Separation of Church and State: Vital in 1787, Critical Now

The U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantees that the government will not establish an official church and that freedom of religion is available to all citizens.

America today is grappling with many issues — women’s rights, abortion, education, LGBTQ rights, access to health care — which have religious implications.

A growing number of Christian Nationalists, including many elected officials, want to make this a Christian nation, regardless of the diversity of religious beliefs and non-belief among its citizens. The wall separating church and state is being battered.

Learn what is at stake and why it matters during a community presentation and discussion led by Marcia Avner and Jeff Pipes, members of Or Emet, the Minnesota Congregation for Humanistic Judaism.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at the Hennepin County Library, 830 Winnetka Ave. N. in Golden Valley.

Avner and Pipes will tackle questions relating to the proper role of religion in our democracy and will describe some of the current concerns being raised.

Avner is a politically active St. Paulite who has served as deputy mayor of the city and in various public and nonprofit roles. She has been a policy specialist for the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits and a press secretary for Sen. Paul Wellstone.

Pipes is a retired lawyer and winery owner who is currently vice president of Or Emet. He also is the Minnesota director of Jews for a Secular Democracy.

For more information about Or Emet, email info@oremet.org or visit oremet.org.

Or Emet program to feature speaker from Center for Victims of Torture

On Saturday, Feb. 24, from 10-11:30 a.m., Or Emet will host a Shabbat service and program in solidarity with the HIAS Refugee Shabbat initiative. The events will take place at the Minnesota JCC Sabes Center Minneapolis, 4330 S. Cedar Lake Road, Minneapolis. 

The service will be led by Eva Cohen, Or Emet’s ritual leader and a Humanistic rabbi in training. 

Casa Alitas

Casa Alitas

After the service, Dana Mach, strategic partnerships officer for the Center for Victims of Torture (CVT), will speak about her work with Proyecto Mariposa (Project Butterfly) in Tucson, Arizona. The organization works in close partnership with Casa Alitas, a welcome center that provides temporary shelter for people who are making their way to resettlement locations. 

CVT supports individuals and families who are seeking asylum in the U.S. after fleeing torture and persecution in their home countries. Mach helps to build and maintain partnerships with funders, government agencies and programmatic partners. 

A Minnesota native, Mach holds a master’s degree in public policy from the Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. She enjoys traveling in her work with CVT to programs around the world.

Those who cannot attend the program in person may join over Zoom. Please register in advance here

Or Emet is a secular congregation celebrating and honoring Jewish culture, history and values from a humanistic, inclusive perspective. For more information, email info@oremet.org or visit oremet.org.

Reflections on Rabbi Sherwin Wine

On Sunday, Feb. 11, Or Emet president Allan Malkis will present a program on Rabbi Sherwin Wine, the founder of Humanistic Judaism. 

Malkis will show a video interview with Wine and lead a discussion about what Humanistic Judaism means to the Or Emet community.

The program will run from 10 a.m.-noon at the Talmud Torah of St. Paul, 768 Hamline Ave. South in St. Paul. A social time will follow.

Those who cannot attend in person may join over Zoom. Please register in advance here.

The Sunday adult programs are free and open to the public and meet concurrently with the Jewish Cultural Sunday School.

Or Emet is a secular congregation celebrating and honoring Jewish culture, history and values from a humanistic, inclusive perspective.

For information about Or Emet’s Jewish Cultural Sunday School, contact JCSS director Molly Phipps at school-1@oremet.org

For information about Or Emet, email info@oremet.org or visit oremet.org.

Navigating antisemitism, Islamophobia and fear of the unknown

Rabbi Lynn Liberman

Rabbi Lynn Liberman

On Sunday, Jan. 21, Or Emet will host a program led by Rabbi Lynn Liberman, a board-certified chaplain and community chaplain for Jewish Family Service of St. Paul, and Angela Cowan, a licensed clinical social worker and program manager for the counseling team at Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Minneapolis.

The program will run from 10 a.m.-noon at the Talmud Torah of St. Paul, 768 Hamline Ave. South in St. Paul. A social time will follow.

Liberman and Cowan will lead an opportunity for attendees to process and think about these challenging times as we live through the Israel-Gaza War, rising antisemitism and Islamophobia, and the fear and anxiety of the unknown in 2024.

Angela Cowan

Angela Cowan

Those who cannot attend in person may join over Zoom. Please register in advance here.

The Sunday adult programs are free and open to the public and meet concurrently with the Jewish Cultural Sunday School.

Or Emet is a secular congregation celebrating and honoring Jewish culture, history and values from a humanistic, inclusive perspective.

For information about Or Emet’s Jewish Cultural Sunday School, contact JCSS director Molly Phipps at school-1@oremet.org

For information about Or Emet, email info@oremet.org or visit oremet.org.