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Archive for : Tradition & Culture

Share Your Favorite Social Justice Haggadah!

Passover is only a few days away, which means our minds are set on freedom. (And matzo balls, but I digress). As the holiday that tells the story of the Israelite’s exodus from slavery in ancient Egypt, talking about justice is a hugely important aspect the celebration.

Fittingly, there are a ton of haggadot (the text read during the seder) that highlight these themes and help us apply the notions of freedom and justice to modern day life. In past years, we’ve told you about some of our faves – like the Food and Justice Haggadah Supplement by the folks at Uri L’Tzedek and Jews United for Justice’s Labor Seder. But we know we’re missing some biggies.

That’s where you come in! Do you have a favorite haggadah, supplement, or Passover reading? One that means a lot to you and that illuminates themes of freedom, justice, or social change? If so, we want to hear about it!

This Passover, share you favorite social justice haggadah in the comments below or by tweeting us at @repairtheworld #HaggadahShare

Thanks and Happy Passover!

Mayim Bialik, Women’s History Month, and “Princess Culture”

Maybe you remember her as the star of Blossom, the early-90s sitcom that launched her career. Perhaps you watch her today playing Amy Farrah Fowler, the adorkable neurobiologist on The Big Bang Theory. You may even know her as a regular contributor to the Jewish parenting website, Kveller.

However you know Mayim Bialik, you undoubtedly think, like we do, that she is awesome. After all, how many other Hollywood celebrities find the time to be super engaged parents, education activists, and cookbook authors (check out the newly released a href=”http://www.amazon.com/Mayims-Vegan-Table-Great-Tasting-Healthy/dp/0738217042″>Mayim’s Vegan Table)?

So in honor of Women’s History Month, we’re turning to one of our favorite contemporary heroines for her thoughts on women in culture today – and particularly on the “princess culture,” which seems to permeate so much of society. Check out the first part of Mayim’s thoughts below, then head on over to Kveller for the rest!

On the Big Bang Theory Princess Scene & Why I Don’t Like Princess Culture
By: Mayim Bialik

Last night’s episode of The Big Bang Theory featured my character, Melissa Rauch’s character, and Kaley Cuoco’s character dressed up as different Disney princesses. I was Snow White (since I’m the brunette), Melissa was Cinderella, and Kaley was Sleeping Beauty.

This would be a good time to tell you that I never once for Halloween or Purim ever dressed as a princess. I don’t remember having any particular fondness for fairy tales or the color pink. I despised the color purple and much as I enjoyed jewelry and trying out my mom’s makeup and even wearing my favorite robe (which happened to be pink) around the house, there is not one picture of me dressed like any sort of princess, Disney or otherwise.

I did, however, really enjoy being “character” females for dress-up holidays; most notably, my mother loved to dress me as a “gypsy.” I am hoping this isn’t perceived as racist in this culture of political correctness, but basically, “gypsy” meant fun fabrics, brightly colored belts, lots of layers, a bandana, and a darkening of a mole near red lips. I loved Japanese kimonos as a child, and once I went to a costume party in a kimono and traditional wooden Japanese shoes.

Read the rest of Mayim’s thoughts here…

Join Reboot On March 7-8 For the National Day of Unplugging

From sundown to sundown, March 7th to 8th, thousands of people across the world from New York and Tel Aviv, to Warsaw and Australia, will turn off their cellphones, log out of Twitter, shut down their Kindles and take a 24-hour break from technology. Sounds kinda familiar, right? That’s because the ancient Jewish tradition of observing Shabbat (the Sabbath) is the inspiration behind Reboot’s fourth annual National Day of Unplugging.

Based around 10 universal principles called the Sabbath Manifesto – things like “get outside,” “find silence,” and “give back” – The National Day of Unplugging encourages people to temporarily disconnect from their hectic, fast-paced lives and reconnect to the world and people around them. Some folks will join in because they are traditionally observant Jews who “unplug” every week. Some will join because they think it’s eco-friendly to give their electronics a little break. And some will join in simply because they want the opportunity to relax and spend time with family and friends. So why do YOU unplug?
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Spotlight On: Hazon’s (Jewish) Bike Rides

January is Healthy Living Month here at Repair the World. Stop by all month long for interviews with our favorite health-focused organizations, inspiring stories, and tips to change your life while changing the world.

Are you a huge bike fan? The kind of person who walks around with a semi-permanent case of helmet hair and feels most comfortable experiencing the world on two-wheels? If so, let us introduce Hazon – a Jewish environmental organization that works to build a healthier and more sustainable Jewish community.

Hazon believes that Jewish tradition has lots of wisdom to share about how people interact with the planet and treat their bodies. They live out these values, and help others do the same, with a variety of great programs, but it all started with bike rides. Since 2001, more than 2,000 have joined Hazon on a bike ride in New York, California, Israel, or elsewhere. The riders raise money for important environmental causes, get invigorated through exercise, learn inspiring Jewish texts, and have a fantastic time along the way.
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Seasons of Giving: Where to Volunteer This Christmas?

It may not be a Jewish holiday, but Christmas still has Jewish traditions. Like watching movies. And eating at Chinese restaurants. And volunteering! All around the country, thousands of Jews take advantage of the day off, and volunteer at soup kitchens, shelters, nursing homes, and community centers.

This year, join in the holiday action! Here are a few great ways to plug in and volunteer this Christmas.

Washington DC JCC Join 1,000 other volunteers for a day of service on Christmas Day. Activities include everything from wrapping and delivering gifts, to serving meals, to performing songs for hospital patients.

Jewish Muslim Day of Service, St. Louis In this uniquely awesome event on Christmas Day, Jews and Muslims come together on Christmas to serve others. They are also running a huge toiletry drive to serve people in need.

Pittsburgh Christmas Mitzvah Day The Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh is organizing a huge mitzvah day on Christmas. There will be opportunities to care for the sick, volunteer at an animal shelter, feed hungry people – and more.

Jewish Volunteer Connection, Baltimore Join hundreds of volunteers in making the holiday brighter for others by participating in this mitzvah day. Opportunities include making and delivering care packages, welcoming home troops serving abroad, volunteering at a local shelter.

JUF Mitzvah Mania, Chicago On Dec 25, visit elderly residents at the CJE SeniorLife Lieberman Center for Health and Rehabilitation as part of JUF’s mitzvah mania event.

Tikun: Light up a Life, London If you live in London and want to make a difference during the Christmas season, check out Tikun’s great, multi-day program. Activities include everything from bringing chocolates to seniors, arts and crafts projects with the disabled, and tea runs for the homeless.

Know of another great volunteer opportunity for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? Let us know in the comments or by tweeting @repairtheworld.