Nu? This Week in Jews and Social Justice
- This weekend marks Hazon’s 10th annual bike ride in which 175 green-minded Jews will travel 150 miles as a fundraiser for Jewish environmental organizations. According to Tablet’s Dvora Meyers, AJWS president Ruth Messinger was something of a speed demon on the ride last year. “Reader, I ate her dust,” she wrote.
- With Rosh Hashanah quickly following Labor Day, Jewish Funds for Justice’s Jeremy Burton elaborated on the connections between the two holidays. In a column for The Washington Post he called on Jews to remember the workers who toil in dangerous industries, those who “put their lives at risk through a lack of health care, who risk exploitation in industries excluded from workplace regulation.”
- Another Jewish Funds for Justice macher, Simon Greer, appeared in the news this week when he commented on the proposed Muslim community center for CNN. Greer “cited the first-century Jewish thinker Hillel, who demanded: ‘If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am for myself only, what am I?’ He said Americans were doing a pretty good job on the first question – being for themselves – but he questioned whether they were doing as well by their Muslim neighbors.”
- Congregation Beth Simchat Torah in New York, the world’s largest LGBT synagogue, has a new assistant rabbi: Rachel Weiss. In an interview in Time Out New York, Weiss explained what drew her to CBST: “It embodies what it means to be a welcoming community and what it means to stretch and broaden and to be inclusive and creative. It’s really our mission to make sure that we preserve traditional Judaism—whatever that means—and rituals of Judaism, and expand them to fit the needs of our community.”
- Speaking of the Jewish LGBT community, ZEEK’s Haviva Ner-David published an article this week criticizing Orthodox rabbis whose nominal devotion to inclusivity comes across as rather exclusionary. Ner-David called the Statement of Principles, a document urging Orthodox communities to treat gays and lesbians with limited respect, a “problematic” missive: “The statement seems really only to embrace gay and lesbian Jews who are so committed to being Orthodox that they are willing to remain in the closet or live a celibate life.”