Judaism

Across faiths, US volunteers mobilize for India crisis

May 11, 2021

Volunteers at Hindu temples, Muslim groups and Sikh relief organizations across the United States are mobilizing to support India as the world’s second most populous country struggles to handle a devastating surge of the coronavirus.

From coast to coast, faith groups tied to the Indian diaspora have collected hundreds of oxygen concentrators and electrical transformers to ship to overwhelmed hospitals, raised millions for everything from food to firewood for funeral pyres and gathered in prayer for spiritual support for the Asian nation.

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Hoboken’s first Sikh mayor is on the front lines of fighting antisemitism

May 5, 2021

When Ravi Bhalla moved to Hoboken, N.J., he was a recent law school graduate thinking he’d stay for a few years and save on rent by not living across the river in New York City. “I was a bachelor,” said Bhalla. “Hoboken checked all those boxes [for] a young, single person wanting to have access to Manhattan, but also being a Jersey boy like myself, wanting to stay in New Jersey.” 

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Iowa City school board takes historic vote, adds days off for Eid al-Fitr, Yom Kippur

April 14, 2021

In a historic move for the state, Iowa City school district officials on Tuesday approved two days off next school year to accommodate Eid al-Fitr, a Muslim holiday, and Yom Kippur, a Jewish holiday.

It all started with one student's advocacy. Reem Kirja, 13, has been petitioning the district to change the calendar since she was in elementary school. In her three years of emails and discussions with district leadership, she has argued that allowing days off for Eid recognizes the diversity of the district, breaks down stereotypes about...

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Houston synagogue files federal lawsuit claiming city violating its religious rights

April 5, 2021

A synagogue in Houston has filed a federal lawsuit against the city claiming that it is violating its right to free exercise of religion by denying the right to worship in a residential neighborhood.

In a court filing last week, the Torah Outreach Resource Center of Houston, also doing business as Heimish of Houston with a separate building, and property owner Michael Winkler alleges the city is trying to enforce a "residential-use deed restriction" on the property, which would force the synagogue to close.

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Religious holidays arrive for the faithful as pandemic restrictions rolled back across U.S.

March 31, 2021

For Christians across the United States, Easter services on Sunday will reflect an extra measure of joy as the nation experiences rising optimism after a year of pandemic. Even if still observing restrictions, many churches may draw the largest numbers of in-person worshippers in months.

It’s a season of major holy days for other faiths as well, occurring in a brighter mood than a year ago. Jews are observing Passover this week, and Muslims will enter the holy month of Ramadan in about two weeks.

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Members of many Covid-weary Vermont faith communities are staying online

March 30, 2021

A year after moving to online offerings, some Vermont spiritual communities are returning to in-person services this Easter, Passover and Ramadan, while others continue to restrict gatherings to virtual ones.

“If you recall, none of our churches were open for the Easter celebrations last year as we began the initial struggle to contain the Covid-19 pandemic,” Vermont Catholic Bishop Christopher Coyne said. “Unlike last year, Easter this year is a bit more festive, a bit more celebratory.”

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Duxbury Residents Tell Select Board That Anti-Semitism Must Be Addressed

March 30, 2021

A number of Duxbury residents told their Board of Selectmen at a meeting Monday night that anti-Semitism has been an ongoing problem in their community. The comments came as an independent investigation continues into the use of anti-Semitic language on the field by the high school football team.

Long-time Duxbury High School coach Dave Maimaron, who apologized last week for what he called “insensitive, crass and inappropriate language” by his team, was fired on March 24.

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Religious Life at BU Is “Resilient and Resurgent,” despite Pandemic

March 30, 2021

In spring 2020, the 104-year-old widow of a former BU professor became one of Marsh Chapel’s first congregants to die from COVID-19. “We have not been able to gather” to memorialize her or others lost during the pandemic, as on-premises gathering remains suspended, Marsh Chapel Dean Robert Allan Hill laments one year later.

Yet while the virus forced what Hill calls “worshipping...

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