Category Archives: Social issues

Transgender tribe meets in Berkeley

by rebecca rosen lum, j. correspondent

In film, books, blogs and newspaper articles, transgender Jews have focused mainly on identity and inclusion — or barriers to it.

But at the upcoming Jewish Transgender Gathering in Berkeley, the focus is on spirituality.

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Filed under Jewish community, Social issues

Juvenile hall chaplain out to ‘rebuild the kid’

By Rebecca Rosen Lum
Contra Costa Times
It was Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1995, and the Rev. Charles Tinsley brought films on the civil rights movement to Juvenile Hall to show to the teens in lockup.

The sight of Birmingham police turning dogs and firehoses on peaceful demonstrators enraged a 15-year-old named Darrell Jobe. He lashed out at the white inmates in the audience, blasting them with profanities.

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Filed under Children and youth, Faith, Social issues

King’s work permeates campaign debate about race, faith

By Rebecca Rosen Lum
Forty years after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., another preacher has ignited a national discussion about race.

This time, the preacher is Sen. Barack Obama‘s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who recently retired from the 8,000-member Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.

Many whites heard Wright’s cries of “God damn America” — in a 2003 sermon — as combative and incendiary, but for African-Americans, the language sprang from the gospels and the sermon from a tradition of pulpit political oratory.

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Filed under Faith, Social issues

Sikhs say airport screening policy violates religious faith

By Rebecca Rosen Lum
Contra Costa Times

A new Homeland Security Department policy singles out Sikh men for rigorous airport security searches at the discretion of screeners, a national civil rights organization says.

The United Sikh Coalition has written to Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff to protest the policy, implemented Aug. 4, which it says amounts to racial profiling. Nearly 2,000 have signed petitions.

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Filed under Government, Social issues

Hitchens goes off the rails in debate over religious faith with Hedges

by Rebecca Rosen Lum
Contra Costa Times

The tipoff came moments before the debate between authors Christopher Hitchens and Chris Hedges got underway when the emcee asked the Berkeley audience to restrain from heckling.

She forgot to address that comment to Hitchens, who heckled both his opponent and audience members, and staggered off the stage before the event ended.

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Filed under Faith, Social issues

Interfaith group works to help incarcerated juveniles

By Rebecca Rosen Lum
Contra Costa Times

Feb. 28 — Most incarcerated youths have never committed a violent act, and many suffer from mental illnesses and learning disabilities, says an interfaith group calling for greater awareness of what its members are calling a crisis in juvenile justice.

Christian, Jewish and Muslim congregations drew attention to the problem as part of Juvenile Justice Sabbath over the weekend. Participants prayed, preached, distributed educational materials, hosted outside speakers, and reached out directly to incarcerated youths in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and New York.

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Filed under Children and youth, Incarceration, Mental health, Social issues

Transgender Yeshiva prof passing ‘Through the Door’

by rebecca rosen lum, j. correspondent

Joy Ladin says she did not fully understand the Psalms until she became a woman.

In rereading the Psalms, she found a wealth of metaphor for change that gave meaning and spiritual strength to her own transformation from a man to what she describes as her authentic self.

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Filed under Faith, Jewish community, Social issues