Sasso: Don’t cut funding for the arts (Indy Star, March 22, 2017)
The White House’s proposed budget for 2018 would eliminate funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. This exclusion will make barely a dent in federal spending. The NEH and NEA receive only .001 percent of a nearly $4 trillion budget. Compare the estimated cost of $38 billion required for a border wall between Mexico and the United States with the $148 million that supports the arts and humanities. The administration is making a statement about what it is we value as a nation.
There are those who believe by eliminating these agencies, they are “targeting waste.” They suggest that the arts are not really necessary; they do not rise to the level of national security that requires increased government resources. But the defense of democracy requires precisely what the arts and humanities give us. Studies have shown that exposure to the arts and humanities improves social and emotional development, increases empathy and generosity, encourages civic engagement and expands cognitive development. These skills are not a waste, but essential to the fabric of our nation.[…]
A force for change: Zionsville-founded advocacy group looks to expand around state (The Lebanon Reporter, March 22, 2017)
Like many, Jennifer Nelson Williams and Sandy Sasso were concerned about the state of their country after the 2016 election.
Like many, they took to social media to create an online-based group of women who shared their concerns.
Unlike many, the group ballooned to nearly 11,000 members, pulling in supporters from around the state who have attended rallies and workshops and volunteered to run task forces.
“We’ve touched the lives of 11,000 women,” Sasso, a retired Indianapolis rabbi and author, said. “That’s pretty incredible. To be able to create that kind of sisterhood is extraordinary. I think we are slowly but surely making a difference. We certainly are a voice in the room.”[…]
Sassos: Immigrants commit fewer crimes than native-born Americans (Indy Star, March 7, 2017)
Some have suggested that President Donald Trump’s recent speech before Congress offered a more conciliatory and collaborative tone than previous pronouncements. But tone does not override content. Particularly egregious was Trump’s call to the Department of Homeland Security to establish VOICE, Victims of Immigration, Crime Engagement, a program that would focus on crimes committed by illegal immigrants. During the speech, Trump recognized four people whose loved ones had been killed by immigrants. Certainly, our sympathies go out to all who have lost loved ones. But Trump’s message was ideologically tainted by the claim that violent crime in America is the result of an irresponsible immigration policy. This initiative is eerily reminiscent of 1940s Germany, where “immigrants” (Jews) were singled out and listed as criminals.[…]
Scenes of creation (Greenfield Daily Reporter, February 17, 2017)
GREENFIELD — Arms outstretched, she falls.
The woman depicted in artist Cagney King’s work “Fall from Grace” is a light spot on the canvas.
“She’s falling because there’s that unknown,” King said. “She’s that figure that represents all of us as lights in the world.”
King created the work at her studio in the Creative Arts and Event Center in downtown Greenfield, with texts of the creation narrative as a starting point.[…]
Women4Change Indiana creates an activist sisterhood that fights for all (Nuvo, February 15, 2017)
So, what happens when a rabbi and a funeral director get together to talk about the state of the world? You get women championing for change.
It’s not the set-up or the punch line of a joke, nor was it meant to be.
It’s the truth of how Women4Change Indiana began.[…]
SASSO: ‘We stand with immigrants’ (Indy Star, February 7, 2017)
On Jan. 29, more than 1,000 people came together at the Indianapolis International Airport to express opposition to the president’s ill-conceived and prejudiced Executive Order barring immigration to the United States from seven Muslim-majority nations. We were privileged to be among the speakers at that gathering. Following are our remarks, first Dennis’ and next, Sandy’s[…]
Read Rabbi Sandy Sasso’s “We Are Not Going Back” Speech From the Indianapolis Women’s Rally (Indianapolis Monthly, January 27, 2017)
Indy’s esteemed Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso was one of several speakers at a women’s rally that drew an estimated 7,500 people to the Indiana Statehouse on Saturday. Her speech was simple yet potent, recalling basic rights minorities lacked as recently as 1960. Some women in the crowd nodded along, remembering when those limitations existed. The crowd joined Sasso in punctuating each statement with a refrain of “we are not going back.” The oration ended with a teaspoon metaphor that illustrated the power of many small contributions.[…]
SASSO: An open letter to the incoming vice president (Indianapolis Business Journal, December 17, 2016)
Dear Vice President-elect Pence:
Congratulations on your election to the vice presidency of the United States of America. As rabbis in the city of Indianapolis, we have had the honor of knowing and collaborating with you frequently over the past decade. We have valued your graciousness and your friendly manner.
