Shana Tova!

Dear Friends,

Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Jewish Day of Atonement) will take place this year September 29 – October 1 and October 8 – 9, respectively. Together, these are known as the High Holy Days and are often regarded as the most important of all Jewish holidays.

Employees observing these holidays may require time off to attend services and celebrate with family and friends. Holidays like these are amazing opportunities to learn about traditions with which we may not be familiar! Learn more about both holidays and a few other seasonal holidays in Tanenbaum’s Jewish Fall Holidays fact sheet. Shana tova and a sweet new year to all!

In friendship,

Mark Fowler
Deputy CEO, Tanenbaum

 


Photo: Robert Couse-Baker

An Opportunity to Learn: Eid al-Adha


Dear Friends,

This year, the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha will be observed in the U.S. between sundown on August 10th and sundown on August 11th. The date may be different in other countries as the sighting of the new moon will determine the start of the holiday. Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) celebrates the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim to sacrifice his son when ordered to do so by God.

As Eid al-Adha is of great significance within Islam, employees may request time off and businesses within Muslim-majority countries may be closed. For more information about the holiday, including background information and appropriate greetings, please read and share Tanenbaum’s fact sheet on Eid al-Adha.

In peace,

Mark Fowler
Deputy CEO, Tanenbaum

Spring is Busy! Here’s How to be Prepared

Dear Friends, 

Holidays arise throughout the year and spring is filled with them! From March through early June, many around the world this year will be observing Vaisakhi, PassoverEaster, and Ramadan.

You can learn about each of these holidays, their impact on the workplace, and more by visiting Tanenbaum’s Workplace Resources page for fact sheets and additional resources.

In friendship,

Mark Fowler
Deputy CEO, Tanenbaum
 

Image: Jarni Poupata

International Day of Tolerance – How you can get involved!

Friends,

As you may know, Tanenbaum’s goal is to build a world marked by respect. Tolerance, for us, is not the end goal, but rather just a step along the continuum towards peace. Yet today, we are celebrating the International Day of Tolerance. Why? Because it is actually designed to promote more than tolerance — it envisions establishing respect, understanding, and dignity for diverse peoples everywhere.

The Day got its start when the UN declared 1995 the Year of Tolerance and instituted the annual commemoration. I believe it’s important because it serves as a reminder of the UN and member states’ responsibilities to intentionally seek to establish tolerance at every level of society.

Today reminds each of us of our responsibility. Because, sadly, there’s still work to do. But we have some ideas and resources for you …

  • For Families at Thanksgiving: The Golden Rule is common to all our different beliefs. Tanenbaum’s Shared Visions on the Golden Rule proves that point. And it’s a great resource if you celebrate Thanksgiving. Pass it around the table, and let each person read a reflection from a different tradition.
  • For Teachers: Tanenbaum and Teaching Tolerance produced a free, five-part webinar series on religious diversity in school that’s ready-made for teachers. The Religious Diversity in the Classroom Webinar Series and accompanying resources examine how awareness of religious diversity affects student-readiness for global citizenship, and how teaching about religion across grade levels and subject areas can help meet important academic standards. 
  • For Workplaces: December is a time of year when holidays bring religious diversity issues to the surface in workplaces. The December Dilemma tip sheet provides proactive strategies for creating an inclusive workplace environment year-round.

The International Day of Tolerance needs to matter. Please join us in doing your part,

Joyce S. Dubensky
CEO, Tanenbaum

 

A Fall Festival of Lights

Dear Friends,

Did you know that Diwali, known as the Festival of Lights, will take place on November 7th? Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists around the world celebrate this New Year festival for a variety of different reasons.
 
Diwali is an official holiday in a number of countries in South Asia and across the globe, so your offices in those locations may be closed or have shorter work days. Check out our Diwali Fact Sheet to learn more about the festival and potential implication for your workplace.
 
In friendship,
 
Deputy CEO,
Mark Fowler
 

Photos L to R: Khorkarahman, Wikimedia Commons; Srijan Kundu, Flickr; Mitacmaitra, Pixabay

The New Task Force on Religious Liberty—What’s Going On?

Dear Friends,

Behind many of the headlines, there is a forceful debate on what the 1st Amendment means in 2018, and how to practice religious freedom in a country that is increasingly diverse—religiously and non-religiously.

On Monday, Attorney General Sessions announced the creation of the Religious Liberty Task Force. His speech touches on our history and some of our historic values, reflects what moves him, and talks to the actions the administration is taking (and has taken) with respect to religious liberty.

His speech is informative. But for us, it also raises questions. (See the full speech delivered by Attorney General Sessions here). As you’ll see, his words raise foundational questions for all of us…

  • How do you put religious freedom into practice in a country where there are a variety of different beliefs?
  • What is the proper role of government—when the Constitution says it cannot establish religion?

Check out our reflections on the Attorney General’s remarks and some more questions to consider, by clicking here.

