First, a happy new year to all of RNS’ Jewish readers! Shana tova umetuka.
I’m not the only one to say it. So did the new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. He wished “all Jews” a “blessed Rosh Hashanah” on his English-language Twitter account.
Michelle Boorstein at The Washington Post writes about the 33 Jewish members of Congress and how they’re celebrating the High Holidays.
The New York Times carried a story yesterday about Karaite Jews, a tiny sect that split from rabbinical Judaism more than 1,000 years ago, rejecting the binding nature of the oral law and the rabbinical interpretations. Apparently, they’re experiencing a revival.
And over at NPR, Joanna Kakissis reports on the rise of the extreme right Golden Dawn Party whose members blame “Jewish bankers” for the country’s debt crisis. They’re scaring the tiny Jewish community of Thessaloniki that number about 1,500 Greek Jews.
RNS alumnus Dan Burke says the battle lines in the Syrian civil war are being drawn along sectarian —that is, religious — lines, pitting Alawites, Shites and Sunnis.
As for Christians, Geoff Tunnicliffe, secretary general/CEO of the World Evangelical Alliance, told the State Department that Christians in the Middle East oppose military intervention in Syria.
This just in: Evangelicals on these shores oppose Syrian strikes too, according to Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals.
And Pope Francis. He plans to host a day of fasting and prayer for peace this weekend including a four-hour vigil Saturday night in St. Peter’s Square.
And he’s written to the Group of 20, including G-20 host, Russian President Vladimir Putin, asking that they abandon the “futile pursuit” of a military solution in Syria.
Meanwhile, Syrian rebels launched an assault on the ancient Christian village of Maaloula.
More than 6 million unsafe abortions take place each year in Africa, resulting in 29,000 maternal deaths, according to the World Health Organization. Our man in Kenya, Frederick Nzwili, looks at the state of abortion, which is mostly banned across the continent, with four exceptions.
Malaysia has barred a performance by the American heavy metal band Lamb of God after Islamic officials said the Grammy-nominated group’s work was blasphemous.
Justices in Massachusetts are looking at whether the Pledge of Allegiance’s “under God,” phrase violates the equal rights amendment in the state’s constitution, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of creed.
Christian blogger John Shore and Wayne Besen have launched NALT, the Not All Christians Are Like That Project. Based on the format of the Dan Savage “It Gets Better” campaign, the website is a platform for Christians who want to send a direct message of welcome and acceptance to the LGBT community.
It’s a bad sign when you get into a shouting match with voters. Anthony Wiener defended himself after a customer at Weiss Family Bakery in Brooklyn called Weiner an obscene name and slammed him as “married to an Arab.”
“Where do you get the morality to judge me? Do you know who judges me? Not you. You don’t get to judge me because you have shown no sign you are superior to me, and you are not my God.”
And finally, one North Carolina congregation caused a firestorm when a lead pastor requested “only white people” serve as greeters. No, it’s not what it seems. Turns out, the pastor is African American and she wanted to attract more white worshippers to her chu rch, Freedom House.
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