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February 2018

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Supreme Court

On Monday, February 26, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the case of

Susannah Cohen
Hands and a jail cell

Earlier this week, I testified in front of the Ohio state Senate Judiciary committee.

Rabbi Rick Kellner
The author and her campers at URJ Camp Coleman

My hope for you is that your schools will feel as safe as your camp cabins. I want you to be able to run, laugh, play, learn, and grow as freely as you could at camp, where your biggest fear is falling and skinning your knee. I want you to not have to question whether or not the next time you talk to your friends will be the last time you’re able to. I want you to be active and engaged citizens, like we teach you to be at camp, but I want you to do this out of a desire for good, not out of trauma and necessity. Most importantly, I want you to just be kids. I want you to not have to worry. I want you to have a childhood that lasts as long as possible, free from fear, free from pain, and free to always be as happy as you are at 201 Camp Coleman Drive. 

Madeline Budman
school stock image

Late January featured "National School Choice Week," during which proponents of 

Noah Fitzgerel

Last week, Reform Jewish high school students from across the country came to Washington, D.C for the Bernard and Audre Rapaport L’Ta

Harrison Klein
Rabbi Epstein headshot

Here in Austin, Texas, issues of immigration often take center stage in our everyday lives.  Austin is known as a “Sanctuary City” – a label given to cities that prioritize local law enforcement ov

Rabbi Rebecca Epstein
Jewish clergy stage a sit-in in Rep. Lance's office

This week, I reflected deeply on these verses and this portion’s emphasis on establishing a just society. I participated in a rally at Congressman Leonard Lance’s Westfield office to support the passage of the Dream Act.. DREAMers are people who were brought to the United States as children and until the Delayed Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA was established 6 years ago, they were not able to work, go to college or get driver’s licenses. This policy helped them pursue their dreams and contribute to our society. As we know, DACA is set to expire on March 5. This means that these DREAMers may be deported.

Rabbi Faith Joy Dantowitz
Senator Tammy Duckworth speaks with a participant at JDAD 2018

At this year's Jewish Disability Advocacy Day (JDAD), more than 200 disability rights advocates and Jewish leaders came to Capitol Hill to push legislators to support crucial health care and educat

Sylvia Levy
Photo courtesy of Michael Brochstein of Split Stone Media.

When the world is changing quickly, unpredictably, in new and confusing ways, it seems to be human nature for us to look for ways to try and slow down that change or control it. Or, failing that, we look for someone to blame.

Some in our great nation, in this "VUCA" world, are falling back on the oldest scapegoat in the world, in a desperate move to try to slow the rate of confusing change. They want us to blame 200,000 El Salvadorians who fled earthquakes and gang violence 16 years ago. They want us to blame the 800,000 "DREAMers"-- young people who were brought to this country as children by their parents. They want us to blame the 11 million undocumented residents of this nation who live in the shadows, all while working hard, raising American children, contributing greatly to our nation and, oh, by the way, committing crimes at a much lower rate than native-born American citizens.

Rabbi Joel Mosbacher
Rabbi Sarah Bassin speaks at a rally outside Senator Feinstein's office in support of Dreamers

Before my people were known as Jews, we were known as ivrim. We translate this to  “Hebrews.”  But ivrim iterally means "those who cross over."  My people have been defined by moving from one place to another, in search of a safe place to call home.  We are ivrim, border crossers, imprinted with the memory of fleeing persecution.  We are ivrim, hated because our neighbors did not see us as one of them, no matter how long we lived side by side. We are ivrim, ready to rebuild our lives and our communities whenever we must.  

Rabbi Sarah Bassin