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Stately building at Stanford University

We have all heard the horrifying truth: 1 in 5 women will experience sexual assault during their time in college.

In April of 2014, the White House released this statistic as part of their “Not Alone” campaign...

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Signs requiring women to dress modestly written in both English and Hebrew in Beit Shemesh

You open the refrigerator only to discover that there is no milk. You can’t bear the thought of drinking your coffee black, and quickly start planning an emergency drive to the local market. The issues that run through your mind are probably a combination of these: Where are my keys? Where’s my wallet? What’s the best route to avoid traffic? Will I be able to find parking? How fast will checkout be? Will the store even be open this early in the morning?

But if you live in Israel’s port city of Ashdod, you might have to ask yourself an extra question: Are you a woman? If yes, it...

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Martin Luther King, Jr. monument in Washington, D.C.

Throughout middle school, high school, and winter breaks during college, I observed Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by marching through downtown Cincinnati, Ohio, singing and praying as one community with my family, members of Rockdale Temple, my synagogue, and people of all faiths and races. We gathered together annually – always in freezing cold weather – to commemorate the civil rights marches of an earlier era that were led by Dr. King and others. When I was young, those ice cold MLK Day marches downtown were as much a ritual as lighting...

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African-American hand and Caucasia fingers clasped together

As members of the Jewish community, we connect – to one another and to our history – through stories. Stories of our collective past – our trials and tribulations – are handed down through generations, shared through Mishna and Torah, and through social media and sermons. Our stories help us interpret, motivate, draw strength, and find comfort.

As citizens, we weave more stories; we build narratives to compel politicians to enact change we believe in, to ensure our voice is heard. We identify with or distance ourselves from components of our national identity through stories of our...

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Martin Luther King marching in Selma with Black and Jewish leaders

Albert Vorspan was present at every milestone of the early civil rights movement, serving as the point person for the Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism. In the early 1960s, he wrestled with Reform Jewish leaders in Southern states who felt threatened by the social justice priorities of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (now the Union for Reform Judaism), under the leadership of Rabbi Maurice Eisendrath.

In 1964, Vorspan landed in jail with Dr. King and other protestors. During a recent sit-down, I asked him to describe...

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