Judaism

Donald Trump

Trump Thanks Evangelical Supporters at Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference

June 16, 2017

Last week, as former FBI director James Comey sat for a highly-publicized testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, President Donald Trump was across the street delivering a speech to a group of over 1,000 evangelical Christians about his commitment to religious freedom.

The annual Faith and Freedom Coalition conference—headed by conservative activist Ralph Reed—convened for a weekend of Read more about Trump Thanks Evangelical Supporters at Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference

Donald Trump

Widespread Condemnation from Faith Groups After Trump Announces Paris Accord Withdrawal

June 9, 2017

On Thursday, June 1, Donald Trump announced his plans to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement, a 2015 global accord designed to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The long-term goal of the agreement is to keep global warming from exceeding the “tipping point” of 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures.

During his announcement speech, Trump said that the accord placed a disproportionate burden on the United States.

“The rest of the world applauded when we signed the Paris agreement. They went wild. They were so happy,” Trump Read more about Widespread Condemnation from Faith Groups After Trump Announces Paris Accord Withdrawal

Up-close shot of couple holding hands during wedding ceremony

Christie Strikes Child Marriage Bill, Cites Religious Freedom

May 18, 2017

Last week, New Jersey governor Chris Christie conditionally vetoed a bill banning child marriage without exception—a bill which would have been the first of its kind in the United States. Christie cited religious freedom as a key reason for his refusal to sign the bill.

Although the legal marriage age is 18 across the U.S., every state has options for underage youth to wed. In New Jersey, children 15 and under need judicial approval to marry, while children ages 16 and 17 need only a parent’s consent Read more about Christie Strikes Child Marriage Bill, Cites Religious Freedom

Man in kippah kisses cheek of woman in wedding dress

Conservative Jewish Assembly Votes to Allow Non-Jewish Synagogue Members

March 10, 2017

During a special meeting of its General Assembly on March 1, the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism (USCJ) voted overwhelmingly to reverse their prohibition on granting membership to non-Jews.

The measure will have a sweeping impact on North American Conservative Jewish communities, 80 percent of which belong to the USCJ umbrella organization. Whereas synagogues were previously permitted only to allow non-Jews as guests, Conservative communities may now choose to endow non-Jewish attendees—often the non-Jewish spouse of a member—with full membership status.

The USCJ Read more about Conservative Jewish Assembly Votes to Allow Non-Jewish Synagogue Members

Women Praying at Western Wall

Orthodox Worshipers Protest Bat Mitzvah at Western Wall

March 3, 2017

As feminist prayer group Women of the Wall arrived at the Western Wall in Jerusalem Monday for a bat mitzvah ceremony and their monthly prayer service, they found their way blocked by crowds of dissenters.

The Women of the Wall have sparked extreme backlash in Israel for their petitions to change gendered restrictions at the Kotel, or Western Wall. They seek a space at the wall for women and men to pray together—currently, the Western Wall has only sex-segregated spaces. The group has also advocated for women’s right to read Torah at the Kotel.

The Israeli government has Read more about Orthodox Worshipers Protest Bat Mitzvah at Western Wall

Gravestone

Muslim Americans Raise Funds for Vandalized Jewish Cemetery

February 28, 2017

After over 150 gravestones were vandalized in a Jewish cemetery in St. Louis, Missouri in mid-February, American Muslims have jumped to the Jewish community’s defense. In the wake of the vandalism, Muslim activists Linda Sarsour and Tarek El-Messidi set up a LaunchGood.com fundraiser to help the Chesed Shel Emeth Society restore the damaged gravestones.

“Muslim Americans stand in solidarity with the Jewish-American community to condemn this horrific act of desecration against the Chesed Shel Read more about Muslim Americans Raise Funds for Vandalized Jewish Cemetery

Muslim and Jewish man shake hands and smile

Pew Reports Americans Warming Toward Most Religious Groups

February 21, 2017

Americans’ perception of religious groups has increased nearly across the board over the past two years, according to a Pew Research Center report published Wednesday.

