Category Archives: Current Events

9/11 – Where Are We, 12 Years Later?

Where were you when the planes hit the towers?

It’s a question people are asking and answering all day today, across social media, in offices, in classrooms, in congregations.

9/11 Memorial in NYC

We would like to add another question to the mix: What are you doing, today, to commemorate the destruction that took place on September 11, 2001, and make things better twelve years later?

If you need inspiration in answering this question or finding a concrete way to do something today, you can visit the 9/11 Day website for information about how to join many people around the world as they remember this day, and work together for a better and more peaceful world.

Shalom, y’all. 

 

Posted on September 11, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

The Forward Features RJM!

This week, The Jewish Daily Forward featured our very own Rachel Jarman Myers in a piece about her work sharing Jewish culture in the Deep South.

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It’s a great piece, about a dynamic educator. (We’re biased, of course, but we’re not the ones who wrote the article! Trust the objective journalism and you’ll still be charmed by Rachel!) Here’s a quick excerpt:

When Rachel Jarman Myers, a Jewish educator, works with children in Jackson, Miss., she typically asks the students if they know any Jewish people. Sometimes, one child raises a hand. But when she specifies that the person cannot be Myers herself, the child’s hand almost always goes back down. The Jewish population in Mississippi has always been small. It peaked in 1927 with just 6,420 Jews. Today, there are only 1,500 Jewish people in an overall population of more than 2.9 million, according to the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life

All right, now that we’ve piqued your interest — you can read the entire article here, and we hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we did!

Mazel tov, Rachel!

 

Posted on August 28, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

50 Years Later: Not Just Dreaming Together, But Working Together

August 28, 2013, marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

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Rabbi Prinz with Dr. King

The speech that immediately preceded Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech 50 years ago was delivered by Rabbi Joachim Prinz.

As Rabbi of Berlin, Rabbi Prinz was expelled from Nazi Germany. Since this speech, which you can read in its entirety here, will receive less attention I wanted to spread Rabbi Prinz’s message on that day. The entire address is inspiring, but this line, in particular, stands out for me:

“The time, I believe, has come to work together — for it is not enough to hope together, and it is not enough to pray together.”

Those who know me will not be surprised by my choice to discuss this quote.

It is a quote that articulates the importance of relationship building, and cooperation. This idea is repeated in some of my prior blog posts, after all: real social change is most often the result of the efforts of many who work in partnership. The members of different churches, synagogues, mosques, and other houses of worship may have different traditions or political perspectives, but there are almost always overlapping hopes, particularly for their children. Across religious differences, we want our youth to have access to a good education, to be healthy, to be safe, to have the opportunity to live peacefully and pursue their lives and passions. We can make assumptions based on these beliefs, and hope together – or even pray together.

But to work together, we can’t just make broad assumptions (even good, positive ones!) about our hopes and goals. To truly cooperate, we need to have a good understanding of what exactly is driving all of the parties involved. It is the only way to be certain that we are all, in fact, aiming for the same ultimate outcome. On a truly basic level, to work together we have to know each other. We have to know our neighbors’ names, and have their contact information, and not just talk about being a community – but do the work it takes to become a community.

Occasionally, I’ll hear from a synagogue that is skeptical about working with local churches. This is often fueled by a fear that the church members will try to proselytize. I wonder what Rabbi Prinz would say? I suggest that both congregations get together, and discuss what each group needs to feel respected and accepted. It is important to give cooperation a chance. There is too much work that has to get done. We cannot afford to only work with people who think like us. We are all better off when we work together.

May this line serve as a source of inspiration for all of us to commit to working with one another. Martin Luther King, Jr. provided a directive and a vision – and Rabbi Joachim Prinz reminded us of the work that goes into pushing that vision forward. 50 years after these great leaders, and their peers, rallied a crowd of thousands, we must hear the call today. We must be united by a shared dream, then roll up our sleeves and share in the work.

Photo credit: New Jersey Jewish Historical Society 

Posted on August 27, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

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