Judaism

Christian nationalism has deep roots in America, faith leaders say

January 6, 2022

Shannon Rivers believes that Indigenous people are the moral compass of this country.

A member of the Native American Akimel O’otham, or River People, of the southwestern United States, Rivers points to historical accounts of the northeastern Wampanoag, who in the 1600s taught the Pilgrims how to grow crops and weather harsh winters.

“We were the ones who had that initial moral understanding of how you take care of one another, and we still maintain that today, despite every wrong...

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Historic Westside interfaith service celebrates MLK holiday

January 17, 2022

Although Louisiana schools desegregated right before Charles Lee Bilberry’s senior year in 1969, he was not allowed to attend his graduation ceremony, he said, because “the white parents didn’t want their children to graduate with colored children.”

Bilberry collected his diploma from the principal’s office and soon moved to Southern Nevada. He recalled his mother’s hug and kiss on the cheek when she told him, “Son, when you go to Las Vegas, be the best that you can be.”

He spoke of the moment Sunday afternoon during an Interfaith Service at Second Baptist Church in...

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Hostages safe after Texas synagogue standoff; captor dead

January 16, 2022

A man held hostages for more than 10 hours Saturday at a Texas synagogue where he could be heard ranting in a livestream and demanding the release of a Pakistani neuroscientist who was convicted of trying to kill U.S. Army officers in Afghanistan.

One of the four hostages held at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville was released during the standoff; three others were rescued when authorities entered the building about 9 p.m., authorities said. The hostage taker was killed and FBI Special Agent in Charge Matt DeSarno said a team would investigate “the shooting incident.”...

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Neo-Nazi leader sentenced to 7 years for plot to intimidate Jews, journalists

January 11, 2022

A Neo-Nazi leader convicted in a plot to intimidate Jews and journalists has been sentenced to seven years in prison.

The man, Kaleb Cole, 25, the former leader of the Neo-Nazi group Atomwaffen Division, was convicted in September of conspiracy, mailing threatening communications and interfering with a federally protected activity, the Justice Department ...

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COVID-19 Pandemic Unmasks American Antisemitism

January 6, 2022

On a Sunday morning in early December, Austin resident Charles Kaufman received a small plastic bag containing some rocks and a folded document on his doorstep, a few feet away from the bundled-up newspaper usually delivered. The document was a flyer blaming Jews for the new surge of COVID-19, the same one that hundreds of homes across the country received over the past month.

“Maybe 100 or so people received it on my street, Jewish and non-Jewish,” Kaufman told The Media Line on Monday. “I was very familiar with that characterization and very well aware of it long before this...

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Schumer says he was targeted on Jan. 6 for his religion

January 6, 2022

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday recounted being evacuated from the Senate chamber during the Jan. 6 attack, including a close brush with rioters who he was told made antisemitic remarks about him.

"I was within 30 feet of these nasty, racist, bigoted insurrectionists. Had someone had a gun, had two of them blocked off the door, who knows what would have happened. I was told later that one of them reportedly said, 'There's the big Jew. Let's get him,' " Schumer said...

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'Reach the Nones wherever they are': How religious leaders are trying to stem the tide

December 22, 2021

It's a Sunday afternoon in Fort Worth, Texas, and a flock of young people wander into a bar to kick back a few beers, sway to live music and mingle.

And then, they recite the Lord's Prayer.

It's quite a departure from traditional services, which have driven so many away from church in recent years. There's no confession, no fire and brimstone, and nobody's wearing their Sunday best.

Source:...

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Across US, houses of worship struggle to rebuild attendance

December 19, 2021

When Westminster United Methodist Church in Houston resumed in-person services late last year, after a seven-month halt due to COVID-19, there were Sundays when only three worshippers showed up, according to the pastor, Meredith Mills.

Since then, attendance has inched back up, but it’s still only about half the pre-pandemic turnout of 160 or 170, Mills estimates.

“It’s frustrating,” she said. “People just seem to want to leave home less these days.”

Source:...

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The little-known Jewish origins of Boston's annual Christmas tree tradition

December 20, 2021

On an unseasonably warm December night earlier this month, some 12,000 people flocked to Boston Common for the lighting of the city’s official Christmas tree: a majestic, 48-foot white spruce. 

The event marked the 50th straight year that the people of Nova Scotia supplied Boston’s tree — a tribute to how the city, led by a prominent Jewish businessman, supported the Canadian province at a time of crisis.

At the Dec. 2 festivities, recently sworn-in Boston Mayor Michelle Wu, who also took part in three public menorah lightings that week, was joined by Nova...

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Catholic, Jewish orgs work to find homes for arriving Afghan refugees

December 10, 2021

Three months after the Taliban took over Afghanistan, prompting hundreds of thousands to evacuate the country, Catholic Charities and its Jewish community partners have helped dozens of Afghan immigrants to find homes and begin new lives in the Greater Boston Area.

In a webinar held on Nov. 22, titled "Together We Respond," representatives of Catholic Charities of Boston (CCAB), Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP), and the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) shared updates about how they have served people arriving from Afghanistan over the past few months. They expressed...

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Yeshivas are mostly places where Orthodox men study the Torah. A D.C. Rabbi wants to change that.

December 9, 2021

Jewish mystical texts say God “looked into the Torah and created the world” and studying the Torah is a way of studying God’s mind. So why is it that Jewish study centers are filled almost exclusively with Orthodox men?

That is the question lately driving Shmuel Herzfeld, a trailblazing Orthodox rabbi who tools around D.C. in a menorah-decorated car trying to find ways for Jews in the nation’s capital to merge the commitment and intentionality of orthodoxy with the openness and inclusiveness of a more liberal faith....

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Can two young Orthodox Jewish players juggle pro baseball and religion?

December 3, 2021

In the 14 June 1939 edition of the New York Post, Hy Turkin wrote a story on Morris Arnovich, the Philadelphia Phillies left fielder leading the National League with a .398 batting average. Morris was “chock full of hustle,” Turkin wrote, and a “sure bet” to make that season’s All-Star team. Then, in the fifth paragraph, Turkin made reference to Arnovich’s religion: “Jewish,” Turkin wrote, plainly. “Orthodox.”

Even if Arnovich, commonly referred to as the “Son of Israel” during...

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Report: Holocaust denial persists on Facebook one year after push to staunch it

December 1, 2021

A new report from the Anti-Defamation League shows that while Facebook has removed major Holocaust denial posts on its platform, gaps in enforcing its ban remain one year after it went into effect.

The report found nine troubling posts that overtly violated Facebook’s hate speech policy. As of Wednesday (Dec.1), the ADL said three of the nine...

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Reading faiths unite for menorah blessing, tree lighting

December 3, 2021

As many gathered around the Christmas tree and the menorah on downtown Reading's Penn Square for the city's holiday lighting celebrations Thursday evening, the sentiment was that this year's event was especially joyous.

"We are really excited that we are getting to somewhat of a little bit of normalcy this year," said Reading Mayor Eddie Morán. "We are inviting the community to come out and celebrate with us in a dual celebration."

As Hanukkah comes to a close in a few days, the Jewish Federation of Reading lit the latest candle on the...

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