Religious Diversity News

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Thousands celebrate Diwali in Edison’s new temple

Step into Edison’s BAPS Shri Swaminarayan temple on Sunday, and the first thing you notice is the thousands of people gathering for a Diwali celebration.

The second thing you notice is the colors.

Hundreds of blue and yellow sweets — an offering to god — are stacked high on red risers. Pink and orange sand creates swirling patterns on the floor. Women in purple, green and gold saris serve food to visitors.

Source: Thousands celebrate Diwali in Edison’s new temple – nj.com

It Happened Here: Buddhist Church in Wapato hosts countless community gatherings

Ken Inaba and Gracie Hernandez married on Oct. 20 at the Yakima Buddhist Church. Once again, just as it has for nearly a century, the modest building at 212 W. Second St. brought people together in a joyful and profound ritual of human life.

With a few dozen members today, the church rolls are much smaller than during its zenith in the 1930s, when more than 160 families were part of the Buddhist community in and around Wapato. There are fewer weddings. The last wedding that took place in the Yakima Buddhist Church was that of Ken’s parents, Lon and Sheila Inaba, on Oct. 27, 1990.

Source: It Happened Here: Buddhist Church in Wapato hosts countless community gatherings | Local | yakimaherald.com

The One-Year Anniversary of the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting

Eric Lidji is a man who cares deeply about modest ambitions. He has lived in Pittsburgh on and off for 20 years. It is a city perfectly sized to his sensibility, neither very small nor very large—a place known to but mostly ignored by those who do not live there. Lidji, 36, has held many jobs; most recently, in late 2017, he became the director and only permanent staff member of the Rauh Jewish History Program & Archives, a repository of early-20th-century local Yiddish-theater posters as well as records from dozens of small-town synagogues in western Pennsylvania. But even before he became an archivist, Lidji’s work has always been the same: He is a diarist of small delights, a chronicler of curios, an ardent psalmist of Pittsburgh’s quirky charms.

Source: The One-Year Anniversary of the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting – The Atlantic

High school athlete, 16, is disqualified at her cross-country meet for wearing Nike hijab

An Ohio high school athlete was disqualified from a cross-country meet for wearing a Nike hijab.

Noor Abukaram, who is a student at The Bounty Collegium, was preparing to check in for the Sylvania School District’s race at Owens Community College in Findlay, Ohio, on Saturday when her coach was told there was a problem with her uniform.

The 16-year-old has competed with the Sylvania Northview High School girls cross country team for the past three years and has never had a problem with her Nike hijab, which Nike specifically created for women athletes.

Source: High school athlete, 16, is disqualified at her cross-country meet for wearing Nike hijab | Daily Mail Online

How do Seattle witches celebrate Halloween? A look into the modern religion known as Wicca

There are witches among us.

Halloween approaches, signaling the time of year when dentists crack their knuckles with glee and Amazon overflows with sexy versions of otherwise reasonable costumes. But Samhain (pronounced sow-ain) is the original Halloween, a modern(ish) version of an ancient Gaelic end-of-harvest festival. Co-opted by the Catholic Church as “All Hallows’ Day” or “All Saints’ Day,” Samhain lands midway between the fall equinox and the winter solstice, celebrated on the evening of Oct. 31 and into Nov. 1.

Source: How do Seattle witches celebrate Halloween? A look into the modern religion known as Wicca | The Seattle Times

Massachusetts “bodywork” bill could impact some spiritual practices

Bill S. 168 that is currently being considered with the objective of deterring human trafficking and providing more safety to the public when seeking the services of a massage therapist or “bodyworker” contains some potentially problematic language and definitions.

Practices like Reiki, and Qi Gong, frequently involve little, if any, actual physical touching between an instructor/practitioner in practice, and in many cases are part of a defined spiritual practice.

Source: Massachusetts “bodywork” bill could impact some spiritual practices | The Wild Hunt

Hindu students adjust religious practices for upcoming Diwali

Homemade shrines of Hindu deities adorn students’ dorm rooms and apartments in place of the sacred images found in temples to celebrate Diwali because of busy schedules and long commutes to temples.

Diwali, a Hindu holiday that honors the precedence of light over darkness, marks a new year of spiritual and literal prosperity, said Donald Davis, professor and department chair of Asian studies. The weeklong holiday, which begins Oct. 27, involves prayers that can occur in a temple or at home, Davis said.

Source: Hindu students adjust religious practices for upcoming Diwali | The Daily Texan

‘Border Church’ and ‘Border Mosque’ team up for prayer service

For more than a decade, the Rev. John Fanestil, a United Methodist minister, has held a Sunday service at Friendship Park, a historic meeting place on the U.S.-Mexico border overlooking the Pacific Ocean between San Diego and Tijuana. While Communion is celebrated each week, Fanestil began the nonsectarian Christian ministry to help preserve the park as a public space where family members separated by their immigration status can interact, even if their interaction takes place through border fencing.

But in recent months, Border Church, or La Iglesia Fronteriza, has blossomed into a multifaith movement that includes a group of Muslims, who call themselves the Border Mosque, that has been joining Fanestil in prayer since April.

Source: ‘Border Church’ and ‘Border Mosque’ team up for prayer service – Religion News Service

Southwest tribes oppose spent nuclear fuel storage plans

Native American leaders from New Mexico are opposing plans that call for storing in the desert Southwest tons of spent nuclear fuel from power plants around the U.S.

The All Pueblo Council of Governors in a resolution adopted late last week affirmed its commitment to protecting tribal natural and cultural resources.

Source: Southwest tribes oppose spent nuclear fuel storage plans | KRWG

Tree of Life Says its Building will Reopen as a ‘Center for Jewish life in the United States’

The Tree of Life synagogue building, the site of an attack a year ago that left 11 worshipers dead, will reopen as a “center for Jewish life in the United States.”

The Tree of Life Congregation issued a statement to announce its “vision” for the building on Friday.

The building, which was home to three different congregations, has not reopened since the Oct. 27, 2019 attack. The attack left the building “unsuitable for worship,” according to the statement. It was in need of serious repair and renovation before the attack took place, it also said.

Source: Tree of Life Says its Building will Reopen as a ‘Center for Jewish life in the United States’ | Jewish Journal