News and Politics

IKAR LA. "Change Your Rhythm, Change the World," a still from IKAR's "All We Are Saying" Video

Why the Jewish Now (and Future) Can’t Be Confined to the Paradigms of the Past

November 20, 2014

“Give me ten emesdike yiddin and I will change the world.”: A response to Jack Wertheimer and Steven M. Cohen’s “The Shrinking Jewish Middle.”

Any middle only exists in relation to the margins that frame it. When we contemplate counting numbers to define the health of the Jewish community, the time has come to consider new criteria.

Here’s Why Compromise IS the Wrong Strategy

November 17, 2014

One of the sound bites we’ve suddenly started hearing a lot since Election Day is about how politicians will start working together to address our nation’s problems.

The word mentioned the most? Compromise.

Leave compromising to the politicians. Social justice advocates must stand firm when it comes to positions on social justice issues and Jewish values.

The Other Great American Divide: Pushing Economic Justice Forward

November 5, 2014

Midway through the day of the Morning After, it’s sinking in that next year in the United States of America, there will much more red from sea to shining sea.

Instead of focusing on how the current divide between right and left (or right and middle, etc.), it’s worth appreciating how the Other Great Divide played out in the polls: the economic divide. And, just as important, to recalibrate and re-energize. With the gulf between rich and poor greater than it has been since 1929, the most basic of economic justice measures found its way onto ballots in the form of the minimum wage.

A Personal Reflection: After Election Day, Moving On

November 5, 2014

No matter what the pundits and polls say, there is often a moment early on during marathon Election Night coverage when those of us glued to the TV and Twitter decide it may not be so bad after all –- that surge of protective optimism that keeps you up way too late. For me, that optimism came from reports of higher-than-usual-midterm-election turnout.

Urgent: Voters Needed. More Urgent: Overturning Laws that Disenfranchise Millions

October 31, 2014

Midterm elections are just days away. And like many in my community, I’m doing my part to get out the vote. We’re making calls, knocking on doors, and — because Minnesotans can register to vote on Election Day — we’ll keep going until the polls close.

In the 10 years I’ve worked in Jewish social justice, I’ve knocked on a lot of doors. I’ve had people yell at me, hug me, offer me a snack, and slam the door in my face.

The hardest response to take, though, is usually, “I can’t vote.”

The Slingshot Guide Turns 10: Questions for Will Schneider

October 22, 2014

Earlier this week, the Slingshot Fund released its annual Slingshot Guide, a “resource for Jewish innovation.” We reached out to Will Schneider, executive director of Slingshot, to talk about how the Jewish innovation arena has evolved in the 10 years since Slingshot began creating its guides — and where we still need to see change, especially when it comes to philanthropy and engaging Jews in social justice.

DC DISPATCH Hold Your Breath: Upcoming Supreme Court Cases Worth Watching

October 19, 2014

You could be forgiven if you perused the docket for the 2014-15 US Supreme Court term and yawned. To be sure, there are important cases, but the lineup so far lacks the hot-button attention-grabbers, with issues like marriage equality, abortion rights, health care, and voting rights largely absent from the list. Even so, it’s worth paying attention this term. Here’s why.

The Truth About the “Border Crisis”: How Partisan Politics Hurt Children

September 8, 2014

This weekend, the White House announced that President Obama will not seek to fix our broken immigration system before the November elections. These children are fleeing peril and seeking safety in the US, yet their stories are quickly muddled with political rhetoric. This is a letdown for Americans and aspiring Americans alike.

Labor Day: Who Steps Up for Justice in the Death of Maria Fernandes & Too Many Other Innocent Workers

August 29, 2014

Maria Fernandes was a hard worker. Not just at her job. At her three jobs, including shifts at three different Dunkin’ Donuts. Our sacred text is clear: “measure the distance to the cities which are around him who is slain.” Measure the distance. The cities of the slain are our cities. The responsibility is on our elders. On our judges. On our leaders. On us. Who will step forward?

Morning Jew: Tackling Rhetoric (and Anti-Semitism)

August 19, 2014

Get behind the headlines with comics Heather Gold and Katie Halper. This week, how American Jews talk about the Middle East and the Eggshell Walk, including acronyms like PEP, short for “progressive except on Palestine.”

