RNS photo courtesy Geltfiend (www.geltfiend.com)

Some Jews can’t get jazzed over Hanukkah

(RNS) Ayelet Waldman isn't shy about sharing her true feelings about the upcoming Jewish festival of lights. “I loathe Hanukkah,'' she says. She's not alone: Some Jews, tired of the “December Dilemma'' and competing with Christmas, would prefer to avoid all the fuss. By Beth Kissileff.

RNS photo by Sally Morrow

12 myths about Mormonism

SALT LAKE CITY (RNS) All those stories about Mitt Romney's White House bid and his Mormon faith educated millions of observant Americans about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Still, some “understandings” remain misunderstandings — and many views of the religion continue to be skewed, exaggerated or flat-out wrong. Here are 12 persistent myths about Mormonism. By Peggy Fletcher Stack.

RNS photo by Sally Morrow

Photo Slideshow: A View Inside a Mormon Service

Photographs of a Mormon service at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints РLenexa Ward on Sunday June 17, 2012 in Lenexa, Kan. These slideshows were created by Religion News Service to provide our readers with an inside look at various religious services. From a Catholic Mass to prayer at a mosque, these images help understand the culture and diversity of the religious world, as well as how people pray and celebrate their religion.  Photos by Sally Morrow / Religion News Service

Religion News Service 
photo courtesy of Saudi Information Office, Washington.

Pork-free vaccine wins cheers from Hajj pilgrims

(RNS) The nearly 3 million Muslims who will make next week’s annual hajj pilgrimage to the sacred Saudi Arabian city of Mecca are required to be vaccinated against meningitis. Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis claims to have developed, in 2010, the first anti-meningitis vaccine without pork, which Muslims are forbidden to consume under Islamic law. Many religious authorities have already certified the Menveo vaccine as “halal,” or permitted under Islamic law. Not all Muslims, however, believe the vaccine is truly halal. Anti-meningitis vaccine was developed in the 1930s, and pork derivatives were and remain an important part of the compound today.