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Democracy

Synagogue sues Florida over abortion ban, saying it violates freedom of religion for Jews

Advocating for abortion access is not the religious argument we usually hear, but it is no less valid than religious arguments against it.

abortion, jewish, florida

Jewish leaders are explaining that abortion is a religious right.

Debate over legal access to abortion has long been a part of social and political discourse, but increasing state-level restrictions and a leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that threatens to overturn five decades of legal precedent have propelled abortion directly into the spotlight once again.

While we're accustomed to seeing religious arguments against abortion from Christian organizations, a synagogue in Florida is flipping the script, making the argument that banning abortion actually violates Jewish religious liberty.

In a lawsuit against the Florida government, Congregation L’Dor Va-Dor of Boynton Beach says that the state's pending abortion law, which prohibits abortion after 15 weeks with few exceptions, violates the Jewish teaching that abortion "is required if necessary to protect the health, mental or physical well-being of the woman.” Citing the constitutional right to freedom of religion, the lawsuit states that the act "prohibits Jewish women from practicing their faith free of government intrusion and this violates their privacy rights and religious freedom."

Wow.



The Florida 15-week abortion ban only grants exceptions if the mother's life is at risk, if she is at risk of "irreversible physical impairment" or if the fetus is found to have a fatal abnormality. There are no exceptions for rape, incest or human trafficking.

If Jewish law stipulates that access to abortion is required not only for a woman's physical well-being but also her mental well-being, then laws that criminalize such access are violating religious freedom, Congregation L’Dor Va-Dor contends.

Advocating for abortion access is not the religious argument we usually hear, but it is on equal footing with religious arguments against it. (It's worth pointing out that Governor Ron DeSantis signed the Florida abortion act into law not at his office, but rather at a church.)

The synagogue's lawsuit raises the question of which religion takes precedence when it comes to legislation. It also highlights the difference between "This is against my religion, therefore no one can do it" and "This is part of my religious tradition, therefore I legally have a right to access it." The former really has no place in U.S. law, as it violates the traditional separation of church and state, and the latter is a prime example of the purpose of the First Amendment right to freedom of religion.

Part of what makes legislating abortion so messy is that the questions at the heart of the debate are actually largely religious in nature. What is the true nature of human life and when does life begin? At what point is a zygote, an embryo, a fetus considered a full human being with the same rights as the rest of us? What is the relationship between a human (or potential human) in the womb and the person whose body is building it? What responsibilities does the person who is building it have toward that life, and what responsibility does society and/or the government have in holding the human accountable for those responsibilities?

These are all legitimate questions that don't have easy, straightforward answers, no matter how simplistic and undernuanced people try to make them. They may be simple questions for some people to answer individually, but collectively? No. We all make those determinations based on different criteria, different beliefs, different values and different understandings of the nature of life. There is no way for "we the people" as a whole to answer those questions definitively.

And the implications of those questions extend far beyond the abortion debate. The Cleveland Clinic states that one-third to a half of pregnancies end in miscarriage before a person even knows they're pregnant. For those who believe that life begins at conception or fertilization, should every death in the womb be considered a tragedy? Should we mourn the loss of lives we carried that we never even knew existed?

There are the slippery slopes that stem from those questions as well. Some religious people may see a miscarriage as God's will, but what if it was caused by something a woman did? What if a miscarriage occurred because of an action taken of her own free will? Is she culpable for that loss using the same logic we use to criminalize abortion? At what point do we start policing women's behaviors—what she eats or drinks, what medications she takes, whether she's around smokers, and so on—at all times in order to protect a life she may potentially be carrying? We're already seeing women being jailed for miscarriages. How far will we go with it?

What about things like child support payments and government benefits? Why we do not expect child support to be paid from the moment a pregnancy is detected? Why do we not give Social Security numbers to Americans in the womb? Why can we not claim a child on our taxes until they are born? If there is genuinely no difference between a life being grown inside a uterus at 12 or 15 or 20 weeks and a life outside a uterus, why does the law treat them differently?

How do we begin to answer these questions when the heart of them always circles back to individual beliefs?

The synagogue's religious freedom argument is compelling for sure, but the bottom line is we shouldn't be legislating on something based on religious beliefs in the first place. "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…" That's literally the opening line of the First Amendment of the Constitution. Banning abortion is, in effect, establishing a particular religious belief as law and prohibiting the free exercise of religion for an entire group of people.

