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[livejournal.com profile] rabjeff's synopsis of Arthur Green's talk on Abraham Joshua Heschel and Hasidism.

"For Heschel the most significant mitzvot are
  Feeding the poor, ending war, marching with MLK.
  These are spiritual acts, not just political.
  These are the acts for which we were created.

"Heschel’s God was very personal, but we must do the work for God."

Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] rabjeff at Arthur Green on Abraham Joshua Heschel and Hasidism
On Thursday evening I went to the Abraham Joshua Heschel School and heard a lecture by Arthur Green titled “What Heschel Learned From Hasidism.”  Green was a close student of Heschel when he was a rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary in the 1960s.  It was a brilliant talk, though I thought I would share what I managed to take down and remember.


Read more... )
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Rus Bowden via poetryandpoetsinrags.blogspot.com

"This April, Ayat al-Ghermezi (or Ayat al-Gormezi) was reported to have been raped and killed (http://poetryandpoetsinrags.blogspot.com/2011/04/poetic-obituaries-ayat-al-ghermezi-20.html) while in the custody of Bahraini forces. Bahrain is blaming the misinformation on Iran, but still and all, we find out that she is to come before a Bahrain military tribunal for reading poetry. This is our first story, and the first of a pair of headliners for the week.
"Our second story is about blogger and poet Amina Abdallah, who has both Syrian and American citizenship. Her blog is called A Gay Girl in Damascus (http://damascusgaygirl.blogspot.com/). She has been abducted by armed men, and the reports or fears are that this is an official Syrian arrest.

"Those two articles are followed by one of a Turkish mayor getting six months in prison for being part of the council that named a park after a poet. That's followed by a story on Chile's communist party looking into fresh allegations that Pablo Neruda was executed by poison for his politics. And it just doesn't seem to stop.

"The new martyrs are the poets. Apparently in some parts of the world, all over the world, there are religious people who think they can earn their halos by killing, harassing, maiming, or otherwise silencing poets. Somehow whatever sin they concoct for poets is much worse than any sin they themselves have committed or are wont to commit. It must make them feel close to God or Allah to kill or harm such a poet, because no remorse whatsoever is shown after their despicable acts. But it is only he who is without sin, who can cast the first stone. That's common sense. Do it otherwise, and it makes no difference who you are or what position you hold, whatever sin you thought was in the poet, yours is much worse.

"This same principal follows when poets are abducted, detained, imprisoned, tortured, or killed for political reasons, whether it be by a political group which feels it ought to be in power, or one that is. If an ideology cannot withstand a poem, such ideology amounts to nothing. If a military power or a government structure is threatened by a poem, there is no power beyond arms, and there is no government beyond threats. A government or political movement that is so threatened by a poem, or even a whole poet, such that the poet is abducted or killed for the sake of a nation, or even threatened with military might, is a tyrannical government, or a movement based on the selfish egos giving it power.

"Therefore, one great measure of a good government and a healthy society is the amount of latitude poets are given, and, on the other hand, how few people are in prisons because of poems they wrote. This follows for religions. The better the religion, the less poets are being condemned, not disagreed with, but condemned."

 

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Media_httpgraphics8ny_rajez

Some of the income differences probably stem from culture. Some faiths place great importance on formal education. But the differences are also self-reinforcing. People who make more money can send their children to better schools, exacerbating the many advantages they have over poorer children.

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Joanna Molloy
 


Boy donates bar mitzvah money to help 'Liberty' musical make it to Broadway


Joanna Molloy

Wednesday, April 6th 2011, 4:00 AM

 
 

Jesse Naranjo (c.) stands with his mother Rachel, father Rodrigo, and sister Sophia. He donated all of his bar mitzvah money.

Adams for News

Jesse Naranjo (c.) stands with his mother Rachel, father Rodrigo, and sister Sophia. He donated all of his bar mitzvah money.
 

 
 

 
 

Read the entire article on nydailynews.com

"A lot of people aren't familiar with the story of how the Statue of Liberty came to the U.S., and I learned about it from this musical, not from school," Jesse said.
 
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In "A Hanukkah Project: Daniel Libeskind's Line of Fire"  40 hanukkiot (Hanukkah menorahs) selected by curator Susan Braunstein from The Jewish Museum's permanent collection of over 500 hanukkiot are displayed on a stand designed by architect Daniel Libeskind.


Read the entire article and view a slideshow of the exhibited hanukkiot.


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Christian churches and Jewish synagogues rely on very different financing models, yet both “appear to raise about the same amount per member,” according to a survey conducted by the Jewish newspaper The Forward (article by Josh Nathan-Kazis).  While synagogue members pay annual dues, churches rely primarily on voluntary donations from members.