It will not surprise you that we have often viewed with concern several of your policies and comments as governor, which, despite their calm and civil tone, have sometimes yielded discrimination and disenfranchisement. As you assume the vice presidency of our country and take the national stage, allow us to add to our congratulations the following pleas. […]
Sasso: A vision for the third Hoosier century (Indianapolis Star, December 14, 2016)
We stand on the brink of a new century for Indiana. This past year as we have celebrated the state’s bicennential we have remembered stories that have made us proud and others that were a source of shame. Examining the truth about our past without cliché or nostalgia affords us the wisdom to move forward into the next century.
We remember; not to live in the past but with it. Memories teach us. They are mirrors into our own souls, windows into the hearts of others and gateways through which to ignite the future. […]
Sasso: Leonard Cohen, and standing against darkness (Indianapolis Star, November 23, 2016)
Weeks before his death, he released an album, “You Want It Darker.” Most interpreters of Cohen have understood the lyrics of the album’s lead song to be an acceptance of mortality. Using the Hebrew word meaning, “here I am” he sings, “Hineni, hineni, I’m ready, my lord.”
However, I would like to suggest a different understanding, one that calls on all of Cohen’s admirers and listeners not to accept the darkness we confront in our nation. […]
Sasso: UN overlooks strength of real women (Indianapolis Star, November 1, 2016)
Recently the United Nations in its effort to advance women’s issues, appointed an honorary ambassador for the empowerment of women and girls around the globe.
Ironically, it wasn’t one of the seven qualified female candidates who were overlooked in the election of the new UN secretary general. It wasn’t Oby Ezekweskili, vice president for the World Bank’s African Division, who started the “Bring Back Our Girls” campaign to return the Chibok schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram. It wasn’t Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International, who has championed gender equality and chaired UN task forces on gender. It wasn’t Malala Yousafzai, the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her continued work on girls’ educational opportunities; Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban for promoting girls’ education. It wasn’t any of a number of women from around the world who have led advocacy and grass-roots efforts to promote women’s welfare. […]
Rabbis Dennis and Sandy Sasso honored as “Hoosier Jewish Legends” (Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, October 23, 2016)
Rabbi Dennis C. Sasso and Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso were among the first cohort of Indiana Jewish leaders to be recognized by the Indiana Jewish Historical Society as “Hoosier Jewish Legends.” The recognition was presented at the Annual Meeting of the IJHS on Sunday, October 23, 2016 at the Broadmoor Country Club.
Rabbis Dennis and Sandy Sasso came to Indianapolis in 1977 and have made their mark not only upon Congregation Beth-El Zedeck but in the civic and interfaith communities of our state, as well as nationally and internationally. […]
Sandy Sasso and Dennis Sasso: Finding strength in this election season (Indianapolis Star, October 6, 2016)
Earlier this week we welcomed the Jewish New Year, 5777. In Hebrew the letters of the alphabet have numerical value. The two letters that denote this year (77) spell the Hebrew word oz, which means “strength.”
The word also calls to mind the 1939 film based on the story of the “Wizard of Oz.” That play and ephemeral place have been celebrated in the beautiful lullaby “Somewhere over the Rainbow,” the most popular American song of the 20th century. […]
Sasso: Why does fashion industry hold regular women in disdain? (Indianapolis Star, September 28, 2016)
Along with the onset of football season, harvesting, and raking, is the arrival of fashion week and store catalogues. I mostly recycle those magazines without opening them and pay little attention to the newest runway fashion shows.
But the national and international news has been so depressing that I thought the new season’s fashions might provide relief. What I saw was disheartening. While models are no longer anorexic and a few are plus size, they simply do not look like most American women. Truth be told, I am not sure most America women actually care to look like the models in the catalogues and on runways. […]
Sasso: Compassion pushes back against hatred (Indianapolis Star, August 8, 2016)
It is easy to lose our faith in humanity. Just open up the morning newspaper or check the latest updates of world events. Every act of violence, racially motivated or “religiously” inspired, has us questioning whether the human heart is suffering from some incurable moral sclerosis. Have conflicts, ethnic, religious and racial divisions so hardened our arteries that nothing can reduce their deleterious effects?
