Events

Events

UPCOMING: Fighting for Religious Freedom: How to Speak to and Actually be HEARD by Your Legislators

Want to talk to your state legislators and make an impact, but don’t know where to start? Brace yourself for a whirlwind of empowerment! In this condensed and dynamic webinar, founder of Secular Strategies and Director of Strategy for JFASD, Sarah Levin, will unleash a burst of expertise on effective communication and engagement with elected state legislators. Register here to join us on March 14 at 7 pm ET. Get ready to absorb game-changing insights...
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Christian Nationalism and the 2024 Elections

In this thought-provoking and insightful one-hour webinar, Dr. Bradley Onishi, co-host of the Straight White American Jesus podcast and author of the acclaimed book “Preparing for War: The Extremist History of White Christian Nationalism – And What Comes Next,” brings a wealth of knowledge, subject expertise and personal experience to the discussion. In this timely webinar, Dr. Onishi will explore the historical roots and contemporary manifestations of White Christian Nationalism, shedding light on its impact...
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Jewish Legislators Defending Religious Freedom

On Tuesday, December 19, we were joined by State Senator Dafna Michaelson-Jenet and State Representative Daniel Grossberg to discuss their experiences serving as Jewish legislators in Colorado and Kentucky, respectively. Paul Golin of JFASD interviewed them about their work combatting white Christian Nationalism and fighting for separation of church and state through a Jewish lens.  

Religion & State: America & Its Jews

Rabbi Denker weaves together ancient Jewish texts and US historical documents to tell the story of the separation of religion and government from a Judaic perspective. Rabbi Steve Denker retired after over 40 years of service to Reform congregations in the Chicago and Cleveland areas and served Temple Kol Ami, West Bloomfield as Interim Rabbi in 2022-23. He taught at several universities including Loyola and DePaul. Rabbi Denker teaches adult learning with an emphasis on...
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Jewish Women and Religious Freedom: Knowing & Fighting for Our Rights!

We were honored to host a transformative day of empowerment and enlightenment at the “Jewish Women and Religious Freedom: Knowing & Fighting for Our Rights!” conference, on December 3, 2023, at the Temple Beth Emet in Cooper City, Florida. This in-person gathering brought together passionate advocates, thought leaders, and inspiring voices to explore the intersection of religious freedom, personal power and public policy. Our esteemed lineup of speakers included retired Supreme Court Justice Barbara Pariente,...
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Trampling Our Rights: Jewish Women and Religious Freedom in Florida

On Tuesday, October 17th, our esteemed panel of speakers—Florida State Senator Lauren Book, Dr. Cori Baill, and Rabbi Rachael Jackson, along with our moderator, Vice Mayor Broward County and former State Senator Nan Rich— delved deep into critical issues at the intersection of religious freedom and public policy, including reproductive rights and LGBTQ+ rights. Step into the heart of Florida’s religious freedom battleground.

Repro Revolution Through The Ballot: How You Can Help No Matter Where You Live

What happens when We The People get to decide, democratically, whether abortion should be legal? Voting to keep abortion legal is happening in several states in the coming months. In this webinar, three panelists from three battleground states with upcoming ballot initiatives shared updates and helped us understand how to make a difference no matter where we live. Speakers were Dr. Laura Beene, Executive Director, Ohio Physicians for Reproductive Rights; Cathy Nichols, Executive Director, Arizona...
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Reclaiming Real Religious Freedom: The 1st Amendment’s Significance for Jewish Women

We believe “religious freedom” as defined by the U.S. Constitution means the right for all to live free from discrimination based on religious belief or identity. Unfortunately, the term has been dangerously flipped on its head by those using it to strip freedoms from other people. Women and LGBTQ+ folks are being disproportionately targeted and, as a minority religion, Jews have a unique voice in defending the separation of religion and government. Please join us...
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Religious Privilege and the Freedom to Oppress: A Conversation with Author Kate Cohen

Kate Cohen is a Washington Post contributing columnist and author of “We of Little Faith: Why I Stopped Pretending to Believe (And Maybe You Should Too),” forthcoming from Godine. She joined Paul Golin, executive director of the Society for Humanistic Judaism and lead staff of its pluralistic social justice initiative, Jews for a Secular Democracy, to discuss her journey “from pretending Jew to admitting atheist” and how it relates to her understanding of religious privilege...
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Celebrating Harvey Milk’s Legacy and Continuing the Advocacy for LGBTQ+ Rights

