Shana Tova * Meet the Khorasan * Textbook drama: Wednesday’s Roundup

Tonight is the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. Meet the Khorasans. Textbook dramas in Colorado and Texas.

A shofar, or ram's horn.
An illustration of a shofar, or ram's horn.

A shofar, or ram’s horn.

Tonight is the start of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. This is the time of year when Jews of all stripes, including the unaffiliated, flock to synagogue. (Another is Yom Kippur, which begins Oct. 3.)

Rabbi Jason Miller explains the peculiar system of paying for High Holy Day tickets.  “High Holiday tickets are really just a way for congregations to collect dues,” from regular shul-goers, he says.

Our own Lauren Markoe gets down to basics: If you’re Jewish, it’s the time of year to do some serious soul-searching. And while Jews aren’t required to make New Year’s resolutions, many do anyway.

And in case you’re counting, this new year is no. 5775.

Now what?

Just when we were getting used to ISIS, ISIL or simply IS, there’s a newcomer on the block–  a shadowy al-Qaida cell known as the Khorasan Group, which the U.S. bombed Tuesday. Questions? Time has you covered.

The BBC has a chilling piece on the systematic rape of Yazidi women by the Islamic State, including this quote:

“Every day or two, men would come and make us take off our headscarves so they could choose which of us they wanted. Women were dragged out of the house by their hair.”

Tensions flare

Anger spilled over Tuesday after fire destroyed one of two memorials on the street where Michael Brown was killed. The site had become sacred to many in Ferguson, Mo.

Catholic agonistes

If you’re like me, you may have been wondering where Jozef Wesolowski was holed up. Well, the Vatican arrested the former archbishop accused of paying for sex with children while he was a papal ambassador to the Dominican Republic. The arrest is pretty unprecedented: It’s the first-ever inside the city-state.

And, the nuns are at it. Again. A congregation of Catholic nuns that operates a Detroit high school signaled they will re-examine policies that led to the controversial firing of a gay teacher who said she was let go because she’s pregnant and not married (she’s a lesbian). But what will the bishops say?

 Textbook drama

Hundreds of students walked out of classrooms around suburban Denver to protest a conservative-led school board proposal to focus history education on topics that promote citizenship, patriotism and respect for authority.

Another textbook drama is unfolding in Texas where some critics charge that a new curriculum attempts to portray the U.S. as a unique “redeemer nation,” predestined among all others to act out God’s will.

Stating the obvious

Our own Cathy Lynn Grossman reports on two new polls that show evangelicals are losing market share in the culture and worried about religious freedom. But did we need two polls to tell us that?

Outed, almost

Stephen Colbert pushed U.S. Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA) to admit he’s an atheist, or perhaps an agnostic.

Colbert: …What is it? What is it? Are you an atheist?

Huffman: I–I don’t know…

Colbert: Agnostic then?

Huffman: Perhaps…

Colbert: What is an agnostic but an atheist without any balls?

Huffman: [Awkwardly nods]

Colbert: [Smiling] I see you’re choosing not to specify your response to that “Unspecified.” I’ll just put you down for heathen-slash-hellbound.

(Background: 10 members of Congress state their religious affiliation as “unspecified” but none will go so far as to say they’re unbelievers.)

Standing by her man

Kissing Congressman Vance McAllister got his wife, Kelly, to sit next to him for a campaign ad in which she forgives his betrayal and says she’s “blessed to have a husband who owns up to his mistakes.”

Rod Dreher had this to say:

“What is it with Kelly McAllister? I understand forgiving your husband his betrayal. But being his campaign prop, and bringing Jesus into it, for the sake of him holding on to his Congressional seat? Tacky, tacky.”

Happy news

Congregants at LaSalle Street Church in Chicago got a surprise this month: a check for $500, with instructions to go out and do something good with it. The money comes from a real estate windfall and the idea is to encourage members to use the money for good.

Another kind of surprise: Our own Jonathan Merritt writes about his father’s apology for spanking him and his brothers when they were children. James Merritt, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, sees spanking as more about anger than discipline. More importantly, he’s willing to say that the Bible doesn’t require it.

And on that repentant note, “Shana tova” y’all.


Donate to Support Independent Journalism!

Donate Now!