Why I am proud to be A Reform Jew

I am proud to be a Reform Jew for so many reason our embrace of women spiritual leadership, our amazing youth programs inspiring faith and tradition in our young people, our contemporary music and innovations in worship. But what has always inspired me spiritually, theologically has been our emphasis on ethics and social justice.  Today our Movement responded to the deplorable rollback in civil rights perpetrated by the Trump Administration.

 

I am proud to be a signatory and co-author of this statement on behalf our Reform Movement, over a million Jews strong in North America alone!

http://www.rac.org/reform-movement-deplores-rollback-transgender-rights

Reform Movement Deplores Rollback of Transgender Rights

For Immediate Release
February 23, 2017

Contact: Max Rosenblum
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

Press Release from the Religious Action Center

WASHINGTON—The Union for Reform Judaism, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism condemn President Trump’s decision, and resulting actions by the Offices of Civil Rights of the Justice and Education Departments, to overturn a federal rule making the nation’s public schools welcoming and safe for transgender students.

The book of Genesis teaches us that all human beings are created in the Divine image — a status certainly shared by transgender men, women, and children, males created in female bodies and females created in male bodies.

The rejection of Title IX protections for transgender students undermines the safety and security of all students. Further we are concerned that if the government can set aside Title IX for some students, important Title IX protections for all students and in particular women and minorities are also at risk.

Tragically, transgender youth are especially vulnerable — to bullying, to rejection by their families and by their peers, to violence, and to suicide. A government that deprives youth of their right to safe schools, and specifically to use the restroom that conforms to their gender identity — in short, a government that fails to protect their imperative to live in accordance with their gender identity — is a government that is willing to accept bigotry and bullying.

Far from protecting girls and women from men in women’s bathrooms, decisions such as this imperil transgender youth. Transgender men and boys may appear threatening and come under attack if forced to use women’s restrooms. Transgender women and girls risk becoming victims of violence if forced to use men’s restrooms. The Administration has overturned a rule that was sound public policy and endeavored to uphold pikuach nefesh, saving life, the very highest of religious injunctions.

This matter is personal for Reform Jews. Our congregations proudly embrace transgender men, women, and youth among our members. Some of our rabbis are transgender. Many children in our congregations and communities, including children of our rabbis, are transgender. Our rabbinical seminary, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, educates transgender Jews for sacred leadership roles in our community. Our congregations, our youth programs, and our summer camps fully accommodate transgender youths and adults in accordance with their gender identity.

We lament this serious step backwards in the effort to protect transgender youth — and, more broadly, in the march toward equal civil rights for all Americans.

 

Central Conference of American Rabbis
Rabbi Denise L. Eger, President; Rabbi Steven A. Fox, Chief Executive

Union for Reform Judaism
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President; Daryl Messinger, Board Chair

Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director; Isabel P. Dunst, Chair, Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose nearly 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.

Published: 02/23/2017

Ohio attacks women

Here is my latest statement on behalf of the Central Conference of American Rabbis about the Ohio State Legislature’s latest attack on women HB493. 

Please call and write Govenor Kasich. Ask him to veto the Ohio bill HB 493 which would destroy woman’s lives. Yesterday the Ohio house attached a ” Heartbeat” provision to an unrelated bill. This would make it a fifth degree felony if the woman sought an abortion after a heartbeat was detected often before she knows she is pregnant. (Which could be at 6-8 weeks tho the fetus is no bigger than a lentil). It’s clearly unconstitutional according to Roe v Wade which permits abortion up until the 2nd trimester. This is a new shot across the bow to strip away choice and yet another anti-woman law. 

Governor John Kasich 

Riffe Center, 30th Floor 

77 South High Street 

Columbus, OH 43215-6117

Phone: (614) 466-3555

Contact Gov Kasich  to ask him to veto this heinous proposed legislation. http://ccarnet.org/about-us/news-and-events/ccar-denounces-proposed-ohio-bill-restrict-womens-reproductive-l/  

Come sing and pray and meditate with me

Source: http://myemail.constantcontact.com/45-minutes-for-America-s-45th-peaceful-transfer-of-power-.html?soid=1100447839517&aid=cD4dqmr6rGI

 

Dear Kol Ami family and friends,
It is a new day in America and the people have exercised their civic duty.  Whether we like or dislike the outcome of the election and the many races and propositions that were on the ballot, as Americans we still must be in awe of the great process and privilege that is voting in a democracy.
I know many in our Kol Ami community are passionate about politics. After all, Jews have long embraced democracy because it allowed us to thrive as a people like never before in history. But I also know many of you have expressed to me your deep fears and concerns after such a ugly, contentious election season. Many of you are scared and devastated.
It was an election that was filled with overt racism, misogyny, xenophobia, Islamophobia, Antisemitism and anti-LGBT sentiments. The President-Elect and his Vice President-Elect have fostered many of these in their election rhetoric. Let us pray that they understand governing is different than electioneering and that they now become the President and Vice President of all Americans and American residents.
President-Elect Trump has the opportunity to use his office to bring
Americans together, and to move us toward a brighter future. If he does so, we will be ready to work with him for the common good. If he does not, we stand ready to be fierce advocates for the values that guide us: inclusivity, justice, and compassion.
So for those of you that are in pain and turmoil after last night’s results, for those of you who are scared or questioning your faith in America, or questioning your faith at all – I invite you to join me tonight from 6:30 pm to 7:15 pm at our Temple, Congregation Kol Ami 1200 N. La Brea Avenue for 45 minutes of healing and hope with meditations for our future and our country. 
Afterwards, we’ll adjourn to our rooftop deck for refreshments, conversation, listening to one another and supporting each other. For those who would like to stay, at 8 pm we’ll join Pastor Keith Cox and the Center for Spiritual Living for 30 minutes of uplifting music and communal prayer in our sanctuary.
This week we read Parshat Lech Lecha. Abraham’s call to leave his home and discover a new land and a new promise and a new relationship with God. The days and weeks ahead will be our time to explore this journey as a Kol Ami community and what we can do to make our values heard in the marketplace of ideas and to protect these values in our country.
For centuries Jews have prayed for the welfare of the country they lived in and its leaders. All the while knowing that we Jews have a Higher Power! As we pray in the Prayer for our Nation:
We ask God for guidance for ourselves and for our nation, to grant
our leaders the wisdom and forbearance to govern with justice and compassion. We ask God to help us appreciate one another and to respect the many ways that we may be faithful to the ways of righteousness, and to keep our country sound in body and spirit.
Shalom ,
Rabbi Eger Signature
Rabbi Denise L. Eger