And please, tell us what you think. Make no mistake. Religious liberty—and what it looks like—is one of the key issues facing us today.

With respect and concern,

Joyce S. Dubensky
CEO, Tanenbaum


AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Sharia: Just the Facts

Dear Friends,
Do you know…
What Sharia is really all about? How it’s practiced? What it means in the U.S.?
Questions about Sharia are everywhere—in homes and schools, state legislatures and even our courts. These questions need fact-based answers. It’s the only way to move past our cultural assumptions and stereotypes.
That’s why Tanenbaum’s Combating Extremism campaign created a fact sheet addressing common questions about Sharia! Explore its similarities to Judaism’s Halakah, and Catholicism’s canon law. See how Sharia is one more piece of America’s beautiful religious diversity!
Join us to stop hate and Combat Extremism. Let’s get talking!
With an open heart—and open ears,
Joyce S. Dubensky
CEO, Tanenbaum ​​​​​​​
P.S. Whether you convene a formal conversation, engage in an off-the-cuff discussion with family, friends, or colleagues, or simply review and/or pass along Tanenbaum’s Combating Extremism resources on social media or in person, we encourage you to send an email tocombatingextremism@tanenbaum.org and let us know. And of course, please include stories including any on how your ideas or behavior (or anyone else’s) shifted.
P.P.S. When you support Tanenbaum, you help us in the battle for a world where people across beliefs live side by side, free from extremism, persecution and hate.

Image credit Ilmgate

Eid Mubarak!

Dear Friends,

The Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha will be celebrated between August 20th and August 21st this year! Eid-al-Adha, also known as the Feast of the Sacrifice, is an important holiday and those observing may wish to take the day off from work to celebrate with family and friends and attend to religious practices like attending mosque.

To learn more about Eid al-Adha and its potential impact on the workplace, read our Eid al-Adha Fact Sheet!

In friendship,

Mark Fowler
Deputy CEO, Tanenbaum


Image credit: Seika via Flickr

Limited time opportunity! Free copies of Religions in My Neighborhood

Religions in My Neighborhood Makes it Easier to Teach About Religion
Tanenbaum’s curriculum, framed by Wiggins and McTighe’s Understanding by Design, makes teachers’ jobs easier. Teachers can use Religions in My Neighborhood as a stand-alone curriculum or as a supplement.

SPECIAL TIME-LIMITED OFFER!
For the first time ever, we are giving away copies of Religions in My Neighborhood for free ($34.95 value)!

Email education@tanenbaum.org for your free copy today!

 

The Affordable Care Act and Religion: Impact & Support

As Congress debates if and how to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, many people have spoken out on how losing health coverage would affect various disenfranchised communities. Often missing from the conversation has been the relationship between the ACA and religion—and yet many religious communities either benefit directly from the ACA, and would be affected by losing health insurance, or have spoken out in support of the ACA based on their religious beliefs.

The ACA has been beneficial to pastors and other church employees who struggled to find health care coverage prior to the ACA. Christianity Today profiled how small churches often function similarly to small businesses, and face similar struggles around providing affordable health care to their employees. Many churches simply do not include health insurance as part of their compensation package, and small church pastors and other employees have therefore come to rely on insurance through the ACA. Many expressed concern over what they would do if the ACA were repealed.

Similarly, Sojourners has collected and published testimonials from Americans around the country about their experiences with the ACA, and many of the people expressing appreciation for the ACA were religious leaders and their families. These testimonials included ones by a Presbyterian minister who could not find insurance when he returned to the U.S. after nine years of overseas missionary work; the wife of a preacher whose church did not provide insurance coverage for their daughter’s pre-existing condition; and a pastor’s wife who no longer has to choose between buying groceries and going to the doctor. All of these individuals were positively impacted by being able to obtain insurance through the ACA.

There are also religious communities who support the ACA not only because it benefits themselves or their congregations, but because of their religious mission to care for people in need. The ACA has helped the poor, racial and ethnic minorities, and legal non-citizens have greater access to health care than ever before. As a result, representatives from a wide array of religious traditions have spoken out in support of the ACA as a means of continuing to provide insurance to the poor.

A surprising source of support for the ACA has come from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), who last month sent a letter to Congress urging them not to repeal the ACA without having a replacement plan. They wrote that “a repeal of key provisions of the Affordable Care Act ought not be undertaken without the concurrent passage of a replacement plan that ensures access to adequate health care for the millions of people who now rely upon it for their wellbeing.” In the past the USCCB has been opposed to the ACA largely because it covers abortion and other reproductive health services and included a mandate requiring insurance to cover contraception. In spite of these earlier objections, the USCCB and other Catholic institutions recognized the importance of continuing to provide health insurance to Americans, particularly those without the resources to get this insurance through other channels.

As the debate over the ACA continues, it is important to remember that repealing the ACA without having a plan to replace it can have serious consequences both for religious communities themselves, and for the values around protecting those in need that are at the foundation of many religions’ missions.