As another Jewish journalist covering the URJ biennial, I had a slightly different experience than Gabe Kahn (Garden State of Mind, “Stranger in a friendly land,” Dec. 21). I spent Shabbat with my family, so avoided any boxed-meal embarrassment. And across the plenary presentations, there were cheers at many points, such as when opening speaker Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II reminded us of Isaiah’s admonition not to “legislate against the poor” or when Senator Elizabeth Warren recalled our obligations to the strangers in our midst. Overall, the loudest and most sustained and unanimous cheers were unrelated to any critique of Israel but were reserved for criticism of home-grown policies that favor the white wealthy at the expense of the poor, the dark-skinned, and the foreign-born.
I, too, reveled in the warmth and openness of people I didn’t know, even though I do live in the area. And I was impressed by the social justice and economic activism of this stream of Judaism that goes beyond simple stated positions.
Keep up the good work.