Sarah Rasher is, among other things, a freelance writer based in Chicago. She also writes for Graphic Policy and The Rainbow Hub, as well as her personal blog, Sarah Explains the Finer Sports. You can follow her on Twitter at @pas_dechat.
You’d probably expect the oldest Jewish congregation in America to be conservative, resistant to change, and (as a byproduct) intolerant. But Shearith Israel, which was founded in 1654 and was the only Jewish congregation in New York for almost 175 years afterward, portrays itself on its website as a welcoming community that “values tradition, kindness, and inclusivity.” Unfortunately, it seems two of those values were in short supply when the synagogue’s leaders found out that Alana Shultz (below), who had worked as the congregation’s program director for eleven years, had gotten pregnant prior to her wedding. According to a lawsuit that Shultz filed on September 22, she told her boss that she was pregnant right before she left for her honeymoon. Shultz alleges that when she returned from her trip, she learned that she’d been fired, and that her six-week severance package would not include medical coverage. Shultz says that Rabbi Meir Soloveichik refused to look at her once he found out. Read more
Usually, when Christians complain that the government is infringing on their religious liberty, they’re trying to do something awful like deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples or turn city council meetings into mandatory prayer sessions. But Wesley United Methodist Church’s dramatic, politically motivated display of religious fervor is different. In response to a lack of resources for the homeless in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Rev. Forrest Clark has turned the church’s courtyard into a campground for the homeless. Read more
The Jewish High Holy Days are all about reflecting on past sins, and someone at WGN News (Chicago) has a big one to atone for. In a segment about Yom Kippur, which began Tuesday night at sundown, the image of a yellow star over a striped field appeared over the newscaster’s shoulder. The intern who likely Googled “Jewish star” for a stock image must not have realized that Nazi imagery is probably an inappropriate choice for one of the holiest days on the Jewish calendar. Read more
Most of the time, we don’t think of Alabama as a state at the forefront of STEM education. Education Week gave Alabama’s public education system a D+ rating for 2015, ranking it 45th out of 50 states, and Alabama’s eighth graders were dead last in the country in math in 2013. Facing a poor history of student achievement and a pessimistic prognosis for improvement, Alabama surprised everyone by doing the logical thing. For the past three years, the Alabama State Board… Read more