At a basic level, abortion is 1) a medical event that entails far too many individual factors that are not the business of the government to judge, and 2) a choice that is determined to be valid or invalid, right or wrong, based largely on individual religious beliefs. Both of those realities are reason enough for legislators, who are neither medical professionals nor religious leaders, to stay out of people's uteruses and leave these incredibly personal medical and religious decisions to the individual.

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How often do you change your sheets?

If you were to ask a random group of people, "How often do you wash your sheets?" you'd likely get drastically different answers. There are the "Every single Sunday without fail" folks, the "Who on Earth washes their sheets weekly?!?" people and everyone in between.

According to a survey of 1,000 Americans conducted by Mattress Advisor, the average time between sheet changings or washings in the U.S. is 24 days—or every 3 1/2 weeks, approximately. The same survey revealed that 35 days is the average interval at which unwashed sheets are "gross."

Some of you are cringing at those stats while others are thinking, "That sounds about right." But how often should you wash your sheets, according to experts?

Hint: It's a lot more frequent than 24 days.

While there is no definitive number of days or weeks, most experts recommend swapping out used sheets for clean ones every week or two.

Dermatologist Alok Vij, MD told Cleveland Clinic that people should wash their sheets at least every two weeks, but probably more often if you have pets, live in a hot climate, sweat a lot, are recovering from illness, have allergies or asthma or if you sleep naked.

We shed dead skin all the time, and friction helps those dead skin cells slough off, so imagine what's happening every time you roll over and your skin rubs on the sheets. It's normal to sweat in your sleep, too, so that's also getting on your sheets. And then there's dander and dust mites and dirt that we carry around on us just from living in the world, all combining to make for pretty dirty sheets in a fairly short period of time, even if they look "clean."

Maybe if you shower before bed and always wear clean pajamas you could get by with a two-week sheet swap cycle, but weekly sheet cleaning seems to be the general consensus among the experts. The New York Times consulted five books about laundry and cleaning habits, and once a week was what they all recommend.

Sorry, once-a-monthers. You may want to step up your sheet game a bit.

What about the rest of your bedding? Blankets and comforters and whatnot?

Sleep.com recommends washing your duvet cover once a week, but this depends on whether you use a top sheet. Somewhere between the Gen X and Millennial eras, young folks stopped being about the top sheet life, just using their duvet with no top sheet. If that's you, wash that baby once a week. If you do use a top sheet, you can go a couple weeks longer on the duvet cover.

For blankets and comforters and duvet inserts, Sleep.com says every 3 months. And for decorative blankets and quilts that you don't really use, once a year washing will suffice.

What about pillows? Pillowcases should go in with the weekly sheet washing, but pillows themselves should be washed every 3 to 6 months. Washing pillows can be a pain, and if you don't do it right, you can end up with a lumpy pillow, but it's a good idea because between your sweat, saliva and skin cells, pillows can start harboring bacteria.

Finally, how about the mattress itself? Home influencers on TikTok can often be seen stripping their beds, sprinkling their mattress with baking soda, brushing it into the mattress fibers and then vacuuming it all out. Architectural Digest says the longer you leave baking soda on the mattress, the better—at least a few hours, but preferably overnight. Some people add a few drops of essential oil to the baking soda for some extra yummy smell.

If that all sounds like way too much work, maybe just start with the sheets. Pick a day of the week and make it your sheet washing day. You might find that climbing into a clean, fresh set of sheets more often is a nice way to feel pampered without a whole lot of effort.

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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Representative image from Canva

Because who can keep up with which laundry settings is for which item, anyway?

Once upon a time, our only option for getting clothes clean was to get out a bucket of soapy water and start scrubbing. Nowadays, we use fancy machines that not only do the labor for us, but give us free reign to choose between endless water temperature, wash duration, and spin speed combinations.

Of course, here’s where the paradox of choice comes in. Suddenly you’re second guessing whether that lace item needs to use the “delicates” cycle, or the “hand wash” one, or what exactly merits a “permanent press” cycle. And now, you’re wishing for that bygone bucket just to take away the mental rigamarole.

Well, you’re in luck. Turns out there’s only one setting you actually need. At least according to one laundry expert.
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Parents are debating over whether to give children "adult" or "baby" names.

