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 (, 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 (, who discussed access to secular education currently being denied students in dozens...
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Multi-Denominational Rabbis Panel on Church-State Separation

Moderated by Nomi Joyrich, Michigan Coordinator of the Jews for a Secular Democracy initiative, this in-person and online event discussed what the Jewish tradition tells us on key issues including reproductive rights and public funds to private religious schools. The panelists were Rabbi Brent Gutmann (Reform) of Temple Kol Ami, Rabbi Asher Lopatin (Modern Orthodox) of Kehillat Etz Chayim and AJC of Detroit, and Rabbi Blair Nosanwisch (Conservative) of Adat Shalom Synagogue. The event was...
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We Heart Equality: In Collaboration with Keshet, the Jewish LGBTQ Equality Organization

In this partnership between Keshet, the Jewish LGBTQ equality organization, and Jews for a Secular Democracy, an initiative of the Society for Humanistic Judaism, we learn why taking action for LGBTQ rights is a Jewish value, and how LGBTQ equality is a church-state separation issue. Sarah Levin and Paul Golin present on behalf of Jews for a Secular Democracy together with Jon Cohen, Keshet’s Director of Community Mobilization, and Shannon Saul, Keshet’s Community Mobilization Manager....
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Rep. Jamie Raskin Accepts the Jews for a Secular Democracy Constitutional Defender Award

On December 5, 2021 in Silver Spring, MD, nearly 100 masked-and-vaxxed attendees of the “Hanukkah: A Celebration of Freedom” event — co-sponsored by Machar: The Washington Congregation for Secular Humanistic Judaism and the Society for Humanistic Judaism — gave a rousing show of appreciation for Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) as he was awarded the Constitutional Defender Award of Humanistic Judaism’s Jews for a Secular Democracy social justice initiative. He spoke eloquently of the meaning and...
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Abortion and the Supreme Court with Monica Miller of American Humanist Association

Recorded on November 9, 2021, Monica Miller, Legal Director and Senior Counsel at the American Humanist Association, discussed the recent Texas abortion ban, which outlaws all abortions after 6 weeks and allows citizens to sue individuals who aid or abet an abortion, and why the Supreme Court let it stand for now. Having argued in front of the Supreme Court herself, she answered questions and addressed concerns for the future of reproductive rights, and what...
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Christian Nationalism On The Rise: Jewish Role in Protecting Separation of Church and State

Hosted by Temple Israel in Central Florida (, with an introduction and contributions from the synagogue’s Rabbi Joshua Neely, this interfaith panel discussion addressed questions including: What is Christian nationalism? How does it impact our national and local politics, and the Jewish community specifically? This session unpacks all of these big questions from various perspectives and presents attendees with how their congregation can advocate for the separation of religion and government. Panelists: Rabbi Merrill Shapiro,...
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The 2020 Pew Survey of American Jews: Beliefs, Politics, and How They Relate

During this joint presentation from the Society for Humanistic Judaism ( and its pluralistic social justice initiative, Jews for a Secular Democracy (, Paul Golin discusses some of the key findings about rising secularity among American Jews and how it impacts their political decisions, and the relationship between secularity/liberal religion with liberal political views. One issue discussed is how the questions in the survey are particularistic to an organized Jewish communal worldview, rather than reflecting...
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Fighting for Church-State Separation in the Military with Mikey Weinstein of MRFF

Michael L. “Mikey” Weinstein, founder and executive director of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), discusses the organization’s work protecting the constitutional right to religious freedom for all members of the United States Armed Forces. A 1977 Honor Graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Mikey was named one of the 50 most influential Jews in America by the Forward Jewish newspaper and was honored by Jews for Racial and Economic Justice with the...
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Understanding Fulton v. Philadelphia with Nick Little of Center for Inquiry

The Supreme Court will soon issue a decision in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, a case which will have major implications for the separation of church and state. The question at hand? Whether the City of Philadelphia can stop funding a private, faith-based foster care agency that won’t adopt out to same-sex couples, in violation of the City’s nondiscrimination regulations. Another case working its way to the Court is Maddonna v. Dept. of Health and...
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First Amendment State of the States: 2020 Report with Alison Gill

Alison Gill, Vice President of Legal and Policy at American Atheists, walks us through the new report on state-level religious freedom challenges and the concerns for all Americans who support separation of church and state, including those in the Jewish community. In conversation with Jews for a Secular Democracy’s Sarah Levin, with Q&A from webinar attendees.

