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The Anne Frank Center USA and The Consulate General of the...

1 hour 11 min ago

Join us Tuesday, March 24, 2015 from 6:30-8:30 pm at The Koubek Center at Miami Dade College for a panel discussion on immigration reform with Felipe Sousa-Rodriguez, Deputy-Managing Director of...

(PRWeb March 13, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/03/prweb12578376.htm

Ten Students Begin Studies in Online Rabbinical School: Tenth class...

1 hour 11 min ago

The Jewish Spiritual Leaders’ Institute (JSLI) Online Rabbinical School has matriculated its 10th class of rabbinical students. These students will receive their semicha, or certificate of ordination,...

(PRWeb March 11, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/03/prweb12564895.htm

More Than Words on a Page: Social Justice in our Prayer Books

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 17:00

When I left for college my freshman year, I was nervous about exploring a new Jewish community. However, I immediately felt at home as I walked into my university’s Hillel’s Conservative Friday night services and saw the Siddur Sim Shalom, the prayer book that I had grown up with. The siddur offered me a sense of comfort and familiarity in an otherwise completely new setting.

When I began exploring humanistic Judaism, the humanistic Shema, (Shema Yisrael Echad Ameinu, Echad Adam – hear Israel, our people is one, humanity is one) allowed me to connect my humanistic Jewish values in a familiar framework. Similarly, when I first discovered Siddur Sha’ar Zahav, “the first LGBT Prayer Book for every occasion,” it provided me with the opportunity to connect my queer identity with a nuanced prayer book that still contained elements familiar to me from my upbringing. What I’ve learned over the years is that prayer books can be sources of comfort. More importantly, however, they can be tools for change and social justice.

With that in mind, I was excited to learn of the Reform Movement’s new machzor (special siddur or prayer book for holidays), Mishkan HaNefesh. The new machzor for the High Holidays includes a number of inclusive elements, including a gender-neutral blessing for trans individuals; the use of the term couples, instead of bride and groom, to be LGBT-inclusive; and prayers affirming the divine essence in people with disabilities. The prayer book includes passages allowing for doubt, questioning and even anger, a mix of traditional and modern prayers and transliterations for all the Hebrew liturgy so people can follow along, regardless of their knowledge of Hebrew.

Hara Person, Publisher and Director of the CCAR Press and Director of Strategic Communications, explains that this new machzor was written to engage a wide, diverse audience:

“The High Holy Days are the time when we grapple with the big questions about life and death, faith and hope, forgiveness and anger, loss and new beginnings.  Our hope was to create many possible doorways into the High Holy Day experience, so that people can find meaning in different ways depending on who they are and what they’re struggling with, what’s on their minds when they walk in. For some people it may be the liturgy itself, for others it may be beautiful translations, or the poetry. For some it may be the intellectual engagement with the commentary on the bottom of the pages, or they may find inspiration in a study text or meditation. And for others, the gorgeous woodblock art by Joel Shapiro may offer a point of connection and meaning. “

Prayer books have the power to change attitudes. The High Holidays are usually the most well-attended services of the Jewish year. Having an inclusive prayer book, like Mishkan HaNefesh, at the service creates a space for people who are too often marginalized in religious settings: LGBT individuals, individuals with disabilities humanists and more. Updated inclusive language challenges us to reflect on our own use of language in our everyday lives and how we can work to be more inclusive in every day in our communities. Most importantly, this new machzor emphasizes a long-standing aim of the Reform Movement: fostering a Jewish community that is welcoming and inclusive of all people, regardless of their identities.

Over the thousands of years of organized religion, prayer has been a key component of most faiths. The words in our prayer books, which are meant to guide our prayers, symbolize the vision we see for the world. And the vision in the Mishkan HaNefesh is a beautiful one: a world that affirms the shared humanity—the divine—in each of us.

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin Compares President Obama to Haman

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 15:44

Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, a prominent American-Israeli Orthodox rabbi, compared President Barack Obama to Haman, the villain of the Purim story.

