"Them and Them." "Rockland County, New York's East Ramapo school district is a taxpayer-funded system fighting financial insolvency. It is also bitterly divided between the mostly black and Hispanic children and families who use the schools and the Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox Jewish majority who run the Board of Education and send their children to private, religious schools."
Also see: A District Divided
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Apr 24, 2013 -
The Ben-Zvi Institute in Jerusalem houses the Aleppo Codex
, considered the oldest and most authoritative text of the Hebrew Bible. Written in the 10th century AD and annotated by Maimonides himself, it was safeguarded by the Jewish diaspora and revered for its linguistic precision and its beauty. "The story of how some 200 pages of the codex went missing — and to this day remain the object of searches carried out around the globe by biblical scholars, private investigators, shadowy businessmen and the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency — is one of the great mysteries in Jewish history
." [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jul 25, 2012 -
Dare 2 Share Ministries offers profiles and tips
on how to "share your faith" with fourteen different types of friends a teen Christian might have, such as Andy the Atheist
, Marty the Mormon
, Jenna the Jew
, Sid the Satanist
, Mo the Muslim
and Willow the Wiccan
. If none of those strategies work, they also offer articles
on how to "use the buzz in current teen culture to initiate God-talk with your friends" by "sharing your faith" through Indiana Jones
, Halo 3
, Brokeback Mountain
, Kung Fu Panda
and The X Files
posted by jardinier
on Apr 8, 2011 -
“There’s a tremendous amount of anxiety among religious traditionalists that when you take one step toward egalitarianism, the floodgates are open and everything that seemed self-evident will no longer be. Men go to work, and women raise children. If you undermine that, you have lost your whole universe.”
The Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements of Judaism have been ordaining women as rabbis for decades, but the religion's most traditional sect, the Orthodox, remains a lone, minority holdout against egalitarianism. Last year, Orthodox Rabbi Avraham "Avi" Weiss (political activist
and founder of the controversial
, liberal, "Open Orthodox" Yeshivat Chovevei Torah
Yeshiva in New York) tried to shake things up by ordaining the first female American Orthodox rabbi
. [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jul 31, 2010 -
Is Facebook chametz?
An interview with two rabbis about their Facebook group
, encouraging Jews to consider giving up Facebook for Passover next week
. While the word "chametz"
strictly refers only to leavened bread, which is prohibited during Passover, the group is inspired by a Chassidic interpretation that connects the leavening of bread to an "over-inflated sense of self."
posted by albrecht
on Mar 24, 2010 -
“We got a bit excited because we realized that people have collected
lots of dybbuk
stories, but our fragment
describes a real event, where you see how they come together and pray in order to exorcise the ghost from a widow,” [more inside]
posted by ServSci
on Dec 21, 2009 -
Open to Revisions.
"Some religious entrepreneurs have adopted an 'open source' model, where rituals and doctrines can be rewritten as easily as computer code."
posted by homunculus
on Jun 11, 2009 -
Official transgender blessings --
Kulanu -- the newly-revised manual for LGBT issues and ceremonies put out by the Union for Reform Judaism
(1.5 million US Jews are Reform) now includes 2 blessings (written by a Rabbi now male) for those transitioning and who have completed the change, alongside the already existing same sex marriage liturgy and other documents and procedures. A first? (blessings text inside)
posted by amberglow
on Aug 9, 2007 -
"Excuse me," Schwartzman said to the Home Depot man, "can you tell me where to find tar?" "Tar?" asked the Home Depot man. "What're you using tar for?" "I'm building an ark," said Schwartzman. If there was anything that two years of completing God's preposterous homework assignments had taught Schwartzman it was that there was absolutely nothing you could tell Home Depot Man you were building that would surprise him, that would get any reaction from him at all, for that matter, aside from the usual skepticism about your choice of building materials.Shalom Auslander
recasts Jewish history in short story form. Start with the aforementioned "Prophet's Dilemma
," and work your way backwards to "Plagued
." [more inside]
posted by anjamu
on Jul 24, 2006 -
For Orthodox Jewish mothers with small children, the Shabbat
can be challenging
. The answer, for many communities, is the establishment of an eruv
(discussed previously here
, in passing). This San Francisco Chronicle article
details the history behind Berkeley, California's unique instance
. This isn't the first time an eruv
has been attempted in the Bay Area: the failed effort to create one in Palo Alto was covered by the Chronicle
, as well as the Jewish News Weekly
. Berkeley isn't the only United States city with an eruv
—the Boston eruv
maintains a large list of domestic and international eruvim
—nor is it the city with the most unusual eruv
, or even the largest
. Inevitably, perhaps, there's a blog
entirely dedicated to the subject of eruvim
, and vigorous commentary
on the subject from several others
posted by scrump
on Jul 7, 2006 -
"The Naked Truth"
This Google Video
is a documentary (pack a lunch, it's nearly two hours long) that systematically eviscerates the purported origins of the Old and New Testaments. Turns out, it's really all about astrology. Who knew?
