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This Shabbat, we will read Parashat Mishpatim, the sixth parshah in the book of Exodus. In Mishpatim, the Israelites have begun what will be 40 years of wandering through the desert after the Exodus from Egypt. This parshah is notable for the number of mitzvot it includes: 53 total, the second most of any parshah.

These mitzvot include rights and protections for a variety of vulnerable people, yet it gives a special double mention to the rights of the stranger. Twice in the parsha we read, “You shall not oppress a stranger, for you know the feelings of the stranger, since you were...

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Polar bears in the arctic

Rules and regulations often get a bad reputation. They are seen as no fun, restrictive and sometimes even arbitrary. But, as any kindergarten teacher, Rabbi or environmental activist will tell you, a good rule can be a very positive thing.

In the text of the Torah, we can distill 613 mitzvot, or commandments. These 613 mitzvot offer guidance for how we should live our lives. They cover nearly every aspect of life, from social interactions to religious practices, to wartime conduct and agricultural guidance. Commandments in the Torah range from the fairly obvious – “Not to stand by...

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Hannah Kandall and Olivia Heilbronner

Over the winter, nearly 2,000 Reform Jewish high school students came to Washington, D.C. for the Bernard and Audre Rapaport L’Taken Social Justice Seminar, where they learn how to be effective advocates and to think about how issues of contemporary social injustice intersect with the values of our Jewish tradition. At the February, 10-13, 2017 L'Taken, Hannah Kandall and Olivia Heilbronner from Temple B'rith Kodesh in Rochester, NY, advocated on refugee resettlement in Rep. Louise Slaughter's (NY-25) office. Here is their...

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On February 10, the Trump administration rescinded the government’s objections to a 2016 injunction that blocked implementation of the Obama administration’s transgender inclusion guidance for public schools. The guidance, released in May 2016 by the...

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Texas is known for it’s cuisine, cowboy artifacts and Southern hospitality. It’s a state with deep-rooted traditions whose name comes from the American Indian word “tejas,” meaning “friend” or “ally” It’s an aspect of our history that we love: our state motto is “Friendship.” However, the state is threatening this Texas tradition with the introduction of Senate Bill 6, a discriminatory piece of legislation which would directly target LGBTQ Texans.

On January 5, 2017, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and State Senator Lois Kolkhorst introduced a piece of legislation, SB 6, that would...

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