Reform Jewish Movement Statement on the 2016 Presidential Election | Religious Action Center

For Immediate Release November 9, 2016 Contact Max Rosenblum Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism 202-387-2800, news@rac.org

Source: Reform Jewish Movement Statement on the 2016 Presidential Election | Religious Action Center

For Immediate Release
November 9, 2016

Contact
Max Rosenblum
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
202-387-2800, news@rac.org

Press Release from the Religious Action Center

WASHINGTON – The people have voted and American democracy is strong. We respect that vote and we extend our hand to President-elect Trump. We also extend our hand to the members of the 115th Congress. These leaders will have critical decisions to make that will weigh on the future of our nation, our communities, our families and the entire world. We hope that they govern with wisdom and righteousness to create a space where all Americans are respected.

President-elect Trump has the opportunity to use his office to bring Americans together, and to move us toward a brighter future. If he does so, we will be ready to work with him for the common good. If he does not, we also stand ready to be fierce advocates for the values that guide us: inclusivity, justice and compassion.

This week we read Parsha Lech Lecha with its clarion call to “go forth.” Just as Abraham went out into a place of great uncertainty, we now find ourselves in an unanticipated time and place. But we know, like Abraham, that our faith and enduring values will be a strong foundation as we move forward.  We love the stranger, feed the hungry and care for the orphan and the widow.

Throughout our Reform Movement’s history, our congregations, institutions, rabbis, cantors, other professionals and lay leaders have striven to bring all of us together to strengthen and to sustain one another, and to work together in the pursuit of justice for everyone. We welcome all: Jews and non-Jews, people of all races and religions, of all sexual orientations and the immigrants among us. That welcome is the essence of who we are as a community, and who we are as a country, and that remains as true today as it has ever been.

As we pray each week in our synagogues on Shabbat in the Prayer for our Nation, we ask God for guidance for ourselves and for our nation, to grant our leaders the wisdom and forbearance to govern with justice and compassion. We ask God to help us appreciate one another and to respect the many ways that we may be faithful to the ways of righteousness, and to keep our country sound in body and spirit.

Union for Reform Judaism
Daryl Messinger, Chair, North American Board of Trustees
Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President

Central Conference of American Rabbis
Rabbi Denise L. Eger, President
Rabbi Steven A. Fox, Chief Executive

Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Isabel P. Dunst, Chair, Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism
Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director

 

Advancing Temple Institutional Development

American Conference of Cantors

Association of Reform Jewish Educators

Association of Reform Zionists of America

Early Childhood Educators of Reform Judaism

Men of Reform Judaism

North American Federation of Temple Youth

Women of Reform Judaism

Women’s Rabbinic Network

World Union for Progressive Judaism

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose nearly 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit www.rac.org for more.

Published: 11/09/2016

Last night

Last night, November 8, I shared these words on my Facebook page.

Friends and family if Mr Trump prevails and it is looking that way as I write this , there will be no time to sit and whine, mourn or cry. We will dust off and march forward as there is a country that needs kindness, people who are broken and hurting on both sides of the divide, people who will need protection and help if the Trump rhetoric is actualized. We will have to protect our planet and stand up to misogyny and racism and xenophobia that infects America. But most of all we will need to summon the well spring of love for all people because it is love that will conquer fear and doubt and despair. Love your neighbor as yourself. Love your God with all your all your heart and soul and being! Love more deeply. Even when it is hard to.


A word to those who put so much effort into this election. If your candidate or proposition lost remember there is always another election. That is the great thing about our democracy. That old adage is true- if first you don’t succeed try try again. But also this: as a person of faith though I am interested in politics I know that I don’t put my faith in politics or politicians. To do so is idol worship. Rather my faith is built on the timeless and eternal values of my spiritual tradition (in my case Judaism ) and my faith in what I call the Divine. Politics is a tool not the end all and be all. So if you are hurting and sad and don’t know what to do. Focus on what matters – justice, love, and humility. Or as the prophet Micah taught: What does God require of you? Only to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God. Who wants to go for a walk? #pickingmyselfupandwalkingforward

Help Israel Be More Just

Help Israel become a more Just Society.  Join the campaign to write 1000’s of letters to Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Reuven Rivlin, Diaspora Minister Naftali Bennett to follow Israel’s Supreme Court Ruling to follow through on the plans to enhance the Southern Kotel (Western Wall) Plaza as a place for egalitarian prayer.  The Ultra-Orthodox threatening to topple the government have blocked the agreed to compromise from happenng.  You can make the difference. Click on the link below to have a letter delivered to these Israeli leaders on your behalf.  Reform and Conservative Judaism along with the Jewish Federations of North America are working together on this project to ensure that there is One wall for One Jewish People and that all are included!

 

We can’t let Jews get arrested for wanting to pray at the Kotel!

click here