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Jewish Perspectives on Freedom

Jewish Perspectives on Freedom

Rabbi Steven Bayar, Rabbi Emeritus of Congregation B’nai Israel in Millburn, will lead an insightful three-part series at 1 p.m. on Thursdays, Jan. 13, 20, and 27, via Zoom. The series, titled “Jewish Perspectives on Freedom,” is coordinated by Our Jewish World, co-chaired by Ilene Dorf Manahan and Melanie Levitan. The program is free and open to the public.

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Be Aware, Be Informed

It has become obvious that reforms are need in many areas of our democracy, and while I focus on legislation at the federal level, do not overlook what is happening locally.

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A Complex Democracy

Our Founding Fathers understood history. They saw that democracies are susceptible to demagogues, to majority rule becoming mob rule, to the subjugation of minorities, and to trampling on individual rights. And so they sought to curb the excesses of democracy through representation, separation of powers, checks and balances, and the protection of individual rights.

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Taking Action to Welcome the Stranger

The Afghan refugee crisis has rapidly increased the pace of change in refugee resettlement in the United States. Last month the Biden Administration announced a new program, in partnership with the Community Sponsorship Hub (CSH), a project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisers, Inc., to launch the Sponsor Circle Program for Afghans. This program allows groups of private citizens to sponsor Afghan evacuees during the initial resettlement process.

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Ensuring #Courts Matter

Federal judges make decisions that impact women, children, and families. Federal court decisions impact every aspect of our lives: the schools we can attend; our privacy; our ability to start a family when we choose; the safety of the products we buy; our religious freedom; and our voting rights.

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Cyber Dangers

Cyber Dangers

Recently, well-known celebrities and politicians have made headlines for their scandalous cyber activities. US Congressman Anthony Weiner used Twitter to send sexually suggestive pictures of himself to adult women and underage girls, Jerry Harris, star of the Netflix docuseries Cheer solicited child pornography from underage boys through Snapchat, and Congresswoman Katie Hill stepped down after serving only five months when nude photos of her were distributed both online and by a tabloid without her knowledge or consent.

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Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Even in the middle of a UN-declared Code Red climate crisis, oil and gas corporations are planning new drilling projects. Subsidies from the federal government are largely used to reduce operating expenses and fossil fuel production would probably become unprofitable without them, an argument that climate activists have been using for years.

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Voter Education: The Time Is Now

“The vote is precious. It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have in a democratic society, and we must use it.”
—John Lewis

After historic voter turnout in 2020, 18 states enacted 30 laws that restrict access to the vote (between January 1 and July 14, 2021) while at the same time at least 25 states enacted 54 laws with provisions to expand voting access. This deepens a national divide where the right to vote appears to depend on where in the USA you live.

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