Recent Shabbaton Demonstrates the Impact of Inclusion in Halachic Discourse

Written by Editor on . Posted in Op-Ed

When I was in my early twenties, living in another city and becoming increasingly Jewishly observant, I looked to the Orthodox Jewish community for ways to participate, yet found few opportunities for women to be included in discourse on Halacha (Jewish law). I am grateful that I moved to Beth Sholom Congregation and Talmud Torah in Potomac, Maryland, 11 years ago with my husband, Rabbi Nissan Antine, and our first child, where I found a vibrant Jewish community full of diverse Jewish learning opportunities for both women and men.

Seeing the Best of a Community

Written by Karen and Jeff Wasserstein on . Posted in Op-Ed

“Speak little. Do much.” (Pirkei Avot 1:15) — these words aptly describe many of the people we have met and interacted with during our years chairing the Kemp Mill Synogogue (KMS) Tzedakah Committee in Silver Spring, Maryland. We have had the honor of serving on the KMS Tzedakah Fund for the past 12 years, and as we step down, we wanted to give the community a picture of how much care and love we got to see behind the scenes.

The Masks We Wear

Written by Editor on . Posted in Op-Ed

There is no holiday like Purim. Not only is it a mitzvah to be happy, when you think about it, Purim is also the only holiday in the Jewish tradition where it is permitted, even compulsory, to drink and be silly.

Advancing Disability Inclusion Though Creativity and Innovation

Written by Lisa Handelman on . Posted in Op-Ed

This February marks the 10th anniversary of Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM). Since its inception, JDAIM has grown into an international movement where organizations, communities, and congregations find creative ways to take steps toward becoming more inclusive. Many of our local Greater Washington congregations plan special Shabbat services that include individuals with disabilities as guest speakers. From a strong local involvement at the annual Jewish Disability Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, to MC LIVE, a night of comedy benefitting organizations in our local Jewish community that directly support individuals with disabilities, JDAIM programing has become part of February’s landscape. The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington proudly joins the celebration each year, hosting a dedicated JDAIM page that lists programing ideas along with a running list of events planned.

Turkey is Coming for the Kurds

Written by Diliman Abdulkader on . Posted in Op-Ed

“Operation Olive Branch” is an ironic name for the aggressive military campaign carried out by Turkey against the Kurds in Afrin, Syria.

Situated in northwest Syria, Afrin has survived both the Syrian civil war and attacks from the Islamic State (IS); but when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vows to remove the “terrorists” from the region, he is referring to the Kurds — the same Kurds who have heroically fought IS and who have been allies with the U.S. in Syria; the same Kurds who have protected ethnic and religious minorities inside the war-torn country.

Keeping Children Safe — Our Sacred Mission

Written by Dr. Michelle Friedman on . Posted in Op-Ed

Jewish community is built on a code of moral and ethical action. This fundamental principle understands that human beings are flawed and will commit bad, harmful acts. It follows that a functioning society requires rules and oversight to protect vulnerable members. Straightforward as this may seem, we all want to believe that our communities are intact, wholesome places where terrible things do not happen.

Empower the Disabled Community and See Our Mutual Value

Written by Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi on . Posted in Op-Ed

February is Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month. This year it falls out as we are learning about Moses, who had the disability of a speech impediment yet was one of our most important leaders. We are also learning this month that Jews of every ability were at Mount Sinai to receive the Torah.

Pharmaceutical Industry:Please Improve Geriatric Medicine

Written by Ken Kohn on . Posted in Op-Ed

The creation of the Institute for Pediatric Innovation stemmed from founder and president Donald Lombardi’s passion for helping children, and from the realization that the needs of pediatric patients are not being sufficiently met. Having now lost two elderly parents, I have realized that, similarly, there are needs of geriatric patients that are not sufficiently met. If I ever make it big, like Lombardi, I will found the Institute of Geriatric Innovation.

Mighty Waters Cannot Extinguish Love: Reflections From Our Mission to Houston

Written by Jonathan Krisch on . Posted in Op-Ed

When Rabbi Uri Topolosky visited Houston days after Hurricane Harvey, one particular young person’s act of chesed (kindness) inspired him. After the hurricane had caused a bat mitzvah at Houston’s United Orthodox Synagogues (UOS) to be postponed, the bat mitzvah girl, Gali, announced that she was donating all her bat mitzvah presents to recovery and rebuilding efforts.

Our Consumer Protections Are Under Siege

Written by Ariel Levinson-Waldman on . Posted in Op-Ed

Now, more than ever, strong consumer protections are critically needed. Americans have taken on more debt than at any time since the beginning of the recession in 2008. Predatory lending and debt-collection lawsuits are disproportionately directed at our communities of color, raising civil rights issues that are exacerbated by the dramatic wealth gaps across racial lines. Lawsuits and other predatory tactics by debt collectors often lead to disastrous consequences for low-income families, including wages being garnished, bank accounts frozen and drained, credit reports (and thus future employment and housing prospects) impaired, and driver’s licenses suspended. But one year into the Trump administration, protections for vulnerable Americans are under siege.

Israel is Wrong to Ban BDS Groups From Entering

Written by Jackson Richman on . Posted in Op-Ed

As of Jan. 7, 20 organizations that support the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement are banned from entering the country they love to demonize. However, such a move sets a dangerous precedent, especially in terms of freedom of expression.