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I recently met a woman active in the Jewish community here in Cleveland. We shared stories about our lives and how we got involved in Jewish engagement. I learned that she grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, her family only marginally connected to Judaism. She told me that when Detroit chose to desegregate the public schools, her parents, seized with the uncertainty of what this change might bring, resolved to send her to Jewish day school beginning in 6th grade. That move changed the future trajectory of her life. At 12, she began to find not just her Jewish self – but her Jewish soul. She...

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Rabbi Aaron Panken offering a closing prayer at Temple Mishkan Israel in Selma

Delivered on Sunday, June 10, 2018 in Austin, TX  

Rabbi Aaron Panken understood his call to be the creation of an entire generation of inspiring leaders who would lead the Jewish people to fulfill our destiny. He was nurtured and trained by the same institutions of Reform Judaism – NFTY - The Reform Jewish Youth Movement, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Union for Reform Judaism, and most of all the Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion – to which he devoted his professional life. And he did so because he understood the profound role of leadership in building...

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As the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival—a campaign to raise up the enduring and intersecting web of issues that sustain deep inequality in American society— continues into this Pride Month, we are reminded of the importance of highlighting the way in which poverty uniquely affects already marginalized communities.

Specifically, we know that LGBTQ Americans experience poverty at a higher rate than non-LGBTQ Americans....

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Young students at the March for Our Lives, holding signs that spell "ENOUGH"


Gun violence prevention is a Jewish issue.  

Leviticus 19:16 instructs us, “Do not stand idly by while your neighbor’s blood is shed.” For too long, our government has stood idly by, shooting after shooting, refusing to take action to prevent the next massacre from happening. Bump stock devices have no place in our society and must be banned.

What's a bump stock?

Following the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in in Parkland, Florida, earlier this year, Attorney General Sessions announced that the Department of Justice would propose a regulation to...

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As a Reform Jew growing up in suburban New York, anti-Semitism seemed as removed from my own experience as Sunday school stories of Jonah and the Whale. No matter the lessons of “Never Again,” no matter the concentration camp films, no matter Elie Wiesel and the mandatory Holocaust education in my public school, my own experience was one of complete acceptance in American society. When these efforts would end in a pitch for my contemporary support of Israel, I couldn’t make the connection: why do these past events, so long ago, require my action today? Even worse, as I learned about and...

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