We all know anger and hatred. But what allows resentment to turn into uncontrollable rage, directed not at a single person or group, but against a whole range of unknown people? What allows disgust to balloon into indiscriminate violence? […]
Sasso: Our history informs our future (Indianapolis Star, July 3, 2016)
On July 4, we light grills and fireworks, wave flags and gather with friends and family. This holiday, celebrating our nation’s deeply cherished freedoms, offers the perfect opportunity to reflect on two Hoosiers who fought for liberty in the 19th century, when freedom’s reach embraced some, but not all. […]
Candidates’ words, tone matter (Indianapolis Star, June 22, 2016)
We are preparing to celebrate 240 years since our nation’s birth at the same time we are about to elect the 45th president of the United States. Throughout our history, we have known the pain and violence caused by racial, religious and gender stereotyping and discrimination.
Despite the difficulty in eradicating deeply held prejudices, there was a moment when the rules of civil discourse began to limit hate speech. We valued politeness, recognizing that certain beliefs were unacceptable in public discourse. […]
Anne Frank’s tree: Two Holocaust picture books (Jewish Journal, April 27, 2016)
Prolific children’s book author and rabbi, Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, tackles the same subject of Anne Frank’s horse chestnut tree, but her tree is anthropomorphized in a different way. In this story, the tree speaks as first person narrator and has much more to say. Sasso’s tale is often informative, offering vocabulary words such as “Nazis” (“The Nazis hated anyone who was not like them, especially the Jewish people.”) or “secret annex”. […]
Religious literacy important in democratic society (Indianapolis Star, April 18, 2016)
I decided to listen to my friend’s advice and purchase matzah for Passover at a large food store. After 15 minutes of trying to find the boxes of matzah myself, I asked a salesperson. She looked puzzled, “Matzah? What’s that?”
I attempted to explain unsuccessfully. How do you describe bread without yeast? I tried another attendant. “Matzah? Is that a cracker? Check the cookie aisle.”
The person who kindly offered to look it up on the store computer, asked, “How do you spell that? […]
Can Jeremiah’s Missive of Love Survive in the Age of Emojis? (Forward, April 3, 2016)
I have been trying to learn the acronyms for texting to speed up my communication, but something seems to be missing. A contemporary love message might read: ILU; Thinking of you; I get TIME; Sending HAK; YLM? (Translation: I love you; Thinking of you, I get tears in my eyes; Sending hugs and kisses. You love me?)
Will ILU last as long as Jeremiah’s “I have loved you with eternal love”? Can texts match the grace of elegant handwriting? Can an emoji smiley face with heart-shaped eyes become a substitute for love’s deepest wisdom? Might it be time to revive an old Jewish custom of requiring couples to write letters to each other before the wedding? […]
Sassos: Presidential candidates would fail kindergarten (Indianapolis Star, March 11, 2016)
We had thought of encouraging our grandchildren to listen to the presidential debates. We wanted them to learn about what it means to be a citizen in a democracy. Even if they were too young to understand all the issues, they could witness a civic conversation. It didn’t take us long to change our minds. The very things our grandchildren were being taught in kindergarten and elementary school, were being brutally contradicted on the television screen. […]
16 Children’s Books For ‘Spiritual But Not Religious’ Families (Huffington Post, April 4, 2016)
“This classic … uses questions and drawings to invite children to encounter God during moments and activities in their own lives. One kid thinks of a sunbeam as God’s paintbrush and wonders what color to paint the world today. Two children at the beach imagine that the rain is God’s tears and the giant waves with white foam on the top make God laugh. The author asks, ‘What do you think would make God cry or laugh?’ … The interactive approach of this wonder-inducing book encourages adults to join in the quest to discover God in the everyday.” […]
Feminism is not a dirty word (Indianapolis Star, February 24, 2016)
There has been much discussion about women’s voting during this primary season. On the Democratic side, more women older than 50 favor Hillary Clinton, and large numbers of younger women prefer Bernie Sanders. Older feminists chastise the younger generation for abandoning a woman presidential candidate, and the younger generation suggests the old feminist battles have been won and that a candidate’s gender makes no difference. This polarization is unfortunate. While women need not be united in their choice of candidate, there are issues that should bring them together. […]
New challenges for Americans in the New Year (Indianapolis Star, December 31, 2015)
We face serious issues: the economy, immigration and the threat of terrorism. But history should teach us that blaming and targeting an entire group of people is never the answer. It is born of both ignorance and hate. Some political candidates relish such incendiary and vulgar language. Embarrassingly, the more they repeat these odious remarks, the more their ratings go up. In 2016, we must be vigilant to protect the heart of what it means to be an American. […]
Sasso: Don’t give into fear of refugees (Indianapolis Star, November 26, 2015)
The refugees are not terrorists; they are fleeing terrorism. I visited a refugee center in Berlin just before Thanksgiving. I saw them: the families, women and children escaping oppression. They are in classes learning German. The children have painted a wall mural with the names of all the countries from which they have come. They love their countries, but they cannot live there. In the middle of the mural are words of thanks to Germany. The director of the center tells me of a 13-year-old boy who arrived alone. When she asked him where his belongings were, he told her that he was wearing them. I asked how the refugees came to Germany. She said, “They walked.” […]
Sasso: Guns and mental illness (UNEDITED VERSION) (Indianapolis Star, October 2, 2015)
The Indianapolis Star has chosen to publish a significantly edited version of my October article. Please find the uncut version here.
