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c. 2004 Religion News Service Editors: Check the RNS photo Web site at http://religionnews.com for photos to accompany this first item. Database of Holocaust Victims Unveiled, Accessible Online JERUSALEM (RNS) Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority, launched its much-awaited central database of Holocaust victims Monday (Nov. 22). Its goal is to register as many additional names as possible before the information is gone forever.

NEWS FEATURE: Grande Dame of the Authentic Jewish Kitchen Serves Up New Recipes for Holidays

c. 2004 Religion News Service MANCHESTER, N.H. _ When growing up, cookbook author Joan Nathan would go each year to her Aunt Lisl’s house during Hanukkah to make butter cookies decorated with blue-colored sugar. Today, Nathan, 61, has made Aunt Lisl’s prized recipe _ and hundreds of others _ available to a new generation of Jewish cooks as they prepare holiday meals with their friends and families. Nathan, the grande dame of the Jewish culinary world, educated Jewish epicures 25 years ago with her book “The Jewish Holiday Kitchen.” This year, just in time for Hanukkah (which begins Dec. 7), Nathan has updated her classic recipes in “Joan Nathan’s Holiday Cookbook” (Schocken Books).

NEWS STORY: Clerics Aim to Expand Values Issues Beyond Conservative Definitions

c. 2004 Religion News Service WASHINGTON _ Twenty-four religious leaders have announced a nationwide effort to expand the political debate on values beyond abortion and gay marriage to incorporate subjects such as housing, education and crime control. The clergy, most of them politically liberal to moderate, have joined together under a “New Voices Campaign,” unveiled Thursday (Nov. 18). They are united by the belief that the 2004 presidential and congressional campaigns were dominated by discussions about divisive cultural issues that have little to do with the quality of life of the people their churches serve.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2004 Religion News Service Editors: Check the RNS photo Web site at http://religionnews.com for photos of the Graham crusade to accompany the following story. Graham Utilizes Technology to Preach in Multiple Languages PASADENA, Calif. (RNS) Evangelist Billy Graham has always gone to extraordinary efforts to communicate his message. But his four-day California crusade is being instantly interpreted into an unprecedented 26 languages, including sign language.

NEWS FEATURE: Martyred Father to Become Orthodox Saint; Son Rejoices

c. 2004 Religion News Service PARMA, Ohio _ It had all the makings of a classic Balkans tragedy. A father survives the Nazis, but is executed for his faith by the Communists. The son, surviving on a young boy’s memories of a loving parent, must deny the father publicly lest the same authorities put him to death. After immigrating to America, the Rev. Vasilije Sokolovic continued to be haunted by all that he did not know of the fate of his father, who was dumped in a shallow grave in an unmarked field in Serbia in 1945.

COMMENTARY: In Election of New Leaders, The Bishops Tell the Truth About Themselves

c. 2004 Religion News Service (UNDATED) It may help, but you need not be an artist or a psychologist to grasp the fundamentals of human communication. Beneath denials and evasions, people still try to tell us the truth about themselves. America’s Catholic bishops told the truth about themselves as they elected new officers this week at their semiannual meeting in Washington. First, they showed how like ordinary Americans they are, because they used fancy electronic keypads, instead of old paper ballots, to elect a new president with just a little over half the vote.

BOOK REVIEWS: Spirituality on Campus, in Jewish Ritual and in the Nation’s Founding

c. 2004 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Several new books mine the rich ores of American religion, examining topics from spirituality at colleges to traditions of the Jewish year. Each volume is distinguished by the attention to detail provided by its author or translator. In “The Book of Customs (HarperSanFrancisco),” Scott-Martin Kosofsky offers a modernized guidebook to the texts, rituals and liturgies of Judaism. Included is everything from the days of the week to life’s major milestones such as weddings and births.

BOOK REVIEWS: Crusades Examined in New Light, But Not Enough Light

c. 2004 Religion News Service (UNDATED) “The First Crusade: A New History,” by Thomas Asbridge (Oxford University Press, 408 pages, $35) The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks brought into high profile the sometimes tension-fraught relationship between Islam and Christianity. In the United States, where religious diversity and pluralism were not real factors until the last decades of the 20th century, the long and complex history of the interaction between the two faiths has been little known and even less understood. That could have made Thomas Asbridge’s new book, “The First Crusade: A New History,” a valuable contribution to the post-Sept.