The survey ran from January 9 to January 23 of this year. 4,248 adults were asked to rank a variety of religious groups on a “feeling thermometer” ranging from 0 to 100. Although the survey revealed notable differences in perception of religious groups across lines of race, religious identity, and Read more about Pew Reports Americans Warming Toward Most Religious Groups

A pastor delivers a talk

Trump Promises to “Destroy” Johnson Amendment

February 8, 2017

Last Thursday while attending his first National Prayer Breakfast, Donald Trump reiterated his intention to “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment, thereby allowing houses of worship to engage in political endorsements.

Trump’s promise to overturn restrictions on pulpit politicking was one of his most consistent talking points during his presidential campaign. While meeting with a group of conservative Christian leaders in June, Trump Read more about Trump Promises to “Destroy” Johnson Amendment

Child refugee

New Executive Action from Trump Targets Refugees, Muslim Immigrants

January 27, 2017

This Wednesday, several major news outlets received a draft of an upcoming executive order instituting a temporary ban on all refugees and on immigrants from some Muslim nations.

Many perceive the order as an amended version of the “Muslim ban” U.S. President Donald Trump proposed in 2015. Because the executive order includes exceptions for individuals who are “a minority religion” in their homeland, Read more about New Executive Action from Trump Targets Refugees, Muslim Immigrants

Sikh U.S. Army captain wearing a camouflage turban

U.S. Army to Permit Religious Turbans, Beards, and Hijabs

January 15, 2017

The United States Army will now allow soldiers to wear turbans, hijabs, and other religious markers, according to a new policy issued last week.

The new uniform regulations come after years of petitions from Sikhs, whose religious beliefs mandate them to grow their hair long and keep their heads covered with a turban. Army grooming standards compelling men to be clean-shaven particularly restricted Sikh men from enlisting, because to do so would require them violate the precepts of their faith.

In March, the United States Army determined that their standards—which allowed Read more about U.S. Army to Permit Religious Turbans, Beards, and Hijabs

Two children stand on crumbling wall overlooking Aleppo

Religious Communities Respond to Violence in Syria

December 16, 2016

As a years-long standoff between factions in Syria comes to a head this week, religious communities abroad have questioned how to respond.

The Syrian civil war began in the form of escalating protests against the state’s authoritarian president, Bashar al-Assad. In 2011, a group of adolescents that wrote anti-state graffiti was arrested and tortured by the regime, sparking immediate civilian backlash. Over the following half-decade, violence has mounted Read more about Religious Communities Respond to Violence in Syria

Muslim and Jewish man pose together for picture at an interfaith gathering

Prominent Advocacy Groups Form Muslim-Jewish Alliance

November 17, 2016

Less than one week after Donald Trump was elected President, two prominent Jewish and Muslim advocacy groups launched the Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council to promote partnership and safety for American Jews and Muslims.

The American Jewish Committee (AJC) and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) have been planning the coalition for over a year, in response to a sharp increase in anti-Muslim sentiment Read more about Prominent Advocacy Groups Form Muslim-Jewish Alliance

Man holds sign reading, "We the people declare Donald Trump morally bankrupt. You are fired!"

A Divided American Populace Elects Donald Trump

November 15, 2016

From Britain’s June vote to exit the European Union to Colombia’s recent rejection of a peace deal with the FARC guerilla movement, 2016 has seen a series of large-scale voting upsets with global consequences.

Last Tuesday night, in what was hailed by The New York Times as another “shocking upset,” Republican nominee Donald Trump overcame unfavorable polls to clinch the office of President of the Read more about A Divided American Populace Elects Donald Trump

Trump and Clinton debate on the big screen at a viewing party

After First Presidential Debate, Religious Voters React

September 29, 2016

On Monday, September 26, presidential nominees Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump took the stage in Hempstead, New York for their first one-on-one debate.

Although this week’s debate was the most-watched in U.S. history, pundits speculated that a large proportion of the 84 million viewers had already made up their minds about how to cast their vote this November.

Clinton, former Read more about After First Presidential Debate, Religious Voters React

Religious Voices of the Republican National Convention

Religious Voices of the Republican National Convention

July 25, 2016

Last week, politicians, pundits, pastors, and protestors gathered in Cleveland for the Republican National Convention.

The Convention’s purpose is to allow the Republican Party to nominate an official candidate for the upcoming presidential election. Because Donald Trump was the presumptive nominee, the event’s speakers focused heavily on the personage of Trump himself, who accepted the official nomination Thursday.

Trump has been characterized as an Read more about Religious Voices of the Republican National Convention

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