…There is a great deal of posturing about the reasons behind this rampant violence. Often it is hard to separate fact from political opinion. Here are some facts:
Nearly a third of all mass shootings in the world take place in the United States.
The United States has the highest firearm homicide rate among developed countries. […]
Meet the four American women rabbis who changed the Jewish world (Cincinnati.com, October 1, 2015)
To honor Rabbi Jonas’s memory and heroic legacy, the American Jewish Archives (AJA) has invited the first women rabbis from four spiritual movements in American Judaism to come together and share their own pioneering stories and respond to questions about their respective rabbinates. This will be the first time all four women will gather in the State of Ohio. […]
Sassos: World must respond to refugee crisis (Indianapolis Star, September 22, 2015)
…Between President Bashar al-Assad’s government and the Islamic State’s infiltration, Syrians have been subjected to murder, torture, sexual slavery and other abuses. Four million people, one-fifth of Syria’s population, have fled since 2011. Across the world, to date, more than 19 million people have been forced to flee repression in their countries. It is estimated that the refugee count increases by 42,500 every day.
It is evident that this is not a matter of faceless statistics, but a very present humanitarian crisis. […]
Sasso: Planned Parenthood provides vital services to women (Indianapolis Star, August 7, 2015)
What if we could invent an organization that would provide cancer screening, birth control and annual health exams for poor women? What if that organization could test for and treat sexually transmitted diseases and urinary tract infections, provide counseling for ending smoking and obesity and screen people for high blood pressure, anemia and diabetes? What if that organization were to have the ability to impact the lives of 11.4 million people in the United States, to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and abortions and make for healthier adults, especially among women? Wouldn’t it make sense to ensure that funds are available for such a group? […]
Sasso: Court took giant leap for humanity (Indianapolis Star, July 2, 2015)
In 1954, Brown v. The Board of Education led to racial integration in public school. In 1962, Abington School District v. Schempp ensured religious freedom by eliminating the obligatory recitation of prayer and Bible reading in public schools. In 1967, Loving v. Virginia legalized interracial marriage in our nation. In 1973, Roe v. Wade extended the rights of reproductive freedom for women.
Each of these landmark decisions has granted freedoms and protections in the realms of religion, gender and race. All this, in one lifetime. And yet each of these achievements has been a partial victory that has been challenged in subsequent years. Laws have been changed, yet the hearts and minds of many in society have not. […]
A Tree Grows in Indy (Sky Blue Window, April 20, 2015)
The universally resounding story of Anne Frank and her family has been told in virtually every genre over seven decades, but never with such a narrator as this:
“I did not like the sound of black boots marching on the cobblestone sidewalks, the sirens, or the shouting in the streets. Why wouldn’t people who liked different kinds of trees and flowers also like many different kinds of people? It made no sense to me. But I was just a tree.” […]
Sasso: Reject ‘religious freedom’ legislation (Indianapolis Star, March 22, 2015)
Some say that the RFRA is needed to protect people who strictly interpret the Bible because those individuals don’t want to bend their religious beliefs. By the same token, however, other people of faith who also take the Bible seriously, hold strongly to religious principles that teach that discrimination is wrong, that each person is created in the divine image and that God is big enough to include us all. Our faith requires us to love our neighbors regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation. Love is not an abstract feeling; it is practiced in acts of justice. […]
Proud to be a GO student! (by Hannah, Women’s Fund of Central Indiana, February 17, 2015)
Earlier this month, all of us GO: Give Back high school students gathered at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis for a meeting about the event we are planning at the Power of Children: Making a Difference gallery. After catching up on everyone’s very busy lives we settled in to discuss the focus of our event, Rabbi Sandy Sasso’s new children’s book Anne Frank and the Remembering Tree. […]
Sassos: France loses if Jews leave (Indianapolis Star, January 16, 2015)
The stunning march of a million French citizens led by dozens of world leaders was evocative of the civil rights marches led by Martin Luther King in the Untied States decades ago. Had the Civil Rights movement been unsuccessful, it would have meant a defeat not only for blacks, but also for American democracy, for the principles enshrined in the Bill of Rights. If the recent impressive response to terrorism in France is not successful, it will spell defeat of the democratic ideals of the French Republic, of liberty, equality and fraternity.
