How sacred images in many Asian cultures incorporate divine presence and make them come ‘alive’

By Michael Naparstek — December 6, 2023
(The Conversation) — Through the power of rituals, inanimate objects can be understood to transform into agents who can see, hear, taste and respond to the concerns of those who worship them.

When is St. Nicholas Day? And how did this Christian saint inspire the Santa Claus legend?

By Luis Andres Henao — December 6, 2023
NEW YORK (AP) — The legends surrounding jolly old St. Nicholas — celebrated annually on Dec. 6 — go way beyond delivering candy and toys to children.

A new Homeland Security guide aims to help houses of worship protect themselves

By Rebecca Santana — December 6, 2023
WASHINGTON (AP) — The guidance comes at a time of deep unease in many communities of faith across America.

Hanukkah message of light in darkness feels uniquely relevant to US Jews amid war, antisemitism

By Giovanna Dell'orto — December 6, 2023
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Many feel that having a joyful Hanukkah is another way to show defiance to terror — even though most will include in their family celebration somber prayers for the hostages still held by Hamas.

Bishop Curry hospitalized for brain bleeding after fall in Syracuse

By Fiona André — December 5, 2023
(RNS) — Bishop Michael Curry has been hospitalized twice previously this year for internal bleeding and heart conditions. 

Parties canceled. Celebrations toned down. Hanukkah won’t be the same this year.

By Yonat Shimron — December 5, 2023
(RNS) — With the Israeli military in the midst of a destructive showdown in its war with Hamas, many U.S. Jews aren’t in the mood for triumphant Hanukkah cheer.

Display your Hanukkah menorah!

By Jeffrey Salkin — December 5, 2023
(RNS) — More than ever before. It’s that important.

Vatican to unveil Nativity scene celebrating the 800th anniversary of the crèche

By Claire Giangravé — December 5, 2023
(RNS) — The first crèche was created by St. Francis of Assisi in 1223.

When can the pope fire a bishop?

By Thomas Reese — December 5, 2023
(RNS) — It depends on whether the bishop is serving a diocese or filling another role.

Send-offs show Carlton Pearson’s split legacy spurred by his inclusive beliefs, rejection of hell

By Darren Sands — December 5, 2023
The Bishop's splintered influence was underscored this week as different factions paid tribute to Pearson at various memorial services that have raised questions — and objections — about how best to remember him.

How the keffiyeh – a practical garment used for protection against the desert sun – became a symbol of Palestinian identity

By Armin Langer — December 5, 2023
(The Conversation) — The keffiyeh’s prominence soared in the 1970s when Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, adopted and popularized the garment.

In US, some Muslim-Jewish interfaith initiatives are strained by Israel-Hamas war

By Mariam Fam and Luis Andres Henao — December 5, 2023
The war and its polarizing reverberations in America are testing and straining some interfaith relationships more than ever.

Takeaways from The AP’s investigation into the Mormon church’s handling of sex abuse cases

By Jason Dearen and Michael Rezendes — December 5, 2023
HAILEY, Idaho (AP) — Nondisclosure agreements, also known as confidentiality agreements, have been used frequently by the Mormon church and other organizations, including the Catholic Church, to keep sex abuse allegations secret.

Lebanon’s Christians feel the heat of climate change in its sacred forest and valley

By Kareem Chehayeb — December 5, 2023
BCHARRE, Lebanon (AP) — The lush Cedars of God Forest, some 2000 meters (6,560 feet) above sea level near the northern town of Bcharre, is part of a landscape cherished by Christians.

A Jewish rock star reflects on Oct. 7

By Jeffrey Salkin — December 5, 2023
(RNS) — Peter Himmelman — rock star, creative genius and observant Jew — sings his truth. And ours. A new podcast.
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