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The Joy of Gene Saks

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 12:04

Gene Saks, director of “Brighton Beach Memoirs” and countless other plays, has died at 93. Ben Ivry remembers Saks’s reputation as a creative artist and a Jewish thinker.

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JOSHUA NELSON & the Kosher Gospel Choir return for a Rockin'...

Mon, 03/30/2015 - 06:02

Joshua Nelson brings his extraordinary message of hope, unity and spirituality through kosher gospel; a marriage of Jewish religious lyrics and meanings, with the soulful sounds of American gospel...

(PRWeb February 26, 2015)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/02/prweb12542064.htm

New Shmuley Boteach N.Y. Times Ad Urges Obama To Go Tough on Iran

Sun, 03/29/2015 - 14:30

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach published a full-page advertisement in The New York Times calling on President Obama to refrain from appeasing Iran.

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Chasing ‘The Messiah’ and Bruno Schulz's Long-Lost Novel

Sun, 03/29/2015 - 06:00

A restless rabbinical student in Jerusalem, Niles Elliot Goldstein, became obsessed with the art of Bruno Schulz, who was killed by the Nazis. What happened to his biggest project, ‘The Messiah’?

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After Grave Desecration,Tunisian President Vows to Protect Jews

Fri, 03/27/2015 - 07:54

In the wake of the desecration of a Jewish sage’s grave, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi promised a European rabbinical body he would protect his country’s Jews.

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Western Wall Cleaned for Passover

Wed, 03/25/2015 - 12:20

Workers at the Western Wall removed the notes placed in the cracks by worshippers in advance of Passover.

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Turkey Unveils Great Synagogue as Jewish Community Fades

Wed, 03/25/2015 - 11:13

When the domes of Edirne’s abandoned Great Synagogue caved in, Rifat Mitrani, the town’s last Jew, knew it spelled the end of nearly two millennia of Jewish heritage in this Turkish town.

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Reform Leader Reiterates Unconditional Support for Israel

Mon, 03/23/2015 - 06:48
Rabbi Rick Jacobs: US-Israel relationship transcends partnership; reflects fundamental values and strategic priorities of both nations

Abdu’l Karim Ewing-Boyd Extended Interview

Fri, 03/20/2015 - 12:00

Watch more of our interview with Abdu’l Karim Ewing-Boyd about the nineteen-day period of fasting leading up to the Baha’i new year.

The post Abdu’l Karim Ewing-Boyd Extended Interview appeared first on Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.

Florida Synagogue Defaced by Swastika Vandals

Thu, 03/19/2015 - 07:47

Vandals defaced a synagogue in Hollywood, Fla.

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Not Your Bubbe's Brooklyn

Wed, 03/18/2015 - 06:00

‘Brooklynite,’ a new superhero musical based on characters created by Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, has arrived. But is it a nuanced look at gentrification or a symptom of it?

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Reform Rabbis Name Denise Eger as First LGBT Chief

Mon, 03/16/2015 - 14:49

The Central Conference of American Rabbis, the rabbinical arm of the Reform movement, installed its first openly gay president, Rabbi Denise Eger.

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Copenhagen Girl Whose Bat Mitzvah Was Marred by Terror Is Feted in Israel

Mon, 03/16/2015 - 07:16

The bat mitzvah girl whose celebration in Copenhagen ended abruptly after the shooting death of a volunteer synagogue guard was feted in Israel.

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The Women Who Would Be King

Mon, 03/16/2015 - 06:00

Who will be impersonating Carole King in the musical ‘Beautiful’? Maht Wells went to find out — by gate-crashing the auditions in Chicago.

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Swastika Painted on Car of Dallas Rabbi

Sun, 03/15/2015 - 17:47

A large white swastika was spray-painted on the car of a Dallas rabbi who is being sued by the city over a synagogue he runs in his home.

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Peace Ring Formed Around Copenhagen Synagogue

Sun, 03/15/2015 - 12:00

More than 1,000 people formed a peace ring around a Copenhagen synagogue that came under deadly attack last month.

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