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Five Years and Counting: So Much More Kindness To Do

It has been five years and counting since we launched the Center for Loving Kindness and Civic Engagement (CFLK) at the JCC of Greater Pittsburgh. While our work was accelerated in the immediate aftermath of the 2017 Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, VA, we had started planning for the Center for Loving Kindness during 2016 as we became acutely aware of the changing nature …

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Center for Loving Kindness – Standing in Solidarity on Juneteenth

As our neighbors celebrate Juneteenth, we stand in solidarity as we work to redefine “neighbor” from a geographic term to a moral concept.  We invite you to virtually attend this event in Atlanta on June 17 and revisit our north star framing of how we work for civil rights for all. View the virtual event here.  Throughout the 125 year history of the Jewish Community Center of Greater …

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Father’s Day Pledge

While the punch line has changed over the years, the joke (and the underlying societal impression) is unfortunately still the same. While we were growing up, when we were asked what we would be getting Dad for Father’s Day, we always answered, “A tie.” Inevitably, that tie was either store bought with intentions of either meeting, stretching, or countering Dad’s fashion sense; or homemade out …

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Ready, Set, Vote!

    Even though our democracy is only 246 years old, we can look back in Jewish values from 2,000 years ago to guide our understanding of what so many of us understand as the ‘sacred right’ (or is it ‘sacred rite’; or both) to vote. Hillel, an early architect of rabbinic thinking who lived in the first century before the turn of the era commented "Al tifros …

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Loving Kindness and Civic Engagement – Faith and Politics – Our Fifth Calendar Year

December 2021 “I believe that our faith could influence our civic engagement.” I am hoping that for some of us, the above statement raises at least one eyebrow.  After all, we know each other well enough to understand how precious I hold the rights explicated in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights that prevent Congress from making “…no law respecting an establishment of religion, or …

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Beyond Potlucks and Panels: Interfaith Dialogue for a Digital Era

  February 1, 2021 One by one the Zoom boxes appear on the screen. A retired Jewish radiologist in suburban Pittsburgh. A self-described “Jew-Bu” in Brooklyn, combining the Judaism of her upbringing with a Buddhist meditation practice. A college professor who has practiced the Baha’i faith since her teens. A lapsed Catholic exploring phenomenological philosophy on the side. Joining us from their own living rooms, tonight this …

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Thanking Our Front Line Helpers

Who’s on the front line? Thanking our JCC front line workers. 7-7-21 - Many Thanks, Amy!   Our JCC experienced a beautiful surprise this week, courtesy of Amy Magoun. Amy, a research coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh, is a regular volunteer with “Scent with Love,” an organization that retrieves fresh flowers from weddings and events or that remained unsold, and donates them to Pittsburgh places in need. “I …

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The Ground Beneath Us Is Very Hard

“The ground beneath us is very hard.”  That was our big learning as we began our gardening work today at East End Cooperative Ministries (EECM) in East Liberty. The ground beneath us is very hard because of the dry heat we have been experiencing for too many days to count. The ground beneath us is very hard because of the harsh realities of racism and privilege that …

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“You are a part of me I do not yet know.”

I recently learned this moral and spiritual truth by reading it in See No Stranger, by Valarie Kaur, a civil rights activist and spiritual leader at the forefront of progressive change. I continue to learn this truth along my journey of meeting others who are a part of me I do not yet know. PART 1 – A Pastor, Imam and Rabbi: For the past 6 months, I …

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Neighbor is a moral concept.

The death of George Floyd and the protests across America that followed have been a sobering reminder of how deep our society’s wounds really are.  As I reflect on this tragedy, I am reminded just why we created the Center for Loving Kindness three years ago and the enduring Jewish values universally applicable to love your neighbor as yourself.   We do this in a non-partisan …

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