The names we choose to give our children can significantly impact their lives. Multiple studies from across the globe have found that a person’s name can influence their employment, social and economic outcomes.

Unfortunately, humans make snap judgments about one another, and having an unusual name can lead people to make unflattering assumptions. “We’re hardwired to try to figure out in a heartbeat whether or not we want to trust somebody, whether we want to run from somebody,” Northwestern University researcher David Figlio said, according to Live Science.

However, an increasing number of parents are giving their children non-traditional names to help them stand out. “Parents are trying to be original, almost branding their kids in an era where names are viewed on the same level as Twitter handles or a website URL,” writer Sabrina Rogers-Anderson said.

Ruby, a mother on TikTok, took a hard stance on parents giving their children names that sound childish in a post that’s received over 11 million views. Ruby says she named her kids as “adults, not babies” hoping they would never “outgrow” their names.

@rubyyvillarreal

TikTok · R U B Y V I L L A R R E A L

“The whole concept when I was trying to look for a name and choose a name for her is I did not want her to outgrow her name,” she said in the viral video. “I wanted the name to fit her as a baby, as a toddler, as a child, and into adulthood. So, it's like I really am happy with what I ended up with naming her and it just fits her so well.”

She captioned the video, “love having nicknames as they are younger and it doesn’t mean they will prefer it over their name as they get older. Just gives them options.”

People in the comments responded with modern names they think that kids will outgrow.

"My name is Koazy and I’m here for a job interview," Stalker joked. "Hello sir, I am Bluey Mason Garrison! I was called in for a job interview last Tuesday," Pastel Purr added.

"I can’t imagine knowing [a] 30-year-old named Emma or Posie," Mikey wrote.

However, a lot of people commented that names that seem like they’ll be outgrown will sound fine in the future when those names are popular with the new generation. “Kids grow up with their generation having their own names on trend. They will be normal adult names when they are grown,” Kerry wrote.

“Names grow with the generation,” Lauren added. “The name Dennis sounded like a baby name once too. Names grow up just like generations.”

@rubyyvillarreal

Replying to @19eighty_5 my kids name and the process 😬 #babynames #nicknames #babytok #adultnames #momsoftiktok #momlife #momtok #pregnancytiktok #toddlersoftiktok #babyname #babyfever

In a follow-up video, Ruby shared the names she gave her children. Her girl is named Karla Esmerelda and her boy is called Deluca.

“I just really liked how simple, how bold, and strong that the name by itself just really kind of is. Doing some research names with the letter K tend to be like very bold and powerful names, so I really wanted it with a K and not with a C,” she said.

She named her son Deluca, after a doctor on “Grey’s Anatomy.” She said she chose the name because there was nothing to connect it to, and it sounded “nice.”


This article originally appeared on 4.26.23

via @5kids5catssomedogstoo/TikTok

Lynalice Bandy shares what her home looks like after working six 10-hour days and getting no help from her husband.

A viral TikTok video highlights an extreme version of inequality that many wives and mothers in heterosexual relationships face. However, the mom in this story hit her limit and won’t deal with it anymore.

Lynalice Bandy, who goes by @5kids5catssomedogstoo on TikTok, posted a video that showed her home looking like a disaster after she worked six 10-hour days straight while her husband did nothing to help.

Her time-lapse video shows every room in the house completely trashed, with toys, food and laundry scattered everywhere. "Shampoo on the carpets in the girls' room, nail polish all over Nugget covers, hair, and carpet. Scissors were used to cut hair, the down comforter, the mattress cover, and two Nugget covers," wrote the mom.

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Pop Culture

Gen Zer's teary video after going around town with a stack of resumes gets wave of support

Gen Z often gets a bad rap in the workforce. But job hunting is difficult right now, regardless of your age.

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People couldn't help but feel for a young woman who broke down in tears after going around town with a stack of resumes.

It can be easy to write-off younger generations as entitled, lazy and unwilling to work hard, without taking into account the very real challenges being faced.

Just like their “whiny millennial” predecessors, Gen Zers often find themselves in this predicament—unable to land a job, much less one that reflects their personal values, all while being labeled as“difficult” for wanting something better.

But the truth is, even hard-working people are struggling right now. That goes for people who are employed (many of whom are living paycheck-to-paycheck, despite having well-paying jobs) and those looking for employment.
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