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April 2016

Featuring Ruth Broyde Sharone

If ‘interfaith’ is considered a big tent, you might say it covers the whole of humankind and our relationships, includes indeed all that lives, according to so many traditions. The 21st century really is different because we’re much more connected with each other, and our networks grow each day. So many changes in a few years, so many strangers who’ve become friends!

Varanasi Now and Forever

“There is hardly any city in the world that can claim greater antiquity, greater continuity, and greater popularity than Banaras (the British name for Varanasi). Banaras has been a holy city for at least 30 centuries. No city in India arouses the emotions of Hindus as much as Kasi does.” (Varanasi’s name in Hindu religious literature)

In the Face of Proselytizing

Messianic Judaism is a Biblically based movement of Jews who believe in Jesus as the Jewish Messiah of Israel. According to web statistics, from 2003 to 2007, the number of Messianic houses of worship in the United States grew from 150 to as many as 438, with over 100 in Israel and more worldwide. As of 2012, population estimates for the United States were between 175,000 and 250,000 members, for Israel, between 10,000 and 20,000 members, and an estimated total worldwide membership of 350,000.

Going to the Heart of Interfaith on Song

I admit, I shouldn’t have been rendered speechless when Ruth Broyde Sharone told me, nearly two years ago, that she was working on a new project: “INTERFAITH: The Musical.” I was stunned, finally murmuring, “A musical?!” Was she foolish or fearless or, probably, both?

The Sacred Power of Indigenous Women Threatened

We were about to begin a workshop entitled “The Sacred Power of Women” at the Dialogo Multicultural Universal in Guadalajara, Mexico last month. I had been asked to facilitate a panel of four accomplished, powerful women. Laura, an American-Samoan Latter Day Saint, is a businesswoman and philanthropist. Yonina, an Argentinean writer and publisher, was a Hindu nun for nine years. Evelina is an Ecuadorian anthropologist, lawyer, and historian. And Patti, a local Indigenous leader of Irish-Mexican heritage, is a teacher and performer of sacred ritual dance.

Laurie Zoloth Calls American Academy of Religion to Account

In an impassioned, eloquent plea in San Diego last month, Laurie Zoloth, newly appointed 2014 president of the Academy of American Religion (AAR), called for a conscious “interruption” in our lives to take into account the dire climate crisis and to make substantial changes in our daily behavior.

Climate and the People: September 19-23, New York City

Sunday, September 21, 2014, the UN International Day of Peace. The sky was clear, the sun shining, and the air was vibrating with excitement. You could sense an unmistakable whiff of history-in-the-making. Soon mid-town Manhattan would become a rolling wave of humanity, a moving festival of people of every age, race, ethnicity, nationality, and belief. Most wore casual attire, some religious garb, and others chose colorful costumes and body paint. An impressive assortment of headgear showed up as well: hijabs, turbans, kippas, garlands, feathers, panama hats, and baseball caps.

A Personal Reminiscence of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, 89, died this past July 3. Ordained as an Orthodox rabbi in 1947, he went on to become the founder of Jewish Renewal and a champion of interfaith relations and collaboration. He was well known for his mystical perspective, liturgical innovations, and explorations of Hasidism. In over a dozen books he championed the practice of spiritual direction and supported the Gaia hypothesis, ecology, feminism, and the LGBTQ community. Greatly loved as a teacher, he held emeriti professorships at Naropa University and Temple University. His close friendships included the Dalai Lama, Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, Matthew Fox, Thomas Merton, Bernie Glassman, Swami Satchidananda, and Ram Dass.

Encountering Sikhism far from Home

Langar, the Golden Temple, Egalitarianism, and the Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji

A Mystic Vision with a Social Conscience

Marianne Williamson – A Profile