Tragically, the murderous assault on Charlie Hebdo and the kosher grocery in Paris were brutal attacks on basic human rights, freedom of speech and religion. For French Jews this was the most recent incident of anti-Semitic violence on places of Jewish gathering, from day schools to synagogues. […]
Sandy Sasso: Experiencing religion through story (Faith and Leadership, December 1, 2014)
Stories express religious experience in a way that is more immediate than ritual, liturgy or theology, Rabbi Sandy Sasso says.
That doesn’t mean stories — even stories for children — are superficial or simplistic. Indeed, she said, writing children’s books about faith requires deep study and reflection.
“I think children struggle with the large questions of life, and we don’t often give them credit for that,” she said. “We assume that they’re not capable of engaging in conversations that we assume are more philosophical and abstract. I don’t think that’s the case.” […]
Interview: Rabbi Sandy Sasso (by Michal Hoschander Malen, Jewish Book Council, November 13, 2014)
JBW’s Michal Hoschander Malen interviewed Rabbi Sandy Sasso about the many children’s books she has authored and about where she finds the inspirations for her stories.
Michal Hoschander Malen: Rabbi Sasso, your lovely books, although geared to young children, are filled with spiritual connections and a sense of reaching beyond our daily lives. Can you tell us a bit about your overall philosophies and how you are able to transmit some of that feeling to a new generation? […]
Everyone, young, old, should vote (Indianapolis Star, November 5, 2014)
A number of conservative news commentators have suggested that young women should not participate in the civic process or vote this November. In a conversation about the elections, Kimberly Guilfoyle of Fox News, who’s a lawyer, said, “It’s the same reason why young women on juries is not a good idea. They just don’t get it. They’re not in that same life experience of paying the bills, doing the mortgage, kids, community, crime, education, health care … they’re just running around without a care in the world,” adding that she would try to strike young women from juries “so they can go back on Tinder or or match.com.”
Tucker Carlson went so far as to say that Republicans should not encourage young women to vote because “it’s wrong to target people whose favorite show is “Say Yes to the Dress.” They are ignorant and only interested in fashion. Kevin Williamson of the National Review Online said that women are too dumb to vote. […]
Trailblazing rabbi finally gets her due (Indianapolis Star, October 6, 2014)
Oct. 14 will mark the 70th anniversary of the death of Regina Jonas. You have probably never heard of her. But the story of this extraordinary trailblazing and courageous woman deserves to be known.
Regina Jonas was the first female ordained as a rabbi, in Berlin in 1935. Not until 1972 in the United States was another woman, Rabbi Sally Preisand, ordained by the Reform movement at Hebrew Union College. I followed soon after, the first to be ordained from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1974. Yet, it really wasn’t until the 1990s that much was known about the life and teachings of Regina Jonas. […]
Inspired Children’s Books that Even Parents Will Enjoy (by Sue Tomchin, Jewish Woman Magazine, Fall 2014)
In the New Year, make time to enjoy a gorgeous new picture book with a child you love.
In the 1980s, when her own children were young, Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso started looking for books about God that she could read to them. What she found was “way too preachy,” she recalls, and didn’t take children seriously. “I believe that children have an innate spirituality and they want to talk to us about it but they don’t have the language,” she told Jewish Woman in an interview.
