Rabbi Jill Jacobs is the executive director of T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. Her most recent book is Where Justice Dwells: A Hands-On Guide to Doing Social Justice in Your Jewish Community (Jewish Light, 2011).
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.
Twenty U.S. states are considering laws that would prohibit courts from considering any “foreign law” in their deliberations. These laws raise the specter of fundamentalist Muslims turning the United States into an Islamic theocracy. There is no question that this perceived threat is absurd. And while Muslims currently bear the brunt of this fear-mongering, other groups’ religious practices may also soon fall under the scrutiny of these new laws, revealing seams in the supposedly flawless integration of Judaism and American life.