Announcing the 2017 Rosemary Radford Ruether Conference by Grace Yia-Hei Kao

On October 7, 2017, five distinguished panelists will speak at a one-day event: the Rosemary Radford Ruether Conference for Justice and Peace. Co-sponsored by the Friends of Sabeel—North America (FOSNA), Claremont Area FOSNA, Claremont School of Theology, and the Women’s Studies in Religion program at Claremont Graduate University, the conference will be held at Pilgrim Place (Decker Hall)–the retirement community for folks serving in religious or charitable organizations where Dr. Ruether currently resides.

Continue reading “Announcing the 2017 Rosemary Radford Ruether Conference by Grace Yia-Hei Kao”

(((Israel))) by Ivy Helman

me hugging treeThe BBC just ran a story about white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups targeting Jews by signaling each other to their presence on various social media sites through the use of (((this symbol))).  Of course, this is all based on the assumption that a “typically” Jewish last name signifies the bearer is also Jewish.  Through a Google app (since removed) that could recognize patterns such as ((())), these Jewish people began to receive anti-Semitic comments.  There has been a general outcry of disgust among Jews and other minority groups as to the problematic targeting of Jews in this fashion.

The same cannot be said about the BDS movement and people’s willingness to call it out for what it is.  This to me is hypocritical!  According to its website, the BDS movement, or Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, seeks to end what it understands to be the colonialism, apartheid and oppression of Palestinians in Israel through various financial, commercial and international means.  It accuses Israel of human rights violations, genocide, ethnic cleansing and other war crimes as well as illegal occupation (of the Palestinian lands, not just the occupied territories). Continue reading “(((Israel))) by Ivy Helman”

Mazel Tov Tzidkaniyot of the Wall by Ivy Helman

20151004_161012I have never understood the logic behind sexism. Why is half (or so) of the human race better than the other half? Of course, patriarchy and patriarchal religious traditions offer various seemingly logical reasons, sometimes even divine explanations for the inequality between the sexes. Still, the –isms of patriarchy, whatever their “reasons” or perhaps better excuses, puzzle me.

Even more puzzling are the steps patriarchy-orientated men and women take to preserve these distorted systems. Violence usually goes hand-in-hand attempting to control others in order to preserve the status quo. Obviously if you need to resort to violence to keep people in their place, there is something horribly wrong with society. That being said – one could say that almost no society, nation or culture in our modern times doesn’t have some form of patriarchal violence within it. One would be correct to attribute some measure of the increase of violence to globalization, capitalism, fear, past colonialism and/or neocolonialism. Nonetheless one is hard pressed to find a culture without sexism, without patriarchy and without the need to keep the system in place through violence. Continue reading “Mazel Tov Tzidkaniyot of the Wall by Ivy Helman”

The Israel-Palestine Conflict and Ecofeminist Insights for Lasting Peace By Ivy Helman

ivyOn Thursday, November 29, 2012, the United Nations officially recognized the Palestinian Authority as a sovereign state and granted its petition for observer status within the international decision-making body.  Sixty-five years before the United Nations had approved a two-state solution for the region, UN Resolution 181, that officially ended the British occupation of the territory and sanctioned the possibility of two states.  It says:

“The resolution recommends that the United Kingdom (as mandatory power for Palestine) evacuate; armed forces should withdraw no later than August 1, 1948; independent Arab and Jewish States and the Special International Regime for the City of Jerusalem administered by the United Nations should come into existence;  the City of Jerusalem should preserve the interests of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faiths.united nations

While the Palestinian Arab population disagreed with that solution, when British forces left on August 1, 1948, Israel declared statehood.  The United States recognized its statehood the same day.  Russia was soon to follow suit.

Continue reading “The Israel-Palestine Conflict and Ecofeminist Insights for Lasting Peace By Ivy Helman”


I attended a service at Congregation Shalom in Chelmsford, MA two Fridays ago.  During the service, Rabbi Shoshana Perry spent a few minutes addressing the last word of a Hebrew prayer found in the Reform siddur, Mishkan T’filah.  It was translated in the siddur as “God rested” but the Hebrew word used was vayinafash, which comes from the word nefesh, or soul.  The prayer emphasizes on the seventh day that God did not rest as much as God took time out to re-soul.  Rabbi Perry believes that our Shabbat should be spent doing things that help us also re-soul.

Initially, I spent quite a long time considering why God would need to re-soul and what exactly God would do to re-soul.  When I realized the futility of trying to sort that out, I moved a little closer to home: what do I do on Shabbat to re-soul?  I was quite overwhelmed trying to answer this question as well.

Traditionally, Shabbat is about study, rest, prayer and family among other things.  In fact, many Jews avoid creative processes like writing, cooking, painting, driving and working because God rested from creative work on the seventh day.  (Incidentally, our creativity is also how we are considered to be made in the image of God).  Part of the reason this idea struck me so deeply is because I often find painting, cooking and writing rejuvenating. Continue reading “RE-SOULING ON SHABBAT BY IVY HELMAN”

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