The Forward interviewed church and synagogue officials at institutions in Atlanta, Boston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York, and Tulsa.  Consider a comparison between a Conservative Jewish synagogue in Atlanta (Ahavath Achim) and an Episcopalian church in Manhattan (Church of the Heavenly Rest):

The two congregations are broadly comparable: Both serve slightly more than 1,000 middle- and upper-middle class households, have a multimillion-dollar endowment, employ about a dozen people and operate on an annual budget of $2.7 million.

Both draw around half their income from regular fees paid by members. But, like virtually all American churches, Heavenly Rest does not charge dues. Like most synagogues, Ahavath Achim does.

At Ahavath Achim, those fees are assigned by the synagogue, with each family paying up to $2,100 per year. Annual pledges at Heavenly Rest? As much, or as little, as you can give. While only one-third of member families participate in the church’s annual pledge drive, those that do give an average of $2,700 — far more than the cost of dues at Ahavath Achim.

So one big difference between the two models is that giving in churches is much less evenly distributed than in synagogues. That said, a significant number of synagogue members give extra, as the charts below (where the orange represents voluntary giving) demonstrate.  In fact, the executive director of a Conservative synagogue in Boston estimates that 95 percent of members give more than required.

DESCRIPTION
DESCRIPTIONGraphs courtesy of the Forward.

Given how easy it is to attend church services without donating anything at all, it’s interesting that members of Christian churches give so generously. Do they do it for the “warm glow,” or do churches have a different, less obvious, means of persuading people to donate?

The Forward has also put together some interesting statistics on how churches and synagogues spend their money. Here’s a preview: your parents will probably worry less if you become a rabbi than a priest …

Dwyer Gunn is editor of the Freakonomics blog. Follow @freakonomics on Twitter.

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Read the interview on time.com

And then Noa corrected herself. She said, "No, Mom, hope will find you." I gasped when Noa said "hope will find you." I lost my breath. Because I had been trying for so long to hold onto hope or to grasp for hope, but my wise child was telling me I didn't have to try so hard or hold on so desperately. She was telling me to relax and let hope in, like a kind of grace. Noa was telling me hope was looking for me. That hope would track us all down.

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By: Lea Winerman

Despite their religious faith, many Americans are ignorant of key facts about their own and other world religions, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

In a survey of 32 religious knowledge questions, Americans on average answered 16 correctly, the surveyors found. Fewer than half of respondents, for example, could identify the four gospels as Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Only 47 percent knew that the Dalai Lama was Buddhist, and 55 percent knew that the "golden rule" was not one of the Ten Commandments.

You can read the full report (PDF)] and test your own knowledge in a quiz on the Pew Forum's website.

In a perhaps counterintuitive finding, the researchers discovered that atheists and agnostics generally know more about religion than people who profess a belief. Atheists and agnostics, on average, answered 20.9 questions correctly. Dave Silverman, president of the advocacy group American Atheists, told The New York Times that he was not surprised by that.

"I have heard many times that atheists know more about religion than religious people," he said. "Atheism is an effect of that knowledge, not a lack of knowledge. I gave a Bible to my daughter. That's how you make atheists."

Atheists and agnostics were closely followed in religious knowledge by Jews, who answered 20.5 questions correctly on average, and Mormons, who averaged 20.3. Protestants averaged 16 correct answers; Catholics averaged 14.7.

Education level explained some of the difference between the groups -- people with more education got more questions correct -- but the differences persisted even after the researchers controlled for education level.

Respondents were generally more knowledgeable about their own religion than about other religions, but still had significant gaps even there. More than half of Protestants (53 percent) could not identify Martin Luther as the man whose teachings inspired the Protestant reformation. And 45 percent of Catholics did not know that that the Catholic Church teaches that the communion bread and wine actually become -- not just symbolize -- the body and blood of Christ.

Americans were also confused about the intersection between religion and public life in the U.S., and where lines are drawn in the separation of church and state. Most people (89 percent) knew that public school teachers could not lead a classroom prayer. But only 23 percent realized that a public school teachers are allowed to teach the Bible as literature in the classroom.

"This study gives convincing proof that Americans may be deeply committed to faith, but that commitment comes most from the heart, not the head," Michael Lindsay, a religion sociologist at Rice University, told the Dallas Morning News.

But not every analyst is convinced that the results are so significant. Politics Daily correspondent Jeffrey Weiss, a longtime religion reporter, writes that too many of the question seem to come from something like "a religion version of Trivial Pursuit. Too many check the recognition of names or facts without offering much obvious insight into how people understand their faith or the faith of others."

He also allows, though, that "one can make the case that someone who doesn't know some of the basic names and facts about a faith probably doesn't understand the essentials of that belief.

I took the quiz and got a perfect score.