That realization inspired her to begin writing children’s books. Her first book, God’s Paintbrush, published in 1992 has become a classic and has sold over 100,000 copies. Her most recent book for children, her 15th, Creation’s First Light published by IBJ Book Publishing, was a National Jewish Book Award Finalist. This book is a stunner, both for Sasso’s inspired text and the remarkable illustrations from artist Joani Rothenberg. […]
Tragic replay of Isaac and Ishmael unfolds in Israel (Indianapolis Star, July 22, 2014)
With each flare up of hostilities in the Middle East, we grow more pessimistic and weary about any long-term resolution of the conflict. Hamas sends thousands of rockets into the heart of Israel, and Israel responds with force. Suspicion and hatred endure and the status quo persists.
The number of young people nurtured on the milk of violence and death grows day by day. Despite poignant examples of bereaved Israeli and Palestinian parents weeping together over their kidnapped and murdered children, the voices of revenge grow louder. […]
Indiana’s rich culture, history are surprising (Indianapolis Star, June 30, 2014)
Many slogans have been used to market Indiana — from “Crossroads of America” to “Honest to Goodness. I’d like to suggest another: “Be Surprised!” That is what you will be, if you pay attention to our history and our present. Summer vacations invite us to learn and explore the treasures of our state. […]
Interview with Steve Libman and Jeff Swensson (The Voice of the Performing Arts, June 15, 2014)
Indiana State Museum to start Jewish heritage collection (Indianapolis Star, June 13, 2014)
The Indiana State Museum is reaching out to Jewish families statewide in an effort to build a new collection that will bear the name of two local rabbis, Rabbis Dennis and Sandy Eisenberg Sasso.
Similar to efforts underway to build collections from African-Americans and Latinos, this collection will provide the museum with artifacts that will help curators tell the story of Indiana’s Jewish population. […]
Rabbi Sasso to be lauded for her service to Indiana (Indiana State Museum, May 13, 2014)
Philadelphia-born Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, the first woman ordained a rabbi in the Reconstructionist movement of Judaism, will receive the prestigious Heritage Keepers Award at the annual Tribute Dinner at the Indiana State Museum. The award is given to Indiana’s greatest ambassadors for their embodiment of the Hoosier spirit in their accomplishments, leadership and service to the state. Rabbi Sasso will be the fourth honoree, following Richard Lugar in 2013, Earle Goode in 2012 and the Hulman-George Family in 2011. […]
Where’s heaven? Right here and now (Indianapolis Star, May 5, 2014)
The recent release of the film “Heaven is for Real,” based on a book by the same title, is an account of a 4-year-old boy’s near-death experience during emergency surgery. The movie has received an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response. The book has been on the best-seller list, and ticket sales have grossed in the millions of dollars.
The little boy’s account is a powerful family story, personally compelling and meaningful. However, the question remains whether this is a helpful religious narrative for all of us. […]
Story of the Jews continues to unfold (Indianapolis Star, March 31, 2014)
The “Story of the Jews,” a PBS documentary on Jewish history by author and Emmy award winner Simon Schama, started airing March 25 and will conclude April 1 on WFYI TV.
The premise of Schama’s documentary is that the endurance of the Jewish people has been in the telling and retelling of their story, from biblical times until the present. Faced with adversity, and often with the threat of extermination, Jews carried their narratives through exile, reinterpreting them as place and circumstance changed, adapting and renewing their faith and culture. […]
Indiana can’t afford another delay in preschool (Indianapolis Star, March 4, 2014)
The Indiana General Assembly had the opportunity this session to improve the lives of 1,000 toddlers. Sadly, lawmakers failed, and it is hard to understand why. House Bill 1004 proposed the creation of a pilot program for low-income children to access high-quality pre-kindergarten education. The state Senate has decided to send that proposal to committee for further study. You might be inclined to think that there is little information on the benefits of such a program. You would be wrong. A quick Google search reveals that studies across the country and locally have documented its many advantages. […]
Fight poverty and promote sex education to reduce abortions (Indianapolis Star, February 3, 2014)
The debate about reproductive rights taking place on Capitol Hill and in many state legislatures has elicited a great deal of emotional and inflammatory rhetoric. It is time to take a look at some facts. The most important fact is that no one is “pro-abortion.” Ideally, pregnancies are planned, wanted and healthy; there are no threats to the life or to the physical or emotional well-being of the mother and no serious abnormality of the fetus. Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world. […]
