Thursday night's passage of a bi-partisan gun bill filled me with hope, even as the Supreme Court ruled against New York, which forces some states to actually loosen their gun regulations.
Related Blog Posts on Advocacy, Civic Engagement, Racial Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion, Secular Holidays, Social Justice, and Tikkun Olam
As Shavuot approaches and we celebrate the Giving of the Torah, I have been spending some time reflecting on some of my favorite teachings from Jewish sacred literature, both those that resonate with me, and those that feel most important or most timely.
In the story of creation, the first story we read in the Torah, we learn that every person is created b'tzelem Elohim - in the holy image of God (Genesis 1:27). Discrimination against any person arising from apathy, insensitivity, ignorance, fear, or hatred is inconsistent with this fundamental belief. It is this principle that guides that Reform Movement's advocacy for LGBTQ+ equality.
I read a quote today by Sy Smith that said, "Black people in the U.S. are expected to keep on keeping on, no matter what..."
For a community relentlessly targeted by hateful legislation, this year’s Transgender Day of Visibility (celebrated on March 31) holds a heightened sense of urgency. I am ashamed to say that this day wasn’t even on my radar until I had a personal stake in it, but it now holds a special place of significance in my family.
February is typically a busy month for me and for my fellow Jews with disabilities. It is JDAIM-Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion month. As the first female Deaf ordained Rabbi, I am often asked to speak, write, teach Torah, and share insights on how we can create a more inclusive Jewish community.
As a graduate of both Tougaloo College and Jackson State University, the recent bomb threats to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are personal to me. Since January 2022, over a dozen HBCUs have received bomb threats; several of those threats were received on the first day of Black history month. The continuous attacks on institutions of higher learning; places of worship and individual attacks are a direct threat to our everyday existence.
Today, the anniversary of Rosa Parks’s birthday, is the ideal time to revisit her life and legacy for the inspiration and wisdom they provide. Many Americans remember Rosa Parks as the tired seamstress who refused to move to the back of a bus, but Rosa Parks is much more than that story: though she did not identify as Jewish, her life reflected a commitment that we might identify as tikkun olam – repairing what is broken in our world. Here are three key insights from Rosa Parks’ life we can bear in mind as Black History Month begins.
We are in a time of great crisis, facing pandemics of systemic racism, poverty, climate change, voter suppression and COVID-19. Millions of Americans experience unemployment, hunger, and housing insecurity, facing the threat of climate change daily. People of Color and other marginalized communities experience the most adverse consequences. And the country continues to face endless attacks on our voting rights and reproductive rights. Before Congress breaks for their winter recess, there is much left to be done.
I write about International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3, 2021) as a quadriplegic wheelchair user and as a Jewish woman accustomed to advocating for physical inclusion in places of worship. I am all too familiar with common barriers to access and have offered potential solutions.