Judaism

How COVID affects religious organizations at UM

September 23, 2020

 

As the University of Miami continues to respond to pandemic, Father Philip Tran the university’s full-time chaplain at St. Augustine Parish says UM’s religious organizations are also concerned about the spiritual health of the student body.

He, along with the rest of the religious organizations at UM, say they are trying to adapt in order to make sure their members can still be a part of their religious communities.

While there have been many setbacks for this upcoming semester, Tran says he believes that UCatholic has been successful. They have...

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For hospital chaplains, navigating patient needs during the pandemic takes a toll

September 22, 2020

 

When the Rev. Tenku Ruff, a Soto Zen Buddhist priest, took over as the pastoral care director at Phelps Hospital Northwell Health in Sleepy Hollow in June, she knew she was entering uncharted territory: She was taking on the hospital-based position in the middle of a pandemic.

As she spoke to doctors and other staff, she heard about Chaplain Cyril Owambo, who early in the pandemic, was asked to counsel a family whose loved one had just died of COVID-19.

“The family really wanted him to come in and offer a prayer. He was so...

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At The Hebrew SeniorLife Synagogue, The Sacred Is Found In Song

September 21, 2020

 

Edith Klein-Dreezer sits in the front row of a synagogue in a senior home in Roslindale on a sunny November Friday.

At 89 years old, Klein-Dreezer bears a striking resemblance to her idol: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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"Upstairs in my room, on the door, I have a picture of the Ginsburg lady," she says....

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UW dental students find ways to follow COVID-19 regulations while maintaining religious values

September 18, 2020

Rules and regulations around coronavirus and its impact on school and work have been challenging to accommodate ever-changing data and cases. 

Some have said that these rules and regulations have interfered with their religious freedoms. 

Dr. Karan Singh and Dr. Omri Margalit are University of Washington School of Dentistry students who have had to find alternative ways to finish up their degrees while staying true to their faith.

 

Singh practices the Sikh faith and Margalit practices Judaism. Both faiths require men to have...

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In Boston, the pandemic helps open High Holidays to the unaffiliated

September 16, 2020

 

In less than two weeks, the High Holidays will arrive in the midst of this unprecedented pandemic. While it may be a challenge to engage worshippers, it’s not impossible. This past month, clergy across Judaism’s denominations shared their thoughts on recreating a High Holiday experience without people in the pews.

All were confident about conveying the importance of repentance and beginning anew during a pandemic. And all agreed that worship would look different. The shofar, for example, will be heard in new, socially distanced ways. Some shofar-blowers are...

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Town settles lawsuit over nixed Orthodox Jewish expansion

September 16, 2020

 

A northern New Jersey town has reached an agreement in a federal lawsuit that accused it of illegally denying an Orthodox Jewish group’s attempt to expand its footprint, the U.S. attorney’s office for New Jersey announced Tuesday.

If the agreement is approved by a judge, Woodcliff Lake will allow Valley Chabad to expand its existing property, and will pay the group $1.5 million to settle a separate lawsuit filed by the group against the town.

The U.S. attorney’s office sued Woodcliff Lake in 2018, alleging the town violated the...

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L.A. Shofar Wave Aims to Bring Jewish Community Together For Rosh Hashanah

September 11, 2020

COVID-19 impacted so much this year, but it isn’t stopping the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles from blasting the shofar for the entire city to hear.

On Sept. 20, L.A. Jews can welcome in 5781 with the Shofar Wave.

Created by the religious leadership at IKAR, the wave involves placing people on corners throughout the city and asking them to blow the shofar — a much safer alternative to the traditional shofar service that would require hundreds to...

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Interfaith clergy share tools of devotion

September 10, 2020

 

Johns Creek Presbyterian Church has turned its west parking lot into a spiritual studio.

The worship space is equipped with a public address system, live music and a local FM receiver with enough power to spread the Gospel to cars in the back rows. 

Few institutions face quite the challenges presented by the pandemic as houses of worship.

Gone are the backslapping, the hugs, the handshakes common to many congregations. For the most part, religious observance hinges on internet bandwidth and apps designed for business meetings now...

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Amid Pandemic, Jewish Religious Traditions Packed into DIY Kits

September 10, 2020

 

It's a religious obligation for Jews: affixing a mezuzah on their door post. It's a sign those inside live a Jewish life. 

"These are the mezuzah, which are from Israel, written by scribes. It’s hand-written,“ said the Chabad Mitzvah Society Director Mendy Ceitlin. 

The Chabad Mitzvah Society in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, created these do-it-yourself kits, providing a step-by-step guide for putting up a mezuzah. 

 

"We really wanted to empower every individual, every man, woman, child wherever they are,...

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Staying spiritual, safe: Campus religious groups adapt to social distancing

September 9, 2020

 

The Hillel Jewish Student Union used to pack hundreds of students into its Forbes Avenue building almost every Friday evening. Although students can no longer gather in crowded rooms, they’re still spending their Fridays with a few friends and a whole lot of challah.

From socially distant Shabbat to virtual Bible studies to international pen pal programs, students of various religions are solidifying their faith and their communities while following public health...

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Rent and religion: Young Jewish girl inspired to help others during bat mitzvah

September 9, 2020

 

While balancing parenthood alone during a pandemic can challenging, adding eviction to the equation can be heartbreaking.

“My heart dropped for the simple fact that I was homeless before with my four kids,” Mary Ratchford-Bass said after losing her job as an office cleaner.

“Once the pandemic hit, they went to working from home and that left us with little to no work to do,” she said.

Just a few days before being forced out of her apartment, Ratchford-Bass, who was born into a Baptist family, was saved by someone she never met, calling...

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Shofar lessons are becoming a pre-holiday necessity in the age of coronavirus

September 4, 2020

 

In the biblical account, the walls of Jericho came tumbling down after Joshua commanded seven priests to blow their ram’s horns or shofars.

This year, it will take a lot more than seven priests for the plaintive wail of the shofar to penetrate the walls of Jews sheltering in place for the Jewish High Holy Days.

The coronavirus has left nearly all synagogues across the country shuttered. On Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, which begins at sundown Sept. 18, and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, which starts the evening of Sept. 27, most Jews will...

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JewBelong Makes Rosh Hashanah Observance Accessible

September 1, 2020

Archie Gottesman, one of JewBelong’s principal founders, understands if her organization isn’t quite the right fit for someone. JewBelong’s “disclaimer” states: “JewBelong’s mission is to welcome people to Judaism with Jewish readings and rituals that many people can relate to. And guess what, JewBelong isn’t for everyone. This should not be shocking. Hell, Jews have a hard time agreeing on anything, you really think they are all going...

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Amid virus lockdowns, prison ministry groups had to adapt

August 31, 2020

 

Normally Teresa Stanfield spends her days in prisons talking with inmates about how she changed the course of her troubled life, and how they can do the same. But the coronavirus has locked her on the outside.

“When COVID came and shut down programming, I was extremely disappointed,” said Stanfield, Oklahoma field director with Virginia-based Prison Fellowship. “But I also knew that God had a plan and we were going to do everything we could to continue to encourage our returning citizens and keep our volunteers connected.”

For Stanfield, the answer...

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6 months into pandemic, Jews prepare for a High Holiday season of rupture and resilience

August 31, 2020

 

For many Jews, a high point of services on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is the Unetaneh Tokef prayer, which wonders who will live and who will die in the year ahead.

This year, that question will take on added resonance, as the High Holidays fall six months into a global pandemic that has reshaped lives, battered institutions and killed hundreds of thousands of people, including many in Jewish communities.

...

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