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Hanukkiah with the Statue of Liberty to hold each candle

May is Jewish American Heritage Month, established by President George W. Bush in 2006. Learn more about the history of the month… then get to work celebrating it! Here are just a few ideas, applicable in May and all year long.                                              

  1. Visit a Jewish museum or a site of historical Jewish interest. Visit a Jewish museum, a Holocaust memorial museum, New York City’s Tenement Museum… the list goes on, and...
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French candidate Emmanuel Macron against a blue background

Stéphane Beder is the president of the Assemblee du Judaisme Liberal, vice chairman of the European Union for Progressive Judaism, and senior vice chairman of the World Union for Progressive Judaism. We spoke with him as France heads for the upcoming parliamentary elections on June 11 and 18.

ReformJudaism.org: It was reported that 90% of Jews voted for Emmanuel Macron and 10% for Marie Le Pen. What do these numbers say about the politics of the Jews of France?

Stéphane...

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Statue of Queen Victoria

Each year on the Monday before May 24, Canadians (well, most of them) celebrate a holiday in honour of Queen Victoria’s birthday. Victoria, whose assertive personality rose far above her 4- foot, 11-inch height, reigned as Queen of the United Kingdom from 1837 until her death in 1901. (She also became Empress of India in 1877, but that’s another story.)

This is a uniquely Canadian holiday; it is not celebrated at all in Britain. (In fact, Quebec does not acknowledge it, and a couple of other provinces have renamed it.) So that might cause you to wonder: Why do any Canadians keep...

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Seen from behind: older man and woman sitting on a bench

Every single baby boomer in the United States is at least 50 years of age. The Census Bureau tells us that every day some 10,000 people are turning 65. The Jewish population in the United States is aging; with some 25% of us over the age of 65. Indeed, a Pew study from the summer of 2016 showed us that the median age of our community is now 50.

This boomer cohort is bringing our historical and cultural baggage with us and, in doing so, has helped redefine American Judaism in the last several decades. From the feminist movement to the drive for LGBTQ equality; from the shift from...

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Bride and groom forming heart with their hands

Thus said the Lord: Again there shall be heard in this place…the sound of mirth and gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and bride… Jeremiah 33:10-11

A major manifestation of the problematic nature of religion-state relations in Israel has always been the matter of marriage. The law of the land is that matters of marriage and divorce are wholly under the jurisdiction of the recognized religious communities.  For Jews, this means the officially sanctioned Orthodox chief rabbinate and its representatives. 

Thus, a wedding performed by a Reform or Conservative rabbi is not...

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