Judaism

Students hold signs, "Thoughts and Prayers Don't Save Lives, Gun Reform Will"

After Deadly Florida Mass Shooting, Faith Groups Follow Students' Lead

February 24, 2018

In the days following one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history, religious groups have mobilized to support a new swell of gun regulation activism. After a gunman killed 17 students, teachers, and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, students from the school have received unprecedented press attention as they have engaged with politicians, National Rifle Association representatives, and corporations in an effort...

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Counter-protester clergy link arms at Unite the Right rally

While Religious Groups Condemn Trump’s Charlottesville Comments, Evangelicals Remain Devoted

August 27, 2017

After a white supremacist rally resulted in the death of a counter-protester, President Donald Trump has been criticized from religious leaders of a variety of political leanings, but has largely retained the support of white evangelicals, who overwhelmingly voted for him in the 2016 election.

The Saturday, August 12 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia saw the coalescence of assorted white nationalist...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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,...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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