Blogs

Bigotry In The Name Of National Security

Crises have a way of bringing out the best and the worst in people.  The Syrian refugee crisis is a classic example as politics seems to overwhelm principle – not unique but no less appalling, especially considering the lives at stake – as so many politicians succumb to xenophobia and religious bigotry and try to justify it in terms of national security.

'My God Is Better Than Your God'

Republican presidential candidates Rick Perry and Ted Cruz want to shrink the size of the federal government by eliminating several cabinet departments, although neither could remember just which ones he wanted to deep six.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich wants to go the other way and create a new agency of government, one that will be totally useless, an utter waste of taxpayer money and further antagonize people around the world who think America is already too arrogant and domineering.

One Room On The Prairie

Born in 1876 in Russia, a motherless Rachel Calof found herself at the age of 18 married to a stranger in Devil’s Lake, North Dakota, “the only place colder than Russia.” The couple shared a one-room shack with her parents-in-law, brothers-in-law, a nephew, chickens and a cow. Her bed was a depression in the floor of the shack; there was neither outhouse nor latrine. Back in Russia, Rachel, the daughter of an elegant mother and a long line of Cohanim, had not been permitted to accept the hand of a butcher’s son.

Kate Fuglei as Rachel Calof. Karen Richardson

Looking For A Guidebook On Inclusion? Check The Torah

Inclusion is a mindset. Inclusion means always thinking about who might be feeling “on the outside” and bringing them to “the inside” for meaningful engagement, contribution and belonging.  I believe this definition is consistent with the Torah’s direct and indirect inclusion messages.

Inclusion Collage. Courtesy of Temple Israel Center

Barack's Chanukah Gifts For Bibi

Chanukah came early for Bibi Netanyahu this year when Barack Obama gave him a very big gift he's always craved and the promise of another. 

Just before Bibi arrived for his first White House meeting since he launched his bungled attempt to block the Iran nuclear agreement, senior administration officials told reporters that the President was throwing in the towel on efforts to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians for the remaining 14 months of Obama's term. 

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Menorahs

The White House is looking for a special menorah for this year's Hanukkah celebration hosted by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

Past menorahs have ranged from historical treasures to original art.  In 2012 it came from a synagogue damaged during Hurricane Sandy and the following year it came from a synagogue destroyed during the Holocaust.  Another that year was the "Statue of Liberty Menorah" from the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia.

'Best Part Of Being Jewish'

Donald Trump has suggested customers should begin boycotting Starbucks because the company's traditional red holiday cups don't have any Christmassy decorations.

"Did you read about Starbucks?  No more Merry Christmas on Starbucks," the bloviating billionaire told a rally in Springfield, Illinois, this week. 

Three Ways Teachers Can Make Parents Their Partners

Editor's Note: Thanks to Lisa Friedman and Matan for sharing this blog, which originally appeared on the Matan web site.

In our Matan Institutes we work with Jewish Educators to guide them in including children of all abilities in Jewish education, offering concrete teaching tools for reaching every student and empowering them to make lasting change in their schools and communities. One of the things we discuss at length is the critical need for strong partnerships between parents and the school.

Educators and classroom teachers can often get “stuck” on the various ways that parents challenge them and they typically want specific pointers on how to handle difficult conversations with parents.

Parents As Our Partners. Courtesy Of Matan

Willy Loman’s Alter Heym

The first word in the opening scene has not yet been uttered and already you are transfixed.  The old salesman approaches the spare stage clutching two worn, oversized leather valises. At first you don’t notice him. No spotlight shines near him and he somehow seems invisible, a nobody. But there he stands, gathering up himself one more time. He winces, squints, opens and shut his eyes. Is he fending off a nightmare or trying to recapture a lost dream? 

Willy Loman is coming home.

Avi Hoffman as Willy Loman (foreground) and Adam Shapiro as Howard in “Death of a Salesman.” Ronald L. Glassman

Ruderman Inclusion Summit: "Including Humans In Human Activity"

More than 550 activists in the field of inclusion for people with disabilities from around the world came together for the Ruderman Family Foundation’s first-ever international Inclusion Summit, which took place in Boston on November 1st and 2nd.

Award-winning journalist John Hockenberry. Courtesy of Noam Galai
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