Like many of you, I’ve been following the headlines about the Coronavirus outbreak. While I leave assessments of this new virus to the epidemiologists and public health experts, I think we can glean meaningful insights about our moral responses by reading between the headlines.
I am a newcomer to this beautiful country, an immigrant, a Jewish leader in a time of rising anti-Semitism and a white woman who is yearning to learn about the African American experience as well as reckon with the legacy of her own skin color. We who walk with both a sense of vulnerability as well as our own privilege are called to embrace our complexities and contradictions.
Every two years, thousands of Reform Jews from all corners of the world gather at the Union for Reform Judaism’s (URJ) Biennial. Last year between 5,000 to 7,000 people attended the Biennial at the McCormick Place Conference Center in Chicago. If you’ve never been at a meeting with this many Jewish people of all ages, then this is the event to look out for. For me this was a first, and this is my personal lookback report of a few highlights on jLab.
Most portrayals of Jews in fiction are weak. It doesn’t matter if they’re on television, the stage or in print, Jewish characters seem to fall into a few broad classes. Token Jews show up for ethnic diversity. Sometimes, nothing about them seems Jewish other than the mention that they are. Sometimes, they drip Yiddishisms and Jewish steriotypes, but their purpose is to be Jewish, not to convey anything about Jews other than the fact that they’re different.