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August 2015

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When the NAACP’s America’s Journey for Justice began in Selma, AL, on August 1, the Reform Movement was there as a partner and ally. This historic 860-mile march in which nearly 200 Reform rabbis and activists are participating, will culminate in Washington, D.C. on September 16. Throughout, the marchers are demonstrating to our nation’s leaders that Americans from a diverse array of faiths and backgrounds share a commitment to racial justice, and that it is past time for passage of legislation that will help bring the United States closer to its founding ideals of equality for all.

When the NAACP’s America’s Journey for Justice began in Selma, AL, on August 1, the Reform Movement was there as a partner and ally.

Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner

My head is swimming.

Rabbi Joel Mosbacher

by Evie Krislov

This week we are celebrating the WRJ YES (Youth, Education, and Special Projects) Fund with a series of blogs from those who have benefited from the Fund and other WRJ philanthropic efforts. We are proud to build Reform Jewish women leaders within the Reform Movement and beyond. 

I was with two before I found the one. No, I'm not talking about boys, I'm talking about camps. The first two I went to were Conservative, because that's the type of Judaism my family practices. I didn't enjoy either of them for many reasons, but the main reason was I didn't identify with them. Thankfully, my mom and I changed the "Conservative only" filter on the camp search, instead selecting the figurative "All" button. We saw URJ Goldman Union Camp Institute (GUCI) and received recommendations from a friend. I finally decided to go there even though I knew no one. My first year was okay. However, it got better each year. Now I have gone to GUCI for four years!

On Saturday night, legendary civil rights leader Julian Bond passed away at the age of 75. Mr. Bond spent his life fighting for social justice—he was a founding member of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), a co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center and a longtime chairman of the NAACP. His loss is felt deeply by advocates, activists, national leaders and all those whose lives have been shaped – whether they know it or not – by his pursuit of justice.

by Elle Muhlbaum

This week we are celebrating the WRJ YES (Youth, Education, and Special Projects) Fund with a series of blogs from those who have benefited from the Fund and other WRJ philanthropic efforts. We are proud to build Reform Jewish women leaders within the Reform Movement and beyond. 

This year, I was the proud recipient of the Women of Reform Judaism Scholarship on the New York campus of HUC-JIR. When I first got the email notification, I was thrilled to be receiving a scholarship at all. But after a couple of minutes, the significance of this honor started to sink in.

I remember when my mom started to get involved in the sisterhood at our congregation in Cincinnati. We had just joined our temple, and some of the ladies my mom connected with were kind of involved in sisterhood. They personally invited my mom and, wanting to get involved, she decided to check it out. She slowly got involved, coming to meetings and different programs.

83 year old Hazel Dukes led our community with words that I’m sure are familiar to all who have and will march: “What do we want? JUSTICE! When do we want it? NOW!

Rabbi Bob Loewy

"See (r'eih), this day I set before you blessing and curse" begins R'eih: a blessing for following God’s commandments and a curse for failing to do so. It goes on to detail a variety of commandments, including laws of kashrut; treatment of the stranger, the needy, the widow, the orphan, and the Levite; and how to observe Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot.

Why start with “see?” The text could have simply read, “This day I set before you a blessing and a curse.” Why is that word “see” needed at all? It seems to function as an opening exclamation point, providing emphasis: sit up, take notice, and pay attention. In the South we might say “Listen up, y’all!”

Last July, I packed up all of my bags, loaded up the trunk of my dad’s car, and made the trek from New England to move to Washington D.C. and begin my post-collegiate professional life.

While I’ve been enjoying the past year in the Nation’s Capital, amidst learning WMATA and running routes, dashing between meetings, enjoying the monuments and museums, it’s impossible not to see the rampant inequality in the District. In Dupont Circle alone, just blocks from the RAC’s office on Kivie Kaplan Way, too many people experiencing homelessness camp out at night, not sure where else to go in the hazy humidity of a D.C. summer or during the winter nights before the federal government closes for a snow day.