With Stuart Milk of the Harvey Milk Foundation, Jaimie Krass of Keshet, and Paul Golin of Society for Humanistic Judaism/Jews for a Secular Democracy Harvey Milk was the first openly gay elected official in the history of California when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Tragically, Milk was assassinated along with mayor of San Francisco George Moscone on November 27, 1978. A close friend remembered him as “very much a cultural...
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Religion-Government Separation in Michigan Today with State Senators Moss and Bayer

Hosted by the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism of Metro Detroit, Jews for a Secular Democracy facilitated a lively conversation with State Senator Rosemary Bayer and President Pro Tempore of the Michigan Senate Jeremy Moss, moderated by JFASD Michigan Director Nomi Joyrich and introduced by Society for Humanistic Judaism Executive Director Paul Golin. It was a wide-ranging conversation covering white Christian Nationalism, abortion access, LGBTQ rights, and many other timely church-state separation issues. Many thanks to...
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Book Banning and Our Freedom to Read: Censorship in Our Libraries and Schools

Book banning and censorship in the United States has a sordid and persistent history. Often based on white Christian Nationalistic values, books dealing with slavery, gender identity, sexuality, disabilities, the Holocaust, mental illness, racism, and non-Christian religions including Judaism are continually challenged and banned from our libraries and schools. And unfortunately, this type of censorship is on the rise. According to the American Library Association, individual book challenges increased markedly in the last few years,...
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The Rabbi Suing Florida Over Religious Freedom

In June 2022, Rabbi Barry Silver filed a lawsuit seeking to block Florida’s 15-week abortion ban. The lawsuit asks the court to declare the new law unconstitutional under the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) as well as the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The suit argues that the 15-week abortion ban represents just one religious group’s views and not those of other faiths and/or secular beliefs. Rabbi Silver is a public interest attorney...
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Are Jews Still Protected By Religious Freedom?

Presented by Jews for a Secular Democracy staff and volunteers, we discussed the historic and moral imperatives for our work. We also provided an update on what JFASD has accomplished this year and addressed ongoing issues related to the separation of government and religion as we seek to galvanize the Jewish community to combat the rising threat of white Christian nationalism.

History of Christian Nationalism Christian Nationalism Ascendant—A Rabbi Offers a Deep Dive On Its History and Our Concerns

Rabbi Jeffrey Falick of the Congregation for Humanistic Judaism of Metro Detroit (https://www.chj-detroit.org/) delivers a deeply researched and damning history of a movement that seeks religious theocracy in America, and is succeeding in many terrifying ways. Beyond the general concern for all religious minorities and non-religious people, he also explains how anti-Semitism is very much at the root of the movement, despite cynical uses of the phrase “Judeo-Christian.” If you’re just beginning to hear and...
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Freedom From Religion in the Classroom

Christian Nationalists are seeking to put their understanding of God “back into the classroom” and the Supreme Court may help them. How real is the threat and what can we do about it? A distinguished panel discussed the issues related to education and religious freedom. With Cheryl Blau of Farmington MI Board of Education, Richard Katskee of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and Daniel Mach of the American Civil Liberties Union. Moderated...
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Messaging for Change: Op-Ed Writing and Social Media

How can we best articulate our support for important issues such as church-state separation — and amplify it to more people utilizing opinion/editorial writing and social media platforms? Learn from Carol Robidoux, a multimedia journalist experienced in web content management; Rosemarie Rung, who had a 25+ year career in corporate communications as a public affairs leader for companies such as United Way and YMCA; and Rick Gold, Florida Jews for a Secular Democracy Coordinator with...
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Ending Child Marriage in America

Child marriage is still legal in all but six U.S. states! Fraidy Reiss, the Founder and Executive Director of Unchained At Last (https://UnchainedAtLast.org) shares her remarkable personal journey out of forced marriage as a teenager growing up in the ultra-Orthodox community, and discusses the important legislative successes her organization has had so far in fighting this human-rights abuse. Interviewed on behalf of Jews for a Secular Democracy by Paul Golin, Executive Director of the Society...
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NY State Church-State Separation Issues: Hospital Transparency and Secular Education

Volunteers for the New York State cohort of Jews for a Secular Democracy welcomed guests representing two organizations: Allie Bohm, Policy Counsel at the New York Civil Liberties Union (https://www.nyclu.org/), who spoke about a bill requiring hospitals to make patients aware of what procedures may be denied to them based on the hospital’s religious views; and David Golovner, Advocacy Director at YAFFED (https://yaffed.org/), who discussed access to secular education currently being denied students in dozens...
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