Don’t use Bible to justify gay marriage ban (Indianapolis Star, January 7, 2014)
The benefits of marriage and domestic partnership have been expanded to homosexual couples in 18 states, indicating that Americans are ready to move toward a more inclusive and enlightened view of marriage rights. Yet, Indiana is still considering legislation (HJR-6) leading to a constitutional amendment that would narrowly define marriage as between one man and one woman. This would effectively ban gay and lesbian unions and would also limit benefits of domestic partnership to heterosexual couples. […]
Cutting food stamp program should be unimaginable (Indianapolis Star, September 30, 2013)
When Martha Hoover created the Patachou Foundation to feed healthy snacks to children, she partnered with the Legacy Center, which runs after school programs for Indianapolis Public Schools. She was told not to expect the kids to express thanks. In fact, the opposite was true. Not only were the children gracious, they were incredibly grateful. […]
General Assembly should focus on real issues, not gay marriage (Indianapolis Star, August 6, 2013)
We have all had major problems to solve or difficult tasks to perform. The dilemmas often seem so overwhelming and complex that we decide to avoid them as long as possible. We reason that there are other things calling our attention. In fact, we imagine that performing those less demanding jobs will bode well for our image. In any case, it will look like we are busy, and we will be excused for postponing the larger issues at hand. […]
Shalom and Goodbye, Rabbi Sasso! (Nuvo, July 3, 2013)
Many people don’t know what they want to do when they grow up. Not Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso. On the night of her confirmation 50 years ago, the 16-year-old teenager came home and told her parents she wanted to be a rabbi. Her insurance agent father, Israel (Irv), and homemaker mother, Freda, told her to follow her dream and that they were behind her. […]
Leaps of Faith: Sandy Sasso’s Story (Indianapolis Monthly, June 26, 2013)
When my husband Dennis and I came to Indianapolis in 1977 to serve as spiritual leaders of Congregation Beth-El Zedeck, I wondered what Midwestern wasteland awaited me. I was born and educated in Philadelphia and worked as a rabbi for three years in Manhattan. […]
Sandy Sasso: You are not what you do (Indianapolis Star, June 3, 2013)
June is a month of graduations and weddings and the third most popular month to have a baby. Social scientists call such times of transition “liminal moments.” You are poised somewhere between what you have always known and the still unknown place to which you are going. The place in between is filled with uncertainty and anticipation. […]
Trail-blazing Sandy Sasso retiring after 36 years (Indianapolis Star, May 19, 2013)
The memory from 50 years ago is crystal clear. At age 16, Sandy Eisenberg had just gone through the confirmation ceremony in her synagogue in Philadelphia. “When I came home that evening, I sat on the edge of my bed and said to myself, I want to become a rabbi,” she said. […]
No human, immigrant or otherwise, is ‘illegal’ (Indianapolis Star, April 2, 2013)
As we conclude the Passover festival, Jews around the world have celebrated a week that commemorates the Exodus from slavery to freedom. The Seder, the holiday meal, is meant not only as a reenactment of past events but as an invitation to continue the struggle for freedom. […]
Sandy Sasso: Religious institutions and birth control (Indianapolis Star, March 5, 2013)
Imagine we had the means to reduce infant mortality and improve newborn health; that we could significantly reduce the number of abortions each year; that we could cut teenage pregnancy by 77 percent; strengthen family relationships; lessen a woman’s risk of developing endometrial and ovarian cancer; and even provide short-term protection against colorectal cancer. Imagine the expenses were low and saved money in the long run. […]
How To Answer Kids Questions About God (by Nancy B. Allen, WREG Memphis, February 18, 2013)
Rabbi Sandy Sasso: A new start for our hopes and dreams (Indianapolis Star, January 28, 2013)
January has been a month of beginnings, the start of a year, a newly elected Congress, inaugurations of the governor and the president. Every new beginning brings with it both trepidation and hope.
We fear the unknown, the possibility that forces beyond our control will make tomorrow bleaker and darker than today. If our favored candidates lost the election, we despair that new leadership will not match our dreams. Even if our preferred candidate won, we wonder whether in a contentious, polarized atmosphere any promises can really be kept. […]
Celebrating Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, the first woman reconstructionist rabbi (Jewish Women’s Archive, May 19, 2010)
Thirty-six years ago today, Sandy Eisenberg Sasso was ordained as the first female Reconstructionist rabbi by the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College (RRC) in Philadelphia on May 19, 1974. […]