Protecting Reproductive Rights: What is the Jewish Communal Role?

Learn how close the religious right is from overturning women’s hard-won freedoms and how we can advocate, as Jews, for bodily autonomy. A conversation and Q&A with representatives from two outstanding organizations on the frontline of this battle: Shannon Russell serves as the National Council of Jewish Women’s (NCJW) Legislative Counsel, leading federal advocacy efforts surrounding the priority issue of reproductive health, rights, and justice. Scott Ruskay-Kidd serves as Senior Staff Attorney for Judicial Strategy...
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The Legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and What Her Loss Means in This Moment

What did Ruth Bader Ginsburg mean for America in general and for American Jews in particular? And what does her loss mean for us today, moving forward, against the backdrop of a rising Christian nationalism? Come meet two remarkable authors to discuss RBG’s legacy and learn how her Jewish identity influenced her sense of justice, why she championed the related causes of gender equality and separation of church and state, and what we might be...
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Jewish and Religiously Unaffiliated Voters

Juhem Navarro-Rivera, a political scientist, research consultant, and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Humanist Studies provides a fascinating, data-driven presentation that explains how Jewish and religiously-unaffiliated voters have cast their ballots historically and where they are leaning for the upcoming elections.

America’s Contribution to Jewish Identity, Humanism and Liberalism with Kenneth Wald

Presented by the Gainesville Humanistic Judaism Community and co-sponsored by the Society for Humanistic Judaism’s social justice initiative Jews for a Secular Democracy, Kenneth D. Wald, winner of the 2019 National Jewish Book Award, addresses what is special about American culture and governance that facilitated the development of Humanistic Judaism, enabled the political liberalism of American Jews, and preserved multiple forms of Jewish identity.

Immigrants and Refugees: Fighting for Rights from a Jewish Perspective

Eddie Chavez Calderon, Campaign Manager for Arizona Jews for Justice, shares his work and life experience in explaining the unique role the Jewish community can play in standing up for the rights of immigrants and refugees in the face of increasing hostility. Learn how can we make a difference! With Lincoln Dow and Paul Golin of Jews for a Secular Democracy. Recorded live via webinar. AZ Jews for Justice – Uri L’ Tzedek: Orthodox...
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Getting Out and Protecting The Vote with Ali Lozano

Ali Lozano, Voting Rights Outreach Coordinator for the Texas Civil Rights Project, provides a fascinating and detailed overview about defending our right to vote, countering voter suppression efforts, and mobilizing disenfranchised voters to participate in our democracy. Learn about the latest threats to voting rights in Texas and throughout the U.S. and how we can defend our electoral process. Together with Jews for a Secular Democracy’s Lincoln Dow and Paul Golin.

Successfully Engaging in Interfaith Spaces with Tahil Sharma

How can we engage with likeminded people of all religions and none, to bring about the positive changes we want to see in the world? Tahil Sharma is an interfaith activist based in Los Angeles who was born to a Hindu father and a Sikh mother who works as the North American Coordinator for the United Religions Initiative, the world’s largest, grassroots interfaith network.

Communicating Your Jewish and American Values

How to Craft Persuasive Messages About Keeping Religion Out of Government. Seasoned media-relations strategist Michael Shulansky joins Sarah Levin of Jews for a Secular Democracy for a conversation and training on best-practices to bring our values to messaging about the issues we care about. Tactics like writing letters to the editor and op-eds, running educational campaigns on social media, building relationships with and getting covered in state and local press, and staying “on-message” as we...
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How to Make Change: Advocacy 101 with Morgan Carroll

Morgan Carroll, Chair of the Colorado Democratic Party, former state lawmaker, and author of “Take Back Your Government: A Citizen’s Guide to Making Your Government Work for You,” provides an understanding of how government works, how to influence lawmakers and their staff, how to build coalitions with allied organizations, and how to plan an effective advocacy campaign. Sarah Levin provides an overview of the Jews for a Secular Democracy initiative and volunteer program.