The evidence is tremendously compelling, well documented, and sure to raise the ire of people whose minds are made up on the subject.
posted by wordswinker
on Jul 4, 2006 -
"Killing the Buddha
is about finding a way to be religious when we're all so self-conscious and self-absorbed. Knowing more than ever about ourselves and the way the world works, we gain nothing through nostalgia for a time when belief was simple, and even less from insisting that now is such a time. Killing the Buddha
will ask, How can we be religious without leaving part of ourselves at the church or temple door? How can we love God when we know it doesn't matter if we do? Call it God for the godless. Call it the search for a God we can believe in: A God that will not be an embarrassment in twelve-thousand years. A God we can talk about without qualifications." I particularly enjoyed The Temptation of Belief
, by a Buddhist exploring evangelical Christianity, and My Holy Ghost People
, by an unbelieving daughter in a praying-in-tongues family.
posted by heatherann
on Apr 24, 2006 -
The Mercy Seat.
Described in the book of Exodus, the throne of mercy has quite a variety of meanings. Some contemporary Christians are interested in "reconstructing
" an image based on Egyptian and Phoenician culture. In Judaism, the kisei rachamim
is part of the narrative of Yom Kippur, as God moves from the seat of justice to the seat of compassion. In medieval Europe, and especially in Germany, the Gnadenstuhl
was a perfect representation
of the trinity, combining the cruxification, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit (usually a bird), into one image of mournful compassion. Nick Cave used the idea of the mercy seat as the frame for a song about murder, sin, capital punishment, and atonement/redemption
, which was later covered by Johnny Cash (mp3 clip
). The chair of mercy is even visually alluded to Jodorowsky's Montana Sacra
, aka Holy Mountain
. (Which have been inspired in part by the Ascended Masters of Mount Shasta, but that's technically another story - the bizarro California cultists story.)
posted by jann
on Mar 3, 2006 -
If You're a Christian, Muslim or Jew - You are Wrong
- A rant over at the Huffington Post
And let's be clear about this, it IS a rant, and a beaut at that. But it's a sentiment that's run through the head of everyone who isn't a member of the three mentioned groups. No one in the mainstream media says things like this, I wonder why?
The post is made. Let the emphatic agreements, and the vicious denials... begin!
posted by JHarris
on Oct 23, 2005 -
Are evolution's advocates giving fire to creationists?
So says Michael Ruse
, "philosopher of biology (especially Darwinism)", who claims that outspoken evolutionists (e.g. Richard Dawkins
) should do more to make evolution compatible with religion, rather than touting it as a worldview of its own.
Tell that to Nosson Slifkin
(NYTimes, login required), an Orthodox rabbi whose books were banned by a number of eminent rabbis for "seek[ing] to reconcile, rather than to contrast, sacred texts with modern knowledge of the natural world."
That said, will those like Slifkin and Rev. Dr. Arthur Peacocke
be able to make a difference, or will they be ignored and scorned?
posted by greatgefilte
on May 3, 2005 -
THE PRINCIPLES OF JEWISH BUDDHISM
-- 12. To Find the Buddha, look within. Deep inside you are ten thousand flowers. Each flower blossoms ten thousand times. Each blossom has ten thousand petals. You might want to see a specialist.
