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SCJC Statement on Refugee and Muslim Ban

The Smith College Jewish Community (SCJC) stands in strong opposition to Donald Trump’s executive order banning Muslims and refugees from entering the country. This executive order, signed on Holocaust Remembrance Day, is a haunting reminder of our obligation as Jews to fight for the humanity of other marginalized groups and to open up our arms to all people seeking refuge.

The SCJC is committed to making our organization and our physical space of the Kosher Kitchen (on Paradise Road behind Jordan House) accessible, safe, and welcoming to all students, regardless of religion, nationality, ethnicity, or race. In the next few weeks we will be holding sessions in the Kosher Kitchen, open to everyone, where we will be contacting our representatives and strategizing tangible next steps. The first of such meetings will occur at 4-5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 2 and will continue every following Tuesday at the same time. Additionally, we will be brainstorming ways that we can be in active solidarity with Muslim students, faculty, and staff on campus.

And of course, every Friday night we celebrate Shabbat as a community. Everyone is always welcome to join us in a space dedicated to being inclusive. We invite any and all ideas for how to grow this resistance and strengthen our solidarity.  We will continue to respond to policies put forward by the Trump administration that exacerbate existing inequalities that violate our Jewish values.

— Smith College Jewish Community Board

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Camino Pilgrimage: Walking in Faith

This past summer, I set out on a pilgrimage across Spain with my friend Chelsea.  We walked along the El Camino de Santiago, in English “The Way of Saint James,” a total of nearly 500 miles. We walked over mountains, in the desert, along rivers, and through so many wonderful Spanish towns. The Camino de Santiago is casually referred to as “the Camino” or “the Way” and attracts pilgrims form all over the world. I noticed a considerable amount of Italians and Germans on the Camino. Continue reading

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Easter Sunday Services: Opportunities in the Community

 

Edwards Church

During Holy Week and Easter Sunday, students had the opportunity to attend local churches such as St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Edwards (United Church of Christ), St. John’s Episcopal Church and First Churches (United Church of Christ) to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The celebrations varied: Edwards and First Churches had a Service of Tenebrae which recreated the emotional aspects of the Passion story; St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish had traditions ranging from Stations of the Cross, a 14-step Catholic devotion commemorating Jesus’ last day as a man on Earth, to Blessing of the Food; St. John’s had The Meditation, an all-night prayer vigil and a Contemplative Service before their Easter service on Sunday. Continue reading

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MLK & Justice, Identity, and Social Change Initiative (Part 2)

After the opening remarks on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the American Friends Service Committee hosted two panel discussions on racial justice. I was proud to moderate the first panel of student fellows for the Justice, Identity, and Social Change Initiative of the CRSL described in the previous blog.Before asking the student panelists the questions, I made some opening remarks.

Organizers of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement and Michael Eric Dyson, author of I May Not Get Here With You, shed light on the ways in which MLK day holiday has been “domesticated” and “whitewashed” King himself—his deeply radical nature made more conventional in order to fit neatly into a society that has been mistakenly viewed as post-racial. BLM organizers call to reclaim MLK Day: Continue reading

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The Justice, Identity, and Social Change Initiative: Spiritual Life Meets Social Justice

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It feels like the World is burning. This is what Sensei Ryumon Baldoquin, Community Religious Adviser, said at our first “Peace Meal,” a gathering for dialogue and discussion of difficult problems. Certainly in the last few weeks, with the earthquake in Nepal and the rise in media coverage of racially motivated violence, it feels as if the world is burning.

The Center for Religious and Spiritual Life (CRSL) must be a force for quenching fires; because religious and spiritual life on a college campus is most relevant to the extent that it confronts global and social Issues head-on. The Justice, Identity, and Social Change Initiative are the center’s formulation of its strategy for bringing together the internal, contemplative life of the spirit; and addressing the urgent, immediate problems of injustice that plague our world.
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Interfaith Awareness Week: What Do We Serve?

Interfaith Awareness Week Flyer!

We are what we pay attention to. Sadly, most of the time we are not attending to the world or ourselves. Psychologists estimate we have sixty thousand to seventy thousand thoughts a day, 99 percent of which are more or less what we thought yesterday.

– Mary Piper, Ph.D., Seeking Peace: Chronicles of the Worst Buddhist in the World

I slept and dreamt that life was joy

I awoke and saw that life was service.

I acted and behold, service was joy.

– Rabindranath Tadore

We are in the midst of Interfaith Awareness Week at Smith College, sponsored by the Student Group, Spirituality in Action. Continue reading

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April 7, 2014 · 7:11 pm

SWANS: Beyond Atheism, Agnosticism, and Religion to Spiritual Intersectionality

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The first week in February was the United Nation’s “Interfaith Harmony Week”. While Smith will be commemorating this week later on in the semester, this is a good time to begin to talk about the what and why of “Interfaith Harmony.” Three Smith students, board members of the  Smith Spirituality In Action  Group have just returned from Atlanta where they attended the leadership institute of the Interfaith Youth Corps. The IFYC’s mission is to build religious pluralism, which they define as as respect for  peoples’ religious and non-religious identities which elicits mutually inspiring relationships and common action for the common good. Continue reading

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