News

‘We ask forgiveness from the dead’: Why Jewish volunteers are washing bodies in a pandemic

May 29, 2020

 

It used to be that David Kushner would receive a call to report to one of the area's Jewish funeral homes once every few weeks. In the pandemic, his phone has buzzed every single day, sometimes more than once.

Then, Kushner, 40, must rally the other members of the Chevra Kadisha B'nei Moshe. This all-volunteer group, which is not affiliated with any one synagogue or denomination, is the largest of the handful of chevra kadishas, or burial societies, that operate in the region. Driven by faith and reverence for tradition, its members gather to carry out the...

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Amid pandemic, the Wichita Kenyan community unites virtually through food and family

May 29, 2020

 

Mirriam Oyugi planned on having her two sons at home for Easter and was eager to make all of their favorite Kenyan dishes. When their travel plans were hindered due to the pandemic, Oyugi said, her sons opted for cooking lessons instead.

“I taught my boys how to make chapatis on Easter,” Oyugi said. “We did it on video and went through the whole process together. They made theirs and I made mine. I think they had a great time!”

The Kenyan community in this Midwestern state is a close-knit group, with most of its members sharing in common their...

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Emptied by coronavirus, churches convert their sacred spaces into food pantries

May 29, 2020

The soaring sanctuary of the Shrine of the Sacred Heart, in the District’s Mount Pleasant neighborhood, bustles daily in normal times with parishioners — predominantly immigrants, many undocumented. But the coronavirus pandemic has shuttered communal worship for the church, as with most congregations across the country. It has also cut off many parishioners and neighborhood residents from work and unemployment benefits. And thus from food...

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Buddhists with Physical Disabilities Access Digital Dharma

May 29, 2020

 

For students of the dharma with physical disabilities, one of the recent positive developments of living under quarantine has been the ability to join a digital sangha anywhere in the world, at any hour of the day, from the comfort of home. But the online shift has also revealed where the Buddhist community sometimes falls short when it comes to accommodating people who face physical challenges. 

Before COVID-19, people with disabilities who wanted to attend a meditation...

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As Covid-19 tears through Navajo Nation, young people step up to protect their elders

May 26, 2020

 

Michelle Tom stared into the screen. The Navajo doctor had just finished a grueling shift at the Winslow Indian Health Care Center urgent care facility in Winslow, Ariz., caring for Covid-19 patients. Now, she was spending her Friday night speaking via livestream to Native American youth about the pandemic.

“I’ve seen it hit everyone,” she said of the coronavirus. “But I have the strength of my ancestors, the strength of my prayers, and the strength of all of you. We have to keep talking about it, especially to our young people.”

In recent weeks,...

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Shabbat online? Conservative synagogues get OK, but some were already doing it

May 26, 2020

For Orthodox synagogues, it was an easy choice: Pandemic or no, a Shabbat service cannot be streamed online. For many liberal synagogues, it was similarly easy: Meet the needs of the moment, and start streaming Shabbat services.

But for Conservative synagogues, it was a matter for serious deliberation: To stream or not to stream?

On May 13, the Conservative movement’s Committee on Jewish Law and Standards provided official guidance: Despite longstanding prohibitions against using electricity and computers on Shabbat and major Jewish holidays, prayer services could...

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From Illinois to Puerto Rico, Latino Muslims navigate faith and quarantine among their non-Muslim families

May 26, 2020

 

As someone new to Islam, Ritchie Jaimes has found quarantine restrictions particularly challenging.

Jaimes, who was raised Catholic, converted to Islam just five months ago and has experienced his first Ramadan amid a pandemic that has shut down mosques and churches and mandated stay-at-home orders that bar in-person gatherings.

He breaks fast on his own during weekends at home when he’s not working the late shift Monday through Friday. It has also been more than a month since he last saw his mentor, who was helping him learn about hadiths,...

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Despite Green Light, Many Mass. Houses Of Worship Won't Convene In-Person

May 26, 2020

 

Episcopalians in Massachusetts are saying no church before July 1.

The United Church of Christ in the state is saying nothing before the end of summer.

The Unitarians want to wait until next year.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Boston expects less than 20% of its 280 churches to be open this weekend.

And the Baptists are still trying to figure out how to safely do baptisms in the age of the...

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New Pagan radio station seeks to improve underserved market

May 25, 2020
Music aficionados who are looking for Pagan and Pagan-themed music have a new listening destination waiting to be discovered.
 
PaganRadio.org is a licensed online radio station operating out of Vancouver, British Columbia. The station was founded by Ian Adler in March of 2020.
 
“The mission of the station is to provide Pagan and folk music from Pagan artists,” explained Adler, who has several years of previous experience as a disc jockey for clubs on the popular user-created virtual platform Second Life.
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How mosques around America will celebrate Eid during a pandemic

May 25, 2020
With most mosques across the country still closed due to the coronavirus, Muslim communities are finding creative ways to celebrate this weekend’s Eid al-Fitr, the festival that marks the end of Ramadan, while abiding by social distancing guidelines.
 
In Michigan, where a popular Ramadan lights competition will end just before Eid, Muslims have organized a televised Eid service and celebration that they expect tens of thousands to tune in for. The celebratory programming, set to air Sunday morning (May 24) on local cable news and stream on social...
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