUC participants gathered in support of religious freedom, of interfaith dialogue and to welcome Park 51 into the unique religious landscape that is New York City.

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Securing the Right of Religious Freedom and Safety

DSC01536-310w.jpgThe recent wave of hate crimes against American Muslims and nationwide protests against the construction of mosques is alarming to say the least. From coast to coast, mosques are being vandalized, Muslims are being attacked, and families fear for their safety. The RAC and Reform Movement have come out in strong support of religious freedom and condemned this kind of bigotry.

In response to this recent influx of Islamophobia, Rabbi David Saperstein, accompanied by a coalition of faith groups and advocacy organizations, met with senior Obama Administration officials in the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to discuss what could be done to uphold religious freedom and protect millions of American Muslims.

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Mosque on Park Place: Round Up

mosque-protesters.jpgSurely, you’ve been unable to avoid all the frenzy surrounding the so-called “Ground Zero” Mosque to be built on Park Place in lower Manhattan. Politicians and pundits on all sides of the debate have weighed in, and in some instances, staked their political future on this position.

As President of the Union for Reform Judaism, Rabbi Eric Yoffie, and Director of the Religious Action Center, Rabbi David Saperstein, asserted, “The principle of religious freedom on which the United States was founded has demonstrated that our nation is strengthened by the faith of its citizens and the houses of worship in which they gather.” The full text of Rabbi Yoffie and Rabbi Saperstein’s statement is available.

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Free to Be You and Me

Aaron Pratt is a graduate of HUC’s School of Jewish Communal Service, Class of 2007.  

As a child I used to fall asleep to the music and lyrics of Marlo Thomas’ Free to Be You and Me, a ground breaking record project for children released in the late 70s.  I had completely forgotten about my nighttime ritual of loading the tape into my bedside radio until I recently saw a new Target commercial that uses the title song from this famous album.

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Show Us Your Faith

Eric Harris is the Press Secretary for the Religious Action Center. He is a graduate of UCLA and was formerly the Political Program Director for Earth Day Network’s Earth Day 2010 campaign. 

While scanning the web, I came across VIEWPOINTS: Alabama Politicians Should Act Like Jesus by Rabbi Jonathan Miller. Rabbi Miller had recently returned from a trip to Bangladesh with a group of prominent Christian clergy leaders from Alabama. While he was there, Rabbi Miller stayed with Joseph Nuncio, a native Alabamian and now an archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church who serves as the Papal Nuncio of the country. Rabbi Miller explained how amazed and delighted he was to meet all of the devoted Christians who dedicated their life to the service of God.

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