It’s been nearly a year since we relaunched — a new site, new contributors, and a new mission. Since then, Jewschool’s community supported dozens of grassroots social justice efforts within American Jewry. Here’s the best of what we covered in a new era for this community.
The year in review
Nearly two dozen contributors rallied to support Syrian refugees and refugees of all kinds, such as David Levy’s defense of comparisons between Syrian refugees today and anti-Jewish nativism during World War II. We loudly supported #BlackLivesMatter, especially actions by rabbis and regular Jews in Baltimore. HaBakur outed and condemned rape culture in progressive circles. Our own Aryeh Bernstein wrote a suite of poems on the intersection of white flight and Jewish diaspora. Max Socol and Lex Rofes objected to the appearance of Israeli flags at Confederate flag rallies. Martin Abramowitz and Ann Toback opined on the Fight for $15 in Boston and in NYC respectively. On the environment, Leah Koenig interviewed the CEO of the Fair Food Network and Rabbi Malka Binah Klein organized Yom Kippur climate rally at the Lincoln Memorial. And Sarah Sundberg wrote a series on the linked trends of anti-semitism and Islamophobia in Europe.
Becca Tannen supported orthodox women rabbis — and Yosef Goldman critiqued those on the left who were being bad allies to them. On intermarriage, Scott Goldrink fisked Rabbi Kalmonofsky’s opposition to marrying Jewish and non-Jewish couples and Jacob W-M applauded the Reconstructionist’s move to accept them. David Wilensky covered the gay rights campaign that got JNF to cancel an award to homophobic pastor Charles Stanley and Lex Rofes called for a Jewish response to bans on blood donations from gay men.
In the annals of fighting the occupation and fostering Israeli-Palestinian peace: Truah launched its campaign to reveal JNF settlement funding, Prof. Shaul Magid argued that Jewish media must give context (not justification) for Palestinian violence, we interviewed the founders of the Center for Jewish Nonviolence, Rabbi Moti Rieber explored of what we can do to oppose the occupation, David Harris-Gershon defended empathy for Palestinians in Gaza, Billie Hirsch recommended actions to #SaveSusiyah, Aliza Becker launched an oral history of the Jewish peace movement and profiled a dozen such pioneers, and Rena Oppenheimer reported on the new activism of young American Jews in Israel through “All That’s Left.”
We also covered the seder of #IfNotNow held outside the Jewish federations building, and BZ held a contest on the results of Israel’s elections. We wrote over a dozen posts on Open Hillel’s campaigns, including their Civil Rights veterans tour and photos of their #OpenFederations rally outside the annual conference of the Jewish federations. And all year, BBR wrote a monthly series on how to raise Jewish children to be pro-peace, anti-occupation, spanning the issues of #BlackLivesMatter, the Gaza war, and privilege.
So what were the reader favorites from among these? Here are the posts with the highest traffic all year!
Our Top Ten Articles from 2015
- Dan Sieradski’s thoughts on the controversy between Matisyahu and a Spanish music festival over BDS.
- Eli Ungar’s interview with Rabbi Brant Rosen, on the launch of his new non-Zionist synagogue.
- Ben Murane’s review of the top ten new social justice haggadot for Passover.
- Lex Rofes’s confessional about Jewish prejudice against Messianic Jews — and what we can do.
- The announcement of 100PercentSchmucks, a tumblr naming and shaming all-male panels (“manels”) by Jewish organizations.
- Dan Sieradski’s illustrated guide to the UCLA Jewish student resolution against antisemitism.
- Leanne Gale’s exposition on what the Breaking the Silence report on the Gaza war says about American Jews.
- Dan Sieradski’s reporting of mainstream Jewry’s support for Netanyahu’s reelection, despite his shocking election-end comments.
- David AM Wilensky’s photojournalism of J Street U students marching by the hundreds on Hillel International’s headquarters.
- Jacob Ari Labendz’s new traditions for a vegan-friendly Passover seder plate.
On behalf of the editorial board, we thank you for following us this year, for joining us, and for submitting your own causes and campaigns to us.
If you support our efforts to grow, empower, and give voice to Jewish-led justice in 2016, then consider a tax-deductible gift to us.
Here’s more Jewish-led justice in 2016!