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Liz Dunst holding the Torah at the Kotel

“Was I willing to openly carry a Torah into the upper plaza of the Kotel?” This was the question posed to as I attended Connections 2017 of the World Union for Progressive Judaism (WUPJ) in Jerusalem. Having watched other women do so over the last year, I knew I had to do my part, so I said, “yes, and it would be an honor.” The honor was doubled by the fact that I was to carry the Women of the Wall Torah, which was that was lent to us by B’nai Israel in Sacramento, California. As the time approached, I would be less than honest if I said I was not increasingly nervous.

The day...

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Porcupine caribou in arctic

Senator Edward Markey (MA) and Congressman Jared Huffman (CA) recently introduced important legislation, S. 820 and H.R. 1889, respectively, that would designate the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as a Wilderness area.

Designated by President Eisenhower in 1960, and expanded by President Carter in 1980, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge stands as one of America’s last true uninterrupted nature areas. The Refuge, located on Alaska’s northeast coast, is roughly 19 million square acres (approximately the size of South Carolina) and contains numerous fragile...

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Free lunch preparation in schools

Yesterday, the Trump administration released its budget proposal for FY 2018. Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner issued a statement on behalf of the Reform Movement, condemning the drastic cuts in the budget, and urging Congress to protect programs so crucial for millions of Americans. The budget slashes funding for many agencies and institutions that serve the public in a variety of ways. Here are a...

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graphic with text wear orange

On June 2, National Gun Violence Awareness Day, people around the country will Wear Orange to bring attention to the epidemic of gun violence that kills 90 Americans each day. One of those lives lost was Hadiya Pendleton. On January 21, 2013, Hadiya Pendleton – a majorette and high school student from the South Side of Chicago – marched in President Obama’s Second Inaugural Parade.  One week later, after finishing final exams, Hadiya was shot and killed in a park near her school, at the age of 15. In the wake of this tragedy, her friends and family...

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Walking on holy ground. That’s what Pastor Rosemary Sanchez-Guzman called it. She wasn’t speaking about the physical act of walking. She was talking about the act of listening—listening to the stories of people who have fled a host of dangerous conditions in Central America and crossed, illegally, into the United States.

The pastor’s audience was a group of 15 teenagers from Beth Emet Synagogue in Evanston, Illinois, spending their spring break learning about immigration on America’s southern border. When she spoke of walking on holy ground, “Pastora,” as our teens came to know her...

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