Central Conference of American Rabbis: Supreme Court Decision One Step Toward Recognizing We Are All Made in God’s Image

  

CCAR calls decision affording marriage rights to same-sex couples a significant moral step towards a more equal country

New York, N.Y. – June 26 2015 – The Central Conference of American Rabbis, the official rabbinic leadership organization of the Reform Judaism movement, applauds the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, which determined that the Fourteenth Amendment requires states to license marriages between two individuals of the same sex. CCAR signed an amicus brief in support of marriage equality in the case, alongside many other religious organizations and faith leaders.

“As Jews, we believe we are all formed in God’s image,” said CCAR Chief Executive Steve Fox. “This compels us to extend and recognize the same rights to everyone in our community, including individuals who identify as straight, gay, lesbian, or transgender. For many years, Reform Judaism rabbis have called for equal rights for all members of our …

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A Moment of Unity: 5 Ingredients to a Good Deal

by Rabbi Daniel Cohen
and
Rabbi David-Seth Kirshner

This week marks the one-year anniversary (yahrtzeit) of the kidnapping and gruesome murders of three young boys in Israel.

David-Seth: I attended the funeral for the boys, who were buried side by side on a small hill in the town of Moddi’in – center geographically to the homes of the three families.

In the sweltering heat, 12,000 people gathered to pay respects to boys that most had never met. Perhaps a handful of the 12,000 assembled knew the deceased’s name 18 days previous. We were religious and secular, Jews and Gentiles, politicians and taxi drivers, men and women gathered in a rare moment of unity and grief.

The Head of School for two of the boys eulogized his students. His remarks still inspire me: “Two Jews. Three opinions. One heart.” When the going gets tough, indeed we are one heart. One …

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Please Join Me AThis Afternoon… Along With Clergy Of All Faiths…

  

Please join me at the South Orange train station on Sloan Street today at 5:30 PM. We will gather with menbers of our local commujity for a vigil of solidarity led by members of the South Orange/Maplewood Clergy Association in the aftermath of the violence in South Carolina earlier this week.

The murder of nine worshippers at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina was a brutal act of hatred and racism. It must be denounced and opposed by people of good faith from every corner of our community and with every fiber of our being. There is power when we band together. There is hope when we share our vision for creating a world of equality and kindness.

Let us come together before Shabbat begins to express outrage, to pray that goodness and tolerance prevail in our country and to recommit ourselves to doing all we …

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Central Conference of American Rabbis Condemns Attack on South Carolina Church

 

CCAR Condemns Attack on South Carolina Church Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) is shocked and horrified to learn of the tragic murders at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. As clergy whose job it is to gather people in the study of sacred scripture, we are appalled that the desecration of nine human lives could occur in such a holy setting. Our sympathies extend to all the victims, and especially to our partner in clergy, Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney.

Earlier in same day that this hate crime was perpetrated, our leadership had gathered for a board meeting during which we passed our resolution affirming our commitment to work for Racial Equality. In the aftermath of the events in Charleston–and on top of the injustices in Ferguson, Staten Island, Cleveland, Baltimore, and beyond– we are even more fully dedicated to the …

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Rabbi Cohen TSTI Annual Meeting 2015 

 

What an incredible honor it is to stand here before you during our TSTI Annual Meeting for the 22nd time. I have always known what a privilege it is to serve this sacred community. This year I am especially grateful for the opportunity to be part of the TSTI Family.

There is a Rosh Hashanah teaching that explains why the shofar is the appropriate symbol for the new year. No matter how much you practice and prepare to blow the shofar, this teaching explains, anything can and often does happen when you actually go to sound it. Similarly, no matter how thoughtfully you prepare for the new year, once it begins to unfold, anything can and often does happen. One must, it concludes, be prepared to address whatever may come your way.

That has, to a certain degree, been the nature of this year. As we always do, we …

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TSTI President Craig Krandel Annual Meeting 2015

 
It is an honor to have served this congregation for the past year and i want to say thank you for entrusting me with such a position. It is truly hard to believe that a year has already gone by. I must admit that when I accepted this position, the majority of comments that i got were, “are you nuts??”, “you must be out of your mind”, I have to say that it has been the complete opposite experience. I can honestly say that it has been one of the the most rewarding experiences of my life. To be able to work with and serve a community such as the one we have here at TSTI is not something that many others have the privilege of doing.

It has been a challenging year. One that faced many unscheduled meetings, holiday conference calls and difficult decisions and I must say, …

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TSTI Students Learn About Inclusion, Diversity with Artist Julie Wohl- from VillageGreenNJ.com

 

Religious school students at Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel in South Orange have just completed an art project based on the Jewish concept of b’tzelem elohim – “in the image of God.” The project was spearheaded by Mindy Schreff, director of the Reform synagogue’s Linda and Rudy Slucker Religious School, and artist-in-residence Julie Wohl, who led students age 5 through 13 on a creative journey that combined art with Jewish text.

Schreff worked with Wohl to envision an art piece that would represent b’tzelem elohim, a concept that is closely aligned with the school’s curriculum as well as that of TSTI’s Iris Family Center for Early Childhood Education, which fosters inclusion and diversity. TSTI is known in the wider community for its barrier-free building and commitment to serving students with special needs.

“We wanted to find a way for the students to express the idea of b’tzelem elohim visually,” said Schreff.

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Ten Minutes of Torah – Celebrating Jewish Arts and Culture

  

So proud Debbie Halpern, author of this article, is a member of TSTI. 

I understand why Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction last month. It is a beautiful, captivating and moving story. Set in World War II, possibly the most written-about period in history, it manages to cover original ground. The main characters are tragically drawn, rich, and full. Novels as well-written are few and far between and deserving of honors.

It is only upon reflection, and in context, that I find it part of a larger, disturbing trend of well-written, popular novels that cast the Nazi soldier as victim. Like the “must-read” contemporary World War II novel The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak, Doerr’s novel paints a sympathetic portrait of the Nazi soldier – the “everyman” German as the victim of a larger evil force.

What made The Book

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Sending Aid to Nepal

  
Dear Friends,

The news coming out of Nepal is more and more tragic with each updated reports. It is no surprise that Israel immediately set out to get relief workers on-site as has been the case with so many tragedies of this magnitude. The Jewish State is quick to offer assistance and, when such assistance is accepted, (which isn’t always the case), quick to follow through on the offer. It is also no surprise that Jewish organizations throughout America are putting together efforts to raise funds. Click here for a list provided by the Reform Movement.

One of the hallmarks of the Jewish community is that we look out for our own AND for those we may never meet. This is one such time. Any support we can give as a community will be truly impactful.

The Times of Israel offers some insight into Israel’s mission. Click here

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Worth Reading: Why I Require FBI Agents to Visit the Holocaust Museum

  

…I require every new FBI special agent and intelligence analyst to go to the Holocaust Museum. Naturally, I want them to learn about abuse of authority on a breathtaking scale. But I want them to confront something more painful and more dangerous: I want them to see humanity and what we are capable of. 
I want them to see that, although this slaughter was led by sick and evil people, those sick and evil leaders were joined by, and followed by, people who loved their families, took soup to a sick neighbor, went to church and gave to charity.

This article makes some interesting… and important points. It is definitely worth reading. 

Click here to read the full piece.

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