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Facing This New Reality Together

Last week, ironically under the façade of an originalist interpretation that honors history, the conservative justices of the United States Supreme Court spat upon legal precedent, upon decades and decades of established law, and upon the popular will of the people as measured through opinion surveys. It did the very thing courts are never supposed to do – it imposed a rank partisan interpretation and ignored multitudes of decisions made by that very court and lower federal courts for half a century.

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Unless we teach about consent to our teens, sexual assault at Jewish summer camps will continue

By Rabbi Daniel Brenner
May 25, 2022, Forward

In recent weeks, the Jewish community learned about a lawsuit involving a camper who sexually assaulted another camper at Camp Ramah in the Berkshires in 2018. While the U.S. Southern District Court of New York will weigh the issues regarding institutional responsibility, there is a familiar gender element to the case: This boundary-breaking, like far too many others, started with a male camper attacking a female camper.

Ramah is not alone among Jewish camps in having challenges with teen boys. Over the last decade in my role at Moving Traditions –an organization that works with Jewish pre-teens and teens and focuses on the intersection of gender, sexuality and wellbeing – I have spoken with dozens of camp and teen program directors in the Jewish world and beyond. The majority of their stories of harassment or assault are stories of males that had to be sent home.

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Ascending

By Rabbi Tamara Cohen
March 18, 2022, eJewish Philanthropy

The Torah portion for this week, Tzav, begins its list of the rules of various sacrifices with one called an “olah” – translated by Everett Fox as “the offering up” sacrifice. Olah is a feminine verbal noun and is identical to the Hebrew word describing a woman who goes up, or ascends. If we take the word out of its sacrificial context, we can recognize the word “olah” as one that is also used to refer to a woman coming up to the Torah for an aliyah. Indeed, the celebration of 100 years of bat mitzvah this Shabbat — which Moving Traditions is co-sponsoring with many other organizations and which is being spearheaded by the Jewish Women’s Archive and The Society for Advancement of Judaism — is called Rise Up.

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Kol Koleinu: An inclusive space for teen feminists to learn, connect, and grow

By Stacy Bernstein, NFTY Midwest Area Manager

Five years ago, Moving Traditions and the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) partnered to create Kol Koleinu – A Teen Feminist Fellowship. Over the years, the program has grown – continually providing teens a space to learn and make change around social justice issues they see and experience in their everyday life.

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