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An Open Letter to Rabbi Dov Linzer on Modesty and Jewish Law

…arrier might be seen as symbolic, an empty marker distinguishing communal affiliation. Traditional Jewish law mandates married women cover their hair, all women not sing in public, and not recite Kaddish in the presence of men—although some modern jurists have been lenient in the latter two. Part of the reason is surely modesty. Regarding hair covering, it is also mandated in order for men not to become attracted to married women and to desire a s…

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Of Zionism and Anti-Zionism: The Ultra Orthodox and the Settler Movement in Israel

…lways had a population problem. Its longterm success depends on creating sufficient “facts on the ground” in order to prevent any peace agreement that would include territorial compromise. To subvert any such agreement it needs to populate the territories (it refers to the West Bank as Judea and Samaria) as quickly as possible. In short, it needs bodies, Jewish bodies. To meet this need, Settler Zionism has successfully cultivated important allian…

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The Religious Mourning of ‘Saint’ Kobe Bryant Continues

…cally in a helicopter crash on the 26th of January. This is, in fact, the official version of a spontaneous response that took place just days after Bryant’s untimely death, when thousands of fans gathered at the Staples Center to pay homage to the 18-time all-star. Flowers, photos, and candles were transported immediately by fans wearing Kobe’s jersey to create a memorialized space and share in the tragedy. Around the league, NBA games held momen…

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Mitt Romney’s Best-Known Mormon Critic Tells it All. One Last Time.

…hku, a Mormon feminist, global women’s rights activist, and professor at Suffolk University. It was Dushku who during Romney’s Senate run in 1994 broke the now infamous story of Romney’s pressuring a woman in his congregation not to have an abortion even though her life was in danger. That’s a brave stance to take in a community that prizes conformity and group loyalty.  But Judy Dushku is ready to stop serving as the media’s go-to on Romney’s iss…

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Are They Jewish Bones? Battle for Separation of Synagogue & State in Israel

…news outlets spoke out against Netanyahu’s decision. But the heads of the official Rabbinate (government-sanctioned and financed) would not speak out against the demands of Ultra-Orthodox co-religionists. And this reluctance to go against the rightward drift of Israel’s Orthodox Jews is in itself very troubling to Israel’s Hilonim (secular Jews), who comprise close to 40% of the Jewish population. Hilonim have long been protesting the official Rab…

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Turkish Police Move Against Activists Who Defied Pride Ban; And More in Global LGBT Recap

…ommonwealth Equality Network, “the first LGBTI-focused organization to be officially accredited by the Commonwealth.” Pink News reports that “at least 36 of the 53 Commonwealth member states criminalise homosexuality.” The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia released its annual summary of events that took place on May 17. The U.S. State Department’s DipNote blog took note of the 2017 Pride event hosted by the department’…

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Marriage Vote ‘Transforms’ Not-So-Catholic Ireland; Activist to Malaysian PM – ‘Love Is Not Terrorism’; LGBTs Find Growing Acceptance in Colombia, Not At World Meeting of Families; Global LGBT Recap

…included,” Power said. There has been a commendable acceleration of that effort since September 2011, when Barack Obama, in an address to the U.N. General Assembly, unsettled many in the audience by declaring: “We must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere.” Power, who was present for those remarks, said that she was near enough to Robert Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe, to hear him mutter: “My God.” There have also been enorm…

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Russia Expels Gay American Pastor, An Epidemic of Anti-LGBT Violence in Brazil, And More in the Global LGBT Recap

…or patently homophobic language and policy within the denomination. Since efforts to reach a compromise have repeatedly been thwarted by conservatives, progressives have resorted to civil disobedience and defiance. Islam and Homosexuality According to news reports, ISIS has publicly executed another Iraqi man charged with homosexuality by throwing him off a rooftop in Kirkuk; a crowd was waiting to throw stones at his body. At Huffington Post Cana…

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International ‘Pro-Family’ Summit Calls for New Anti-Gay Laws: Global LGBT Recap

…summit seemed to be going ahead generally as planned, though without the official WCF imprimatur. That’s exactly what happened this week, with WCF officials Don Feder and Larry Jacobs in attendance, along with Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage. Miranda Blue reports at Right Wing Watch that the event, whose them was celebrating the role of large families in the preservation of Christian civilization, ended with summit delegates…

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Israeli Forest Fire as Divine Punishment, Religious Leaders (From Both Sides) Agree

…unprecedented dry season.” Praying for Rain But before Jews take too much offense at Haniyeh’s remarks, they should reckon with ancients of their own. Orthodox rabbis in Israel have been praying for rain, too, even before the dry-as-tinder forest was engulfed in flames. (A couple of PR-savvy rabbis took a beauty queen with them as they rose up in a hot air balloon to say their prayers, perhaps thinking that entreaties offered closer to heaven are…

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