Judaism

Muslim, Sikh and Jewish groups seek inclusion in California’s new ethnic studies curriculum

November 19, 2020

LOS ANGELES (RNS) — Religious groups are urging California education officials to include their histories and cultures in a model ethnic studies curriculum being developed for high schools in the state.

The proposed curriculum, which the Department of Education has been planning since 2018, centers on Chicanos and Latino Americans, African Americans, Asian Americans and Native Americans. It is intended to serve as a guide as schools design the ethnic studies courses that could be mandated for graduation beginning later this decade.

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The Other Side of the Pandemic

November 19, 2020

For 40 years, Judie Cotton has volunteered at the Valley Beth Shalom Counseling Center, an independent nonprofit staffed by 25 trained counselors and housed at Valley Beth Shalom, a 1,500-member Conservative congregation in Encino, California. This year she has noticed increased call volume both at the counseling center and her private therapy practice, particularly among adults under 40 suffering from depression and anxiety.

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Jews, Hindus and Buddhists host event to discuss the meaning of the swastika

November 11, 2020

A major New York Jewish organization co-hosted an event in New York this week to debate a subject that most in the city assume has long been settled — whether the swastika is good or bad.

While the notorious hooked-cross symbol has long been associated with the evil of Nazism and hate, it has for even longer been revered by Hindus and Buddhists, who argued Monday that swastika was misused by Hitler and its image should be rehabilitated.

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Hate Has No Home In Ithaca, Local Faith Leaders Say

November 11, 2020

Following several racist and anti-Semitic incidents in Ithaca, local faith leaders are doubling down on ongoing anti-racist programming. While their approaches vary, they have a common message: Hate has no home in Ithaca.

In recent months, local religious leaders have invited speakers on anti-racism, organized anti-racist reading groups and have sought to...

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Vote, pray, wait: Faith leaders reassure congregations, call for full vote count as election remains uncertain

November 5, 2020

As the first polls began to close Tuesday (Nov. 3), the Rev. Cara Tanis logged off.

Instead of obsessing over election returns as they trickled in throughout the night, she went for a walk.

Tanis was joined by 50 to 70 people who attended “Walking for the Common Good” around Seattle’s Green Lake, carrying battery-operated votive candles and praying that every vote cast in the 2020 presidential election would be counted.

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Displays of devotion: Art reflects faith in northwest Ohio homes

November 2, 2020

Lord Ganesha greets visitors to the home of Jagdish and Shobha Patel in Holland.

A figurine of the deity is positioned prominently in an altar set into a wall just off the kitchen, depicted as is traditional with the body of a man and the head of an elephant. One of several such depictions that the couple displays in their home, this one in porcelain and in the characteristic style of Lladró, it serves a purpose both spiritual and artistic.

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An experiment in unity: Jews, Christians and Muslims mingle on shared campus

October 21, 2020

At a time when the nation feels more divided than ever, one unlikely group in Omaha, Nebraska, is trying to bring people together.

The Tri-Faith Initiative is a unique experiment in unity, sprawling across 38 acres on the edge of the city, almost smack in the center of America. There's a synagogue, a mosque and a church — and on Saturday, Tri-Faith introduced a new interfaith center, the final piece of a plan that was years in the making...

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West Hartford synagogue’s virtual shiva service disrupted by Zoombombers posting anti-Semitic, pornographic videos

October 15, 2020

An investigation is underway this week after Zoombombers disrupted a virtual shiva hosted by a West Hartford synagogue, displaying pornographic and anti-Semitic images that disrupted the somber mourning service.

Although brief, the cyberattack left some members of The Emanuel Synagogue congregation extremely upset and leaders are now considering additional technical security for its daily services, synagogue President Mel Simon said Wednesday.

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New London’s Jewish community places hope in youth

October 13, 2020

New London — When Amy Perry was a child in the 1960s, her Hebrew school classroom was consistently packed with students. By the time Perry's daughter attended the same school in the 2000s, however, it was full of empty seats.

Perry, executive director of the Thames River Heritage Park Foundation and a lifelong city resident, grew up in the then-bustling Congregation Beth-El. It was an era when the congregation was on the rise and its membership included some of the city's most prominent businesspeople, civic leaders and political voices.

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Proposed Prince William Co. school calendar adds Jewish, Hindu, Muslim holidays

October 13, 2020

Prince William County school officials added Jewish, Hindu, and Muslim holidays to a tentative 2021-2022 calendar for the Virginia school system, and are asking parents to weigh in.

The proposed calendar would include the following:

  • Jewish new year of Rosh Hashanah;
  • Jewish day of atonement Yom Kippur;
  • Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights;
  • Eid al-Fitr, which marks breaking of the fast at...
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Keeping the faith: how Miami students are practicing religion and faith during COVID-19

October 8, 2020

A lot of people turn to their religious communities for support through tough times. That sense of connection is different as people are navigating through the unprecedented time of 2020, but it’s not lost.

Emily Garforth, president of the Association of Jewish Students at Hillel, has felt the challenges of getting students involved in the organization this semester. She mentioned that less people are showing up to weekly Shabbat services because the dinner portion was pulled. 

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Minnesota sex offenders sue over religious restrictions during pandemic

October 6, 2020

More than a dozen men in Minnesota's Sex Offender Program are suing the state's human services department, alleging the agency has banned the practice of religious gatherings for more than six months in the wake of COVID-19.

Attorney Erick Kaardal, who filed the federal lawsuit on behalf of 15 clients, said the restrictions inside the Moose Lake facility continued even after a June executive order from Gov. Tim Walz that allowed places of worship to reopen at 50 percent capacity.

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Amid pandemic challenges, houses of worship show resiliency

October 3, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has posed daunting challenges for houses of worship across the U.S., often entailing large financial losses and suspension of in-person services. It also has sparked moments of gratitude, wonder and inspiration.

In the Chicago suburb of Cary, Lutheran pastor Sarah Wilson recorded a sermon aboard a small plane piloted by a congregation member. The video that went online showed a high-up view of idyllic landscapes.

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The religious divide: Incidents of anti-Semitism spotlight divisions in Routt County, one of nation’s least religious counties

September 30, 2020

A few years ago, Sam Ogden heard that someone carved a swastika into a Steamboat Springs High School student’s car along with other Nazi-inspired vandalism. The incidents made the local and national news. He said a few Steamboat friends acted shocked.

They told Ogden, “’This isn’t the Steamboat I know. … This isn’t the Steamboat I graduated from,’” he said.

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