RNS photo courtesy Anat Hoffman

Israel agrees to recognize non-Orthodox rabbis

JERUSALEM (RNS) The Israeli government's decision to pay the salaries of 16 non-Orthodox rabbis has thrilled Reform and Conservative Jews both in Israel and abroad. At the same time, it has instilled fear in the country's ultra-Orthodox, who say non-Orthodox Judaism isn't Judaism at all. By Michele Chabin.

Sidebar: For female clergy, respect often has to be earned

REPUBLIC, Mo. (RNS) Although attitudes have improved in recent years, it’s still common for women clergy to field doubts about their legitimacy. The first time a church hires a women as pastor can be uncomfortable for both the woman and the congregation, said The Rev. Melissa St. Clair, senior pastor at Republic First Christian Church in the small southwestern Missouri town of Republic. She was the first woman to lead the church in this town of about 15,000 people.

RNS photo by Sally Morrow

Stained glass ceiling remains a hurdle for female clergy

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (RNS) Jennifer Harris Dault and her husband Allyn share more than marriage. Earlier this month they joined hundreds of other students graduating from the nation’s more than 220 seminaries with masters in divinity degrees. But as the only woman graduate at Central Baptist Theological Seminary — out of a class of eight master of divinity students — the 29-year-old Jennifer Dault knows getting hired as a pastor likely won’t be easy. “Being a woman, chances are that he (Allyn) will find a job before me, and I want him to have those opportunities,” Jennifer said.

RNS photo courtesy Santa Monica Bal Kendra

Parents take teaching Hinduism into their own hands

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (RNS) When Mudita Bahadur started looking for excuses not to take her children on a 45-minute trip to the Hindu temple every Sunday, she knew she had to make a change. So Bahadur and other parents decided to take their children's religious education into their own hands. By Megan Sweas.

Pope Benedict XVI praises American nuns

VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI thanked American nuns for their “fidelity and self-sacrifice” in a speech to U.S. bishops in Rome. He also praised the American church’s efforts in favor of immigration reform. By Alessandro Speciale.

RNS photo courtesy Gerald McDermott

Stuttering clergy spread the Word

(RNS) A stuttering priest can sound like the beginning of a bad joke, but clergy who stutter are increasingly willing to talk about their stuttering, and how a profession that rewards particularly inspiring speech can be open to those with speech impediments. By Lauren Markoe.

RNS photo courtesy Archdiocese of Philadelphia

Philly archbishop clears 3 priests, removes 5 others

(RNS) Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput said Friday that five priests accused of sexually abusing children last year would be barred from ministry and could be defrocked, while three others were cleared by a church-led investigation and could return to pastoral work. By David Gibson.

RNS photo by Ron Csillag

Arctic Christians get first complete Inuit Bible

TORONTO (RNS) Later this spring, an entire Bible in Inuktitut, the language of Inuit people and the most widely spoken aboriginal tongue in Canada's Arctic, will be dedicated at an igloo-shaped church in Nunavut, an autonomous region carved out of the Northwest Territories in 1999. By Ron Csillag.