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Rabbi David Segal

RAC-TX sign in the middle of a star

On February 25, the Harris County Commissioners voted to create a taxpayer-funded legal defense program for immigrants facing deportation in the Houston metro area. The narrow victory on a vote that passed 3-2 came after six Houston Jewish leaders working with RAC-TX — including four rabbis — joined with immigrant rights advocates to testify in favor of the program.

The RAC-TX cohort joined more than 25 immigrant rights leaders who packed the hearing room and gave moving testimony about personal experiences of migration, detention, and the life-and-death urgency of avoiding...

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Members of the Texas Religious Action Center march at the capitol during Austin Lobby Days earlier this year.

The Reform Jewish Movement has a long history of advocating for strong public schools. This helps make the passage of Texas House Bill 3 -- which provides more funding for our schools -- such an exciting victory for the Texas Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. It was a grueling five-month legislative session in Austin, but we know the passage of this comprehensive school finance reform bill will bring better quality and more equal education to all 5.4 million public school students in Texas. The measure’s passage also marks a clear victory for RAC-TX on our first area of...

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This post is adapted from Rabbi David Segal's Shabbat sermon on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Weekend at Temple Beth Shalom in Austin, Texas. It originally appeared on Rabbi Segal's blog.

Maybe you’ve heard this one: In the days of World War II, in early November, a sergeant at an army base in the Deep South gets a call from a woman. She says, “Sir, we live near the base, and for Thanksgiving, we’d like to entertain a few soldiers at our house.”

The sergeant says, “Wonderful, we’ll send them over, and on behalf of the army, thank you for your hospitality.” She says, “It’s our...

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Bowl of fried grasshoppers with one skewered on a long toothpick

Years ago, out to dinner with friends, I sent back an order of pad Thai because there was a cricket in it. When we showed the waitress, she asked, “Do you want something else?” Since the sautéed cricket had ruined our appetites, we did not want anything else.

Recent developments in the world of entomophagy – the use of insects as food – have caused me to reconsider whether we overreacted to that cricket. In most of the world, insects are a routine part of the diet. Just not in the United States or Canada – at least, not yet.

Even our ancient Israelite ancestors may have...

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