What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
(Langston Hughes, “Harlem”)
Recently I began to volunteer once a week, assisting the English literature teacher in a nearby Arab high school. I’ve known the teacher, and the principal, for many years, through arranging encounters for their students with Jewish visitors, and this seems like a good way to stay in touch and involved. My first assignment was to present a background lesson to two 10th-grade classes studying a poem by Langston Hughes (“the poet laureate of Harlem,” who died in 1967). This assignment meant covering slavery, emancipation, the Civil War, Jim Crow, and the civil rights struggle, in simple English, assuming almost no historical background, in 40 minutes. Interesting challenge.
This story of Israel’s diversity, coexistence and humanitarian aid as evidenced by the Galillee Medical Center community moves me, and especially now, I feel it is important to share it with others.
It’s a recurring biblical pattern: Time and again, it’s the woman who “gets it” and the man who does not.
There is much we can learn from these women, starting with Eve.
Having Team Refugee at the Olympic games will bring further attention to the plight of refugees worldwide, and is helping change the lives of the athletes who now have a chance to compete.
When the 2016 Summer Olympics open Friday, we'll of course be cheering the American athletes — all 555 of them — and we'll be rooting for Israel, too. But we're saving a special shout-out for some of the Jewish-American Olympians who have given the Tribe extra reasons to be proud this year.
From conversion-related controversy to conflicts over access to the Kotel, it seems nary a news cycle in the life of the Jewish people passes without a story about intra-Jewish conflict. However, far less discussed are documented instances of intra-Jewish cooperation, particularly those in which Reform rabbis had leading roles in bringing the Jewish world – in its totality – closer together.
Garrett Weber-Gale, who has broken four world and eight American swimming records, went home from the 2008 Beijing Olympics with two gold medals. Last year, the 30-year-old athlete from Wisconsin was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. A proud Reform Jew, Garrett received his Jewish education at Congregation Shalom in Milwaukee and at the Olin-Sang-Ruby Union Institute (OSRUI), a Reform summer camp in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, where he remembers spending five “idyllic” summers. Today he lives with his wife, Kara, in Austin, Texas, where he founded Athletic Foodie, a business that makes snacks specifically designed to help athletes perform at their best.
Unfortunately there are people in this world who look upon the LGBTQ community and see it as a threat, a scourge to be wiped off the earth, a people whom God has cursed. But if they were to look closely, to speak with people, to get to know this community up close and personal, surely they would see that, in fact, it is a community God has blessed.
Something historic occurred last week. It was more than a simple nomination. It is nothing less than a challenge to all of us: to acknowledge our diversity and to see the Divine in each and every human being.
In their new book JewAsian: Race, Religion, and Identity for America’s Newest Jews, scholarly husband/wife team Helen Kiyong Kim and Noah Samuel Leavitt examine the intersection of race, religion, and ethnicity in the increasing number of households that are both Jewish American and Asian American (like theirs is).