Rethinking Religion

Judaism

A City Where Justice Dwells

Place matters. Even in this globalized, Internet era, I believe in making long-term commitments to specific places, and especially to the places where we live. Our communal social justice efforts should begin by choosing the places where we will make an impact.
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Gender & Sexuality

Overcoming the Sexual and Religious Legacies of Slavery

Because of the U.S. history of slavery, assumptions about the sexuality of African American women in the United States differ from those made about European American women. The sexual stereotype of enslaved women as licentious extends far back into history; modern racism extended it to all Black women and also used the myth of Black hypersexuality as a reason to enslave Black people.
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Introduction to the Justice in the City Section

Geographical Borders and the Ethical and Political Boundaries of Responsibility What would happen if we took seriously the biblical idea that we are responsible for the well-being of everyone who has passed through our city, even if only momentarily? In …
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Poetry

The Sudden Angel Affrighted Me: God Wrestling in Denise Levertov’s Life and Art

Doubt and uncertainty for Levertov often took the form of questioning a God who could allow so much suffering and injustice in the world. There was a light in her eyes and a sense of ease in her body. It seemed to me that she had found a deep peace and an abiding sense of the presence of the divine.
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Rethinking Religion

The Path of the Parent: How Children Can Enrich Your Spiritual Life

Children are naturally mindful. They always live fully in the present, and the world is a fantastically real and interesting place to them.
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Spiritual Politics

A Spirituality of the Commons: Where Religion and Marxism Meet

Confronted with such a “patchwork” reality, progressives (be they religious or not) have to learn to discern the different elements. They cannot just dwell on the conformist and deactivating dimensions of religion but have to take the “sigh of the oppressed” seriously.
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Rethinking Religion

Healing the Miser Within: The Kabbalah of Giving and Receiving

The Hebrew term for gratitude, hakarat hatov, literally means recognition of the good. Recognizing the good one has received from others is indeed the force that inspires gratitude and the desire to give back.
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Rethinking Religion

Beyond the Limits of Love: Building the Religious Counterculture

The signature orientation of liberal religion has rather been one toward increasing personal freedom from religious strictures. The joke is that the Ten Commandments have been demoted to “ten suggestions.”
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Spiritual Progressive Analysis

We Are One Body: A Christian Perspective on Justice in the City

Understanding our common connections doesn’t in itself solve the problem. When we are feeling the pinch of scarcity, human beings become territorial.
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Spiritual Progressive Analysis

Islamic Law and the Boundaries of Social Responsibility

The face of the Other should strike doubt and obligation into any person of conscience, forcing us to continue asking, “Am I doing enough?” This, of course, threatens an infinite obligation: other people’s traumas, precarity-inducing misfortunes, addictions, and struggles will never cease, especially in the city.
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Spiritual Politics

Justice in the City

The obligation to accompany another is an obligation to cross boundaries. In accompanying the dead, the boundaries that are crossed are those between life and death.
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Books

Torah Stories for Young Children

Alison Greengard and Carol Racklin-Siegel’s series of Bible stories is a thoughtfully laid-out reading experience, but one that also comes with limitations. In contrast, The Bedtime Sh’ma: A Good Night Book and Modeh Ani: A Good Morning Book, both adapted by Sarah Gershman with illustrations by Kristina Swarner and also published by EKS, are lyrical and engaging books for both the youngest listeners and early readers.
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Christianity

Whose War on Christmas? The Corrosive Power of Cheer and Commerce

Here we go again. “School Bans Santa over Religious Concerns.” “Christmas Concert Cancelled in Hawaii.” “Charlie Brown Violates U.S. Constitution?” The War on Christmas is afoot! Fox News is correct – there is a sustained effort under way to discredit the sacred truths of this holy day. The only problem is that they have fingered the wrong culprit.
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Interfaith

Beyond Interfaith Marriages to Multifaith Marriages

Self-definition is that glorious arrangement of you being you. “Interfaith” is not something a marriage or a person can be. We are still in the twenty-first century and we have parochial homes. A cradle Christian doesn’t stop being a Christian because she marries a Jew nor vice versa. Self-definition is normal, possible, obvious—and intimately necessary.
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Spiritual Progressive Analysis

Beyond Frankl: Towards a Meaningful Life

While Frankl left us with a theory about meaning, it is hard to piece together any practice to help establish a sense of meaning in life. Is meaning given to us from God, or do we pretend to have some real purpose in life in order to make it through the day?
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