And there's even a term now: Jubu
posted by amberglow
on Mar 5, 2005 -
The European Union abandoned a plan
to ban Nazi symbols throughout it's member nations. The ban was strongly supported by German Ministers of Parliament
after British Prince Harry wore Nazi insignia to a costume party. Among those opposed to the ban was the Hindu Forum of Britain
(press release) who launched a campaign to reclaim the Swastika. The symbol its self was in Frequent popular use
before WWII. Anti-Communists in former Soviet Block countries sought to expand the ban
to communist emblems. Searching for different points of views on this came up with an earlier story
of interfaith conflict over meaning, and a parallel to the European debate going on in New Zealand
posted by KirkJobSluder
on Feb 24, 2005 -
Genes and Jews.
And you thought Spock
came up with that part of the shtick. It turns out that despite the racial and ethnic diversity of the Tribe, there are genetic markers that identify Cohanim, or the priestly descendants of Aaron (know any Cohens?). These markers help identify jewish identity in the most distant reaches of the diaspora.
The fascinating intersection of anthropology, genetics, and religion.
(btw first fpp)
posted by Kifer85
on Feb 14, 2005 -
Redemption and the Power of Man.
In Christianity, redemption is essentially an act of divine grace, the salvation of a sinful humanity that is incapable of saving itself. In Judaism redemption depends entirely on man, who is responsible for his own fate. To what extent did Judaism influence
the development of progressive, pluralistic democracy?
posted by semmi
on Sep 22, 2004 -
In the most bizarre collaboration between the American Christian Right and ultraorthodox Jewish Zionists in Israel, Pentecostal minister and Georgia cattle farmer Clyde Lott
has collaborated with the Temple Mount Institute
of Jerusalem to breed a red heifer
suitable for purifying the foundation of a rebuilt version of Solomon's Temple
, which ultraorthodox Jews hope will lead to the coming of the Messiah. The problem is that the proposed site for the rebuilt temple is on the same site as the al-Aqsa mosque
, the holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina. Some Zionist extremists in Israel have attempted to "solve" this problem by plotting to blow up the mosque
, which doesn't exactly promote peace in the Middle East. And to think all of this could have been started by a cow that looks like it should have belonged in "the Horse of a Different Color" sequence in the Wizard of Oz!
posted by jonp72
on Oct 30, 2002 -
The Guardian isn't so good
at letting you link to their articles anymore. But if you use this link then click on "printable version" you might get to the site I want you to link to. My title being: If you're Jewish and American its hard to know whose side your on these days.
posted by donfactor
on Oct 28, 2002 -
"I asked who was playing. A Moroccan group, said the cabbie. He told me its name. Did I want to know what it was singing? Certainly. It was a plea to Israel from the Arab people. The chorus was, 'We have the same father. Why do you treat us this way?' Who might the father be? I asked. 'Ibrahim
,' he said. 'The song is called Ismail and Isaac,' after his sons."
posted by artifex
on Sep 24, 2002 -
Catholics, Jews, Muslims - all three feel suddenly embattled and isolated
[nyt reg req] "This is a rare moment in history, like a planetary alignment: three world religions simultaneously racked by crisis....this confluence is highly unusual but not without precedent... — from 800 to 200 B.C., a period of tremendous violence and upheaval on many continents.... We could use this suffering to create wonderful new religious systems, as the Buddha did, or we could retreat into the spiritual barbarism of hatred ." Perhaps Karl Marx
was right that religion, like opium, results only in illusion and false hope.
posted by Voyageman
on Jun 13, 2002 -
An anthropology professor explores the common threads of fundamentalism ranging from Native American revivalism, Christian fundamentalism, the Islamic Movement, Jewish Orthodoxy and Shinto and how they give rise to vigilante groups such as Operation Rescue, American militias, Hamas and Gush Emunim.
posted by kliuless
on Sep 15, 2001 -