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Ira Rifkin

Ira Rifkin is an author at Religion News Service.

All Stories by Ira Rifkin

As Dalai Lama turns 85, his lineage’s future is as uncertain as Tibet’s

By Ira Rifkin — July 6, 2020
(RNS) — As the Tibetan Buddhist leader ages, a confrontation with China over the legitimacy of his successor looms.

A spiritual icon to the Boomers, Ram Dass was godfather to the ‘nones’

By Ira Rifkin — December 23, 2019
(RNS) — One of the spiritual teacher's great gifts was his great willingness to share his imperfections with the world and his ability to laugh about them.

The Dalai Lama teaches a lesson on rethinking our faith traditions

By Ira Rifkin — November 27, 2019
(RNS) — Tibetan Buddhism's leader recently called to end the prominence of reincarnated lamas, a model for religious leaders who cling to entrenched modes of thinking.

As Kabbalah Goes Mainstream, Not Everyone’s Happy

By Ira Rifkin — January 12, 2007
c. 2007 Religion News Service SAN DIEGO _ Madonna may be Kabbalah’s most visible non-Jewish exponent, but she’s hardly the only one. Globally, more non-Jews than Jews are studying Judaism’s once-secret mystical tradition, experts say, prompting a growing debate among Jewish scholars and religious leaders over the appropriateness of the rapidly spreading phenomenon. Some worry […]

Methodists Hire Rabbi for Spiritual Renewal

By Ira Rifkin — October 20, 2006
c. 2006 Religion News Service COLUMBIA, Md. _ Each Thursday, staff members of the United Methodist Church’s Baltimore-Washington Conference gather at their offices here for a lunch-hour Bible study class. Lately, those classes have taken on a distinctly different tone. That’s because they are now led by a Jewish rabbi, part of an unconventional effort […]

Orthodox Jews Fight Over Who Owns the Middle Ground

By Ira Rifkin — September 14, 2006
c. 2006 Religion News Service NEW YORK _ Yet another permutation of the culture war convulsing religions worldwide has surfaced, this time within American Orthodox Judaism. It’s a struggle for dominance between those who see traditional faith as fully compatible with contemporary culture and those who reject the culture and prefer to live apart. So […]

Orthodox Jews Fight Over Who Owns the Middle Ground

By Ira Rifkin — September 14, 2006
c. 2006 Religion News Service NEW YORK _ Yet another permutation of the culture war convulsing religions worldwide has surfaced, this time within American Orthodox Judaism. It’s a struggle for dominance between those who see traditional faith as fully compatible with contemporary culture and those who reject the culture and prefer to live apart. So […]

Orthodox Jews Fight Over Who Owns the Middle Ground

By Ira Rifkin — September 14, 2006
c. 2006 Religion News Service NEW YORK _ Yet another permutation of the culture war convulsing religions worldwide has surfaced, this time within American Orthodox Judaism. It’s a struggle for dominance between those who see traditional faith as fully compatible with contemporary culture and those who reject the culture and prefer to live apart. So […]

Orthodox Jews Fight Over Who Owns the Middle Ground

By Ira Rifkin — September 14, 2006
c. 2006 Religion News Service NEW YORK _ Yet another permutation of the culture war convulsing religions worldwide has surfaced, this time within American Orthodox Judaism. It’s a struggle for dominance between those who see traditional faith as fully compatible with contemporary culture and those who reject the culture and prefer to live apart. So […]

COMMENTARY: In Defense of a Once-Violent Tribe Depicted in Film

By Ira Rifkin — January 28, 2006
c. 2006 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Israel has thousands of articulate defenders, hence the many critical essays about Steven Spielberg’s characterization of Israeli agents in his new film, “Munich.” But the Waodani, the once-murderous South American tribe portrayed in “End of the Spear,” lack such international support. So let me offer a partial defense on […]

NEWS STORY: Religion journalists name Protestant Reformation millennium’s top story

By Ira Rifkin — December 2, 1999
c. 1999 Religion News Service UNDATED _ The Protestant Reformation was selected as the top religion story of the second Christian millennium by members of the Religion Newswriters Association, who also voted the Holocaust the 20th century’s leading news event. In 1517, the rebellious German priest Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses condemning Rome’s practice […]

NEWS STORY: Muslim demonstrators urge end to Russian offensive in Chechnya

By Ira Rifkin — November 19, 1999
c. 1999 Religion News Service WASHINGTON _ As Russian jets and artillery pieces continued their relentless pounding of his homeland Thursday (Nov. 18), Lyoma Usmanov waged his own rhetorical war in support of Chechnya on a downtown Washington sidewalk, handing out flyers and explaining to passersby his analysis of the latest chapter in his nation’s […]

NEWS FEATURE: Jesus Seminar faces an uncertain future

By Ira Rifkin — November 3, 1999
c. 1999 Religion News Service SANTA ROSA, Calif. _ In 1985, an iconoclastic group of Bible scholars with a flair for controversy formed the Jesus Seminar to recover the historical Jesus of Nazareth they said was hidden beneath the layers of mythology attached to him in the 2,000 years since his crucifixion. Breaking the academic […]

NEWS FEATURE: Christian conservatives reconsider Y2K disaster warnings

By Ira Rifkin — October 27, 1999
c. 1999 Religion News Service UNDATED _ As 1998 drew to a close and the nation suddenly became awash in predictions of possible Year 2000 computer meltdowns, nowhere was the doom and gloom more prevalent than among conservative Christians. Radio and television programs, Web sites and book publishers catering to evangelical and Pentecostal Christians warned […]

NEWS STORY: American Muslims urge Disney boycott over Jerusalem exhibit

By Ira Rifkin — September 22, 1999
c. 1999 Religion News Service WASHINGTON _ The Walt Disney Co. is getting a firsthand lesson in just how small the world has become, thanks to a controversial Jerusalem exhibit at Disney World’s Epcot park that has brought the bitterness of Middle East politics to Orlando, Fla. American-Muslim groups have called for a boycott of […]
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