Bar Mitzvahs Could Use a Makeover

In yesterday’s New York Times, Laurie Goodstein had an interesting article about how bar/bat mitzvahs were getting a “new look” of sorts because — can you believe it?! — a lot of young Jews would just go through the motions without really caring much about the teachings of the faith:

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The 30-Day Jail Sentence Wasn’t This Judge’s First Bad Decision

You may have heard the story of a Montana judge who sentenced a teacher to only 30 days in jail for having sex with a 14-year-old student who later committed suicide. (The judge has since ordered a retrial.)

Well, reader Zack pointed out to me something that has gone unnoticed by the media.

Judge G. Todd Baugh wears a power bracelet:

So this guy has a history of poor judgment[Read more...]

What’s It Like To Be a Woman in an Ultra-Orthodox Hasidic Environment? It’s Not a Pretty Picture

Two days ago, I wrote about Israel’s education authorities censoring science textbooks — specifically, removing information about female sexual organs and human reproduction.

A friend then sent me a link to a mindbending 2012 interview with Deborah Feldman, who grew up in the Satmar sect among Brooklyn’s Hasidic Jews. She was forced into marriage at 17, but, encouraged by college friends, mustered the courage to leave that deeply misogynist culture some three years ago. Feldman wrote a riveting book about her experiences: Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots.

In this post, I’ll simply do some prodigious quoting from the interview — or you can read the complete exchange between Feldman and interviewer Sara Stewart for yourself, here.

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Pro-LGBT Christians Launch ‘Not All Like That’ Campaign

If you’ve ever assumed that all Christians harbor animosity toward LGBT people, this organization has a message for you.

Inspired by Dan Savage‘s youth-oriented It Gets Better Project, a group of Christians have launched The Not All Like That (NALT) Christians Project, a campaign where “Christians proclaim their belief in full equality.” Savage himself helped develop the campaign, along with pastor and writer John Shore and Truth Wins Out leaders Wayne Besen and Evan Hurst.

Here’s their mission statement, in their own words:

The purpose of the NALT Christians Project is to give LGBT-affirming Christians a means of proclaiming to the world — and especially to young gay people — their belief and conviction that there is nothing anti-biblical or at all inherently sinful about being gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.

Like It Gets Better, the campaign will use a video-sharing platform to spread a simple message: Not all Christians are anti-gay. The campaign launched Monday with around 30 videos, mostly from allies. Here’s one example from fellow blogger Fred Clark:

[youtube]http://youtu.be/bcHCqS74tSk[/youtube]

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David Barton: We Removed Mandatory Bible Readings from Our Schools… and That’s Why Our Education System is an Embarrassment

Pseudo-historian David Barton knows so little about history that his book on Thomas Jefferson was taken off the shelves for containing too many lies.

He apparently also knows so little about math that he thinks correlation must imply causation.

In a recent video, he spoke about how a “God-fearing approach to education” is what we all need, adding that the removal of mandatory Bible readings from public schools led to the education crisis we’re in now:

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