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The Karma of Becoming American

July 14, 2020

 

In the section under COVID-19 safety precautions, the Department of Homeland Security letter addressed to me mandated facemasks and banned guests for my newly rescheduled naturalization ceremony. Given fears that the virus might serve as a pretext for a complete shutdown of immigration and naturalization, it was a huge relief to find out that the ceremony would take place at all. The original date for the ceremony was March 19, the very day that California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide stay-at-home order.

I had always imagined the conclusion of my long...

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Millions in security funding for Jewish schools, synagogues following Monsey attack

July 14, 2020

 

In the wake of the fatal Hanukkah attack near a Monsey synagogue, more than $2.5 million in federal funding has been earmarked for strengthening security at nearly two dozen Jewish schools, synagogues and community centers in Rockland and Westchester counties.

The money was secured by U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey, D-Harrison, through the Department of Homeland Security's FEMA grants to prepare for and respond to terrorist attacks.

Lowey's requests for the federal grants followed the Dec. 28, 2019, late-night attack by a...

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Mormon leaders ask church members to wear face masks in public to defend against coronavirus

July 14, 2020

 

Mormon church leaders are imploring followers to wear masks in public to defend against the coronavirus as temples reopen and church activities resume. 

The Utah Area Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which consists of local leaders who preside over the...

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Months into COVID-19, funeral directors and clergy continue to innovate death care

July 13, 2020

 

Norman J. Williams has been in the funeral industry business long enough to remember how the HIV epidemic changed not only the way they cared for bodies, but also for those who lost loved ones to the deadly virus.

"We wanted to be compassionate. We wanted to be professional. We wanted to be understanding. We wanted to be nonjudgemental," said Williams, president and funeral director of Unity Funeral Parlors in Chicago, a family business operating for more than 80 years.

There was...

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Multifaith ceremony in Santa Rosa rededicates Holocaust memorial damaged by vandals

July 13, 2020

 

When Rabbi George Gittleman visits the Jewish graves at Santa Rosa Memorial Park, he almost always visits the marker for Lillian Judd.

When he leaves, without fail, he stops at the ritual washing fountain that stands at the center of a memorial honoring Holocaust survivors, including Judd, who survived imprisonment in one of Nazi Germany’s most notorious death camps. She went on to be an author and educator, teaching legions of Sonoma County school children about the horrors of the Holocaust.

Gittleman was close with Judd, accompanying her on many...

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Churches Are Building Housing Developments ‘in God’s Back Yard’

July 13, 2020

 

The Arlington Presbyterian Church in Virginia was dealing with declining Sunday attendance, and fewer donations, before deciding to turn to an affordable housing developer for help. In 2016, with membership down to about 60 from a height of 1,000 in the 1950s, the church sold its century-old sanctuary to the nonprofit Arlington Partnership...

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Indigenous tribe in California faces off with a border wall that’s destroying their history

July 10, 2020

 

On Monday June 29, The indigenous Kumeyaay people held a protest at the border wall between California and Mexico. Activists accused President Donald Trump of destroying ancient Native American burial sites while constructing the wall.

The Kumeyaay people are one of the main tribes who have lived in the region for thousands of years.

About 100 community members sang and chanted peacefully to voice their concerns about explosives being used to destroy...

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Jehovah’s Witnesses cancel in-person conventions globally, first time in religion’s history

July 10, 2020

 

For the first time in the history of the Jehovah’s Witnesses religious organization, they will be holding their worldwide annual conventions virtually.

Last year, more than 14 million people attended these conventions. In the US alone, Jehovah’s Witnesses typically hold 800 conventions with an attendance of nearly 2 million.

Global attendance spans 240 lands, making it the largest convention organization in...

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Fresno State Sikh Student Association lends hand in time of crisis

July 10, 2020

 

As the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered colleges in early March, student organizations like the Sikh Student Association (SSA) at Fresno State had to move their meetings to a virtual format. 

When the new board members were elected, they saw an opportunity to give back to their community in a time of need.

According to data by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 17 million people were unemployed in June, and the unemployment rate fell from 13.3 percent in May to 11.1 percent. The...

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Churches Were Eager to Reopen. Now They Are a Major Source of Coronavirus Cases.

July 9, 2020

 

Weeks after President Trump demanded that America’s shuttered houses of worship be allowed to reopen, new outbreaks of the coronavirus are surging through churches across the country where services have resumed.

The virus has infiltrated Sunday sermons, meetings of ministers and Christian youth camps in Colorado and Missouri. It has struck churches that reopened cautiously with face masks and social distancing in the pews, as well as some that defied lockdowns and refused to heed new limits on numbers of worshipers.

Pastors and their families have...

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