WRJ Voices: Nitzavim

One of the first times I ever chanted Torah for our congregation, it was from this week’s portion, Nitzavim: “You stand this day, all of you, before the Eternal your God – you tribal heads, you elders, and you officials, all the men of Israel, you children, you women, even the stranger within your camp, from wood chopper to water drawer – to enter into the covenant of the Eternal your God, which the Eternal your God is concluding with you this day . . . not with you alone, but both with those who are standing here with us this day before our God and with those who are not with us here this day” (Deuteronomy 29:9-14). Read more…

Advocating for Access Granted: Reproductive Health Services and the EACH Woman Act

by Maya Weinstein

The Hyde Amendment is about to turn 40, but this is not a happy birthday. Passed in 1976 as a budget rider and renewed each year since, the Hyde Amendment excludes abortion services from comprehensive federally-administered health care plans. There are currently narrow and rare exceptions that allow for abortion coverage if the pregnancy is the result of rape, incest, or when the woman’s life is gravely endangered. Thus, the Hyde Amendment disproportionately impacts low-income women and women of color who depend on federal health insurance plans such as Medicaid, Indian Health Services, and TRICARE – nationally, one in ten women rely on Medicaid.Restrictions on access to funding cause women to turn to riskier, later-term abortions, paid for using money that was intended to cover necessities such as housing costs and food.  Read more…

WRJ Voices: Ki Tavo

by Sharon Benoff

Change. Transition. This is the season that is upon us. This is the season that we welcome both as individuals and as an organization. This past year, we moved into a new era at Women of Reform Judaism, one that welcomes both women’s groups and individuals in the Reform Jewish community, a new era of change and inclusivity. Read more…

Global Leaders Gathered to Combat Antisemitism at UN Forum

by Leslie Brier

On September 7, Janet Stovin and I attended the High Level Forum on Global Antisemitism hosted by the Missions of Canada, Israel, the United States and the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations. Four separate interactive panels considered different factors related to Antisemitism around the world including Government Responses to Global Antisemitism, Antisemitism and Hate Speech on the Internet and in Social Media, a keynote address by Professor Deborah Lipstadt, the renowned Holocaust historian, professor, author and the person whom the film Denial is based upon. There were also panels on Civil Society Coalitions and Youth and Education.

Read more…

Discussion of A Sacred Calling: A Call to Action for All

by Micaela Russell
WRJ Program and Communications Associate

When I saw an announcement for a panel discussion hosted by Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR) following the launch of Central Conference of American Rabbi’s (CCAR) A Sacred Calling: Four Decades of Women in the Rabbinate, I knew I needed to be there—both in my new role as a professional in the Reform Movement and as an active Jewish feminist. I had read Rabbi Toba Schaller’s blog about her experience as approximately the 760th woman to be ordained by HUC-JIR and what we can learn from the past 40 years. Read more…

WRJ Voices: Ki Teitzei

by Marina Polinovsky

This weekly Torah portion is bursting at the seams with commandments. Many of those commandments shed light on gender relations and the place of women in society, in ancient Israel and in the modern world. In this commentary I would like to delve into an in-depth discussion of one of those commandments: Deuteronomy 24:8-9. Read more…

Inclusive Voices

by Rabbi Rabbi Loren Filson Lapidus

On Tuesday, July 26th, as Hillary Clinton officially became the first woman to be nominated for president by a major U.S. political party, I tried to explain to my five year-old daughter the import of the moment. This was not the first time I have shared with her the legacy and history she carries as a girl, and one day a woman, in this world. “Women couldn’t always wear pants,” “Women couldn’t always vote,” and “Women couldn’t always be rabbis”—just a few of the things my daughter, and I, have the opportunity to do through the pioneering of the women who came before.

When I was younger, I did not fully appreciate this legacy. After all, I took for granted that as a woman I would have opportunities equal to any man. I was then exposed to the realization, little by little, that I have a woman’s voice in a world that is not always ready to listen. As a woman, a daughter, a sister, a wife and now a mother, my worldview is shaped by these roles and my identity as a female. It is only in recent years that I have embraced my role as “woman rabbi” and the opportunities to raise the feminine voice—my voice—with pride and strength. Read more…

WRJ Voices: Shof’tim

by Diane Pont

With the campaigns for the U.S. Presidential general election well under way, we are certainly witnessing a political season like no other. Between the multitude of surrogate speeches given at the Democratic and Republican national conventions and the candidates’ speeches and rallies, we see two completely divergent visions for America’s future. Read more…

WRJ Voices: Re’eh

Count Your Blessings… Leave Your “Curses” Behind

by Dana Adler

Parashat Re’eh begins with the word “re’eh” or “see” rather than “sh’ma” or “listen.” According to commentary, Torah indicates that blessings and curses are choices. The interpretation is each of us must “see” for ourselves and make the decision to obey the commandments or not. Read more…

Sing Out Your Support for Gun Violence Prevention

by Sarah Greenberg, Assistant Legislative Director at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

On Sunday, September 25, people from all across the United States will gather in person and on social media in the #ConcertAcrossAmerica to call for an end to the epidemic of gun violence that has plagued our country for far too long.

The flagship concert will be at the Beacon Theater in New York City, with concerts also happening across the country, with social media and other opportunities to connect and be a part of this moment if you cannot be there in person. Read more…