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c. 2004 Religion News Service Presbyterians Fire Two Officials After Hezbollah Meeting (RNS) Two officials of the Presbyterian Church (USA) who were part of a controversial delegation that met with Hezbollah officials in Lebanon have been fired. Church officials, however, would not say if the firings of Kathy Lueckert and the Rev. Peter Sulyok were related to the Middle East visit. After angry criticism from Jewish groups, church leaders called the visit “misguided at best” and said statements by the alleged terrorist group were “reprehensible.” The firings were announced on Nov. 11 by John Detterick, executive director of the church’s General Assembly Council (GAC), which acts as the church’s board of directors.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2004 Religion News Service Presbyterians Fire Two Officials After Hezbollah Meeting (RNS) Two officials of the Presbyterian Church (USA) who were part of a controversial delegation that met with Hezbollah officials in Lebanon have been fired. Church officials, however, would not say if the firings of Kathy Lueckert and the Rev. Peter Sulyok were related to the Middle East visit. After angry criticism from Jewish groups, church leaders called the visit “misguided at best” and said statements by the alleged terrorist group were “reprehensible.” The firings were announced on Nov. 11 by John Detterick, executive director of the church’s General Assembly Council (GAC), which acts as the church’s board of directors.

NEWS STORY: Racially Diverse Faith Coalitions Oppose Gay Marriage, Tackle Other Issues

c. 2004 Religion News Service (UNDATED) With the results of the election fresh on his mind, Pastor Ken Friendly called a meeting of black and white ministers in Anchorage, Alaska, to discuss forming a chapter of the Traditional Values Coalition. The African-American pastor of Lighthouse Christian Fellowship said the group will ensure that his state’s legislators and school board members hear the racially diverse voices of religious conservatives. “I don’t care if a person is polka-dot,” said Friendly, who expects to move beyond an anti-gay marriage agenda to address helping children who are homeless or fatherless. “If they’re concerned about the will of God being done, then that’s who this group is for.” Fired up by pre-election summits and rallies and invigorated by election results, some African-American and Hispanic religious leaders say they’re ready to join their white evangelical brethren to support traditional marriage and work on issues ranging from judicial nominations to improved adoption procedures.

COMMENTARY: Back When Slides Were the Photographic Rage

c. 2004 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Marcia and I recently girded ourselves with steely determination and spent hours viewing our huge collection of old 35 millimeter color slides. We were like archaeologists digging up the past because many of the slides were decades old. Surprisingly, looking at them after years of neglect was an emotional and spiritual adventure. But for younger readers asking, “what’s a slide?” some words of explanation are due.

NEWS STORY: Catholic Bishops Vote to Join New Ecumenical Movement

c. 2004 Religion News Service WASHINGTON _ The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops on Wednesday (Nov. 17) gave their blessing to a new broad-based effort to bring Catholics, evangelical and mainline Protestants, and Orthodox Christians around a common table for the first time. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voted 151-73 in a meeting here to become full partners in Christian Churches Together in the USA, a fledgling ecumenical effort that began three years ago to allow most branches of American Christianity to speak with a common voice. Organizers hope to have the new group off the ground by next spring once member churches from each of five “families” _ Catholic, evangelical/Pentecostal, historic (mainline) Protestant, black and Hispanic, and Orthodox _ sign on.

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c. 2004 Religion News Service Cardinal Says Abortion and Social Justice Are Not `Competing Causes’ WASHINGTON (RNS) Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, who has overseen the Catholic Church’s relationship with dissenting politicians, says opposition to abortion and support of social justice cannot be “competing causes” in the church’s political life. McCarrick, chairman of a task force on the church’s relationship with politicians, spoke two weeks after an election in which conservative and progressive Catholics competed to highlight opposition to abortion and the church’s extensive teaching on social concerns as paramount. “The treatment of `the least of these’ beginning with unborn children and including all those who suffer in our nation and our world are at the heart of our mission in public life,” McCarrick said in a written report given to bishops Wednesday (Nov. 17) at their annual meeting here.

NEWS STORY: With Death of Arafat, Muslims and Jews Look Forward

c. 2004 Religion News Service (UNDATED) American Jews and Muslims reflect differently on the life and leadership of Yasser Arafat, but they agree that following his death, a new era of leadership, one that will unify Palestinians and reinvigorate the peace process, is needed. Arafat, 75, died Thursday. For many American Muslims, the leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and the Palestinian National Authority was the pioneer and icon of Palestinian self-determination and independence during years of struggle and violence between Palestinians and Israelis. For American Jews, however, he represented violent opposition to the state of Israel’s very existence, and broken promises of peace.