Posted via email from davidfcooper's posterous

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By: Lea Winerman

Despite their religious faith, many Americans are ignorant of key facts about their own and other world religions, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

In a survey of 32 religious knowledge questions, Americans on average answered 16 correctly, the surveyors found. Fewer than half of respondents, for example, could identify the four gospels as Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Only 47 percent knew that the Dalai Lama was Buddhist, and 55 percent knew that the "golden rule" was not one of the Ten Commandments.

You can read the full report (PDF)] and test your own knowledge in a quiz on the Pew Forum's website.

In a perhaps counterintuitive finding, the researchers discovered that atheists and agnostics generally know more about religion than people who profess a belief. Atheists and agnostics, on average, answered 20.9 questions correctly. Dave Silverman, president of the advocacy group American Atheists, told The New York Times that he was not surprised by that.

"I have heard many times that atheists know more about religion than religious people," he said. "Atheism is an effect of that knowledge, not a lack of knowledge. I gave a Bible to my daughter. That's how you make atheists."

Atheists and agnostics were closely followed in religious knowledge by Jews, who answered 20.5 questions correctly on average, and Mormons, who averaged 20.3. Protestants averaged 16 correct answers; Catholics averaged 14.7.

Education level explained some of the difference between the groups -- people with more education got more questions correct -- but the differences persisted even after the researchers controlled for education level.

Respondents were generally more knowledgeable about their own religion than about other religions, but still had significant gaps even there. More than half of Protestants (53 percent) could not identify Martin Luther as the man whose teachings inspired the Protestant reformation. And 45 percent of Catholics did not know that that the Catholic Church teaches that the communion bread and wine actually become -- not just symbolize -- the body and blood of Christ.

Americans were also confused about the intersection between religion and public life in the U.S., and where lines are drawn in the separation of church and state. Most people (89 percent) knew that public school teachers could not lead a classroom prayer. But only 23 percent realized that a public school teachers are allowed to teach the Bible as literature in the classroom.

"This study gives convincing proof that Americans may be deeply committed to faith, but that commitment comes most from the heart, not the head," Michael Lindsay, a religion sociologist at Rice University, told the Dallas Morning News.

But not every analyst is convinced that the results are so significant. Politics Daily correspondent Jeffrey Weiss, a longtime religion reporter, writes that too many of the question seem to come from something like "a religion version of Trivial Pursuit. Too many check the recognition of names or facts without offering much obvious insight into how people understand their faith or the faith of others."

He also allows, though, that "one can make the case that someone who doesn't know some of the basic names and facts about a faith probably doesn't understand the essentials of that belief.

I took the quiz and got a perfect score.

Posted via email from davidfcooper's posterous

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Prayers and Learning: Muslim delegates (above) chant their afternoon prayers before the main monument at Dachau, during a visit by North American Muslim leaders to Nazi concentration camps. Max Mannheimer, 90, who survived Auschwitz and Dachau, shows the delegates the number imprinted on his arm as he recounts his war- time experience.
PHOTOS: A.J. GOLDMANN
Prayers and Learning: Muslim delegates (above) chant their afternoon prayers before the main monument at Dachau, during a visit by North American Muslim leaders to Nazi concentration camps. Max Mannheimer, 90, who survived Auschwitz and Dachau, shows the delegates the number imprinted on his arm as he recounts his war- time experience.

Read the article on forward.com

Posted via email from davidfcooper's posterous

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Prayers and Learning: Muslim delegates (above) chant their afternoon prayers before the main monument at Dachau, during a visit by North American Muslim leaders to Nazi concentration camps. Max Mannheimer, 90, who survived Auschwitz and Dachau, shows the delegates the number imprinted on his arm as he recounts his war- time experience.
PHOTOS: A.J. GOLDMANN
Prayers and Learning: Muslim delegates (above) chant their afternoon prayers before the main monument at Dachau, during a visit by North American Muslim leaders to Nazi concentration camps. Max Mannheimer, 90, who survived Auschwitz and Dachau, shows the delegates the number imprinted on his arm as he recounts his war- time experience.

Read the article on forward.com

Posted via email from davidfcooper's posterous

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To read the article click here

Yesterday was Tisha B'Av, the saddest day in the Jewish calendar. But six days after Tisha B'Av we celebrate Tu B'Av, the Jewish love holiday. Although the holiday starts Sunday evening July 25th and ends Monday night July 26th, two Tu B'Av parties will be held on Tuesday night July 27, 2010, one in Brooklyn and another in Manhattan.

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To read the article click here

Yesterday was Tisha B'Av, the saddest day in the Jewish calendar. But six days after Tisha B'Av we celebrate Tu B'Av, the Jewish love holiday. Although the holiday starts Sunday evening July 25th and ends Monday night July 26th, two Tu B'Av parties will be held on Tuesday night July 27, 2010, one in Brooklyn and another in Manhattan.

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