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October 2015

Archive

Every October, people around the country observe Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). DVAM is meant to educate and raise awareness about domestic violence and contains three main themes: mourning those who have died because of domestic violence; celebrating those who have survived; and connecting those who work to end violence. Domestic violence is a tragedy that affects millions of people in this country, and women are at the highest risk of being victims. Recently, advocates for ending domestic violence have found an unlikely partner in their work in people who advocate for gun violence prevention. Evidence has shown that domestic violence and gun violence are closely linked. One in four women in the United States experiences severe physical violence by an intimate partner in her lifetime, and when gun are allowed into the wrong hands, domestic violence can turn into murder. Guns are the most commonly used weapon in domestic violence homicides, and having access to a firearm increases the risk of intimate partner homicide by up to five times more than in situations where there are no weapons. The most startling statistic is one that I just learned the other day: one half of women that are murdered by guns in America are murdered by intimate partners or family members.

Tracy Wolf

October is National Work and Family Month!

Tyler Dratch

Rabbi David Saperstein, former Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and current Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedo

Rachel Landman

How often does your rabbi say in his or her High Holy Day sermon, “Take out your phones and make a call?”  Over the holiday season, that’s exactly what rabbis across California did.  Governor

Rabbi Ken Chasen
A call for voting rights at the America's Journey for Justice Rally on Capitol Hill in September

If you need evidence of the continued importance of the protections of the Voting Rights Act, look no further than the ongoing dispute over closing DMV offices in Alabama.

Adam Waters

by Rozan Anderson

There’s probably no one among us who doesn’t know the famous story of Noah and the ark. The tale is central to this week’s parashah, Noach (Genesis 6:9-11:32). It is a story of a world gone corrupt and God’s decision to hit a reset button: why, how, and the aftermath.

Now, I’m not saying that our world today needs such a major reset. Indeed, after the flood, God created the rainbow as a covenant with all living things, with a promise to work together, rather than to erase and keep starting anew.

It's Tuesday in Jerusalem. The World Zionist Organization (WZO) Congress does not begin until a week from today. You remember all the 'buzz' about the WZO and voting for the ARZA (Association of Reform Zionists of America) slate? Earlier this year, from January through April, every American Jew was urged to vote in the WZO election. There were websites and posters to encourage voting. Computers and tablets were brought to meetings in an effort to encourage American Jews to register and vote for the ARZA slate, representing Reform Judaism. And guess what? It worked! ARZA garnered 56 seats! In fact, we have more delegates than the next two slates combined. American Reform Jews can feel quite proud—and I am quite proud to be one of the ARZA delegates who will be representing all of you next week. You may be asking, what is ARZA and what is the World Zionist Congress? ARZA, the Association of Reform Zionists of America, represents 1.4 million American Jews in Reform communities. Fifty-six ARZA delegates will be attending the "Parliament of the Jewish People"—the World Zionist Congress (WZC)—in Jerusalem October 18-22. Theodor Herzl convened the first WZC in 1897 and I will be here for the convening of the 37th meeting! That fact alone is inspirational! Beginning next week, 500 delegates from all over the world will debate cutting-edge issues, allocate monies, and make efforts to impact the future of the Jewish people.

Lynn Magid Lazar
Israeli Flags

Since the end September, my Facebook timeline, Twitter feed, and email inbox have been filled with a steady stream of increasingly fearful and disheartening news coming from Israel.

Jacob Kraus

by Leslie Brier

World leaders came to the United Nations on September 25th and signed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a set of 17 goals aimed at lowering global poverty, hunger, and inequality and addressing environmental challenges. There are three themes to these global goals, social, economic and environmental justice, with an inferred fourth and fifth: peace and inclusivity.

The United Nations conducted the largest consultation program in its history to gauge opinion on what the SDGs should include. It was a two year process that included hundreds of thousands of people worldwide. The United Nations gathered input from national consultations, door-to-door surveys and an online survey asking people to prioritize theses global goals. The first draft was proposed last September and countries belonging to the UN negotiated the wording of the goals and targets.