Hey You, Are You Confronting Jewish Racism? Ferguson, Race & Public Space

August 15, 2014

As the civil unrest in Ferguson re-launches much-needed conversations about race — and racism — US Jews must see this as a call to action on injustice broadly as well as a time to kickstart difficult conversations within the Jewish community. And not just around the kind of explicit, hate-filled racism we heard from Donald Sterling this spring, but pressingly, around the more subtle undercurrent that enables more explicit racism but often goes, unnoticed, unremarked upon, and thus, unchecked.

In Memory of Leonard Fein: Social Justice Again....

August 14, 2014

Editor’s Note: Our hearts are heavy with this morning’s passing of Leonard “Leibl” Fein. In his honor, we republish this 2008 ZEEK essay, “Social Justice Again…” “The question that the heirs to a tradition of rachmanut, compassion, must in every generation answer,” he writes, “is whether they, in turn, will be the compassionate parents of compassionate children.” He was. And, speaking for my own generation, we shall try. –-Erica Brody

Social Justice Again… By Leonard Fein

SOCIAL JUSTICE, AGAIN? No. Social justice still.

The current talk of the American Jewish community’s abandonment of its traditional passion for social justice is exactly that–talk. Read More

Morning Jew: Heather Gold, Katie Halper & Special Guest Josh Gondelman

August 8, 2014

The Morning Jew duo is joined by Josh Gondelman (‪Last Week Tonight with John Oliver & ‪@SeinfeldToday), taking a brave stand against apologia.

The verdict? This week’s news is bad for the Jews: Israel bombs another UN school, infant herpes, Woody Allen, genocide talk & more.

Morning Jew: Heather Gold, Katie Halper & Special Guest Michael Wex

July 21, 2014

This week: Circumcision debate, Auschwitz selfies & chain stores selling concentration camp décor.

Get behind the headlines with comics Heather Gold and Katie Halper, joined by special guest Born to Kvetch author Michael Wex. Nu, is it good for the Jews?

Morning Jew: Oy, Ben Stein, Hobby Lobby, and Ruth “Greatest” Bader Ginsburg

July 6, 2014

Katie Halper and Heather Gold tackle the headlines, asking, Nu, is it good for the Jews?

This week: “Why do all these old Jewish men get caught paying for sexy things with young women who don’t want them, and why are they publically so racist yet so obsessed with trying to shtup someone who’s not their race?” Plus, Hobby Lobby, the all-time greatest Supreme Court justice, the Facebook study, and more.

Supreme Fireworks: Reflections on Independence Day 2014

July 3, 2014

This Fourth of July, I’ve got a front-row seat to the fireworks set off by the Supreme Court’s Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision, a strong body blow to some very basic democratic values — equality, religious liberty, voting rights.

Interfaith, In Good Faith

June 26, 2014

“Mississippi is still the poorest state in the nation, and we have a 35% child poverty rate. We’re grappling with issues of economic and social justice: poverty, health disparity, discrimination, education.”

Committed to community engagement and social justice, Malkie Schwartz of the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life wants to “create opportunities for other Jewish activists to be involved with this milestone, and to stay involved.” That’s why she’s spearheading a Jewish activists’ summit in conjunction with Mississippi Freedom Summer 50.
Read Now.

Standing Up for Voting Rights: Jewish Voices (Still) Needed

June 19, 2014

The right to cast a vote is deeply cherished.

That’s one thing I learned 10 years ago when I went door-to-door, trying to engage heartbroken seniors in Florida who felt they had been cheated of their rights in previous elections. Next week – on June 25 – the Senate Judiciary Committee will at long last hold a hearing on this legislation. A large coalition of civic groups and faith groups is working to send a message that day and the days before and after. You can be part of that, too. Read More

Morning Jew: World Cup Fever! Naked Soccer Players! Favela evictions!

June 19, 2014

World Cup fever with a special guest, Brazilian journalist Mariana Rebua Simoes – but is there a Jew on the pitch?

Morning Jew: Mark Cuban & More Deep Thoughts about Jews Owning Sports Teams

June 13, 2014

Not exactly comforting: New takes on safety blankets, Jewish cardinals, milk and more on this week’s edition of Morning Jew! Watch now!

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