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		                                    Thinking Torah Blog		                                </span>

05/05/2022 05:00:00 PM

May5

Rabbi Josh Whinston

In quick order on Tuesday evening, we were able to organize a “teach-in” on reproductive rights in Judaism. Nearly 80 of us gathered in person and on zoom to learn together from Rabbis Nadav Caine, Daniel Alter, and me. We also were able to learn with Rabba Yael Keller, a new member of the Ann Arbor Orthodox community. Reverend Anne Clarke spoke from the Episcopal tradition and Cantor Hayut and Aly Halpert brought meaningful reflective music to our evening. 

I started the evening with a brief look at Exodus 21:22, in which the Torah describes two men fighting who accidentally cause a pregnant woman to miscarry after knocking into her. The miscarriage is not understood as murder and the person who injured the woman is subject to a fine. This verse of Torah becomes the basis in Judaism for abortion being permitted. Rabbinic literature goes on to elaborate when a pregnancy may be ended and there is debate around this issue even today. However, what is not debated is the fundamental idea that abortion is not murder and that abortion is permissible. As Jews, we all need to know this. We need to be able to say in a full voice, “our religious tradition makes abortion available to people who need them.” We must not abdicate religious language to the most conservative voices in our country. 

We will need to do so much to ensure our religious freedom in this country in the coming years. We must organize, we must vote, and we must encourage others to vote. Many of us also have the need to gather and protest an injustice we see coming from the highest court in the land. 

The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is organizing a rally in Washington DC on the morning of Tuesday, May 17th. Ten TBE members are already committed to going, and we would love if more could join us. We are flying in to DC and will coordinate a meeting point before the rally. Rabbi Levy will also be joining us. If you are interested in coming, please add your name to this signup genius. More information will be forthcoming. If you need financial assistance to attend, please reach out to me directly and I can help you get there.

Mon, August 15 2022 18 Av 5782