We know that journalism can impact attitudes and action. But it's rare to get concrete proof of that, as I did recently after publishing a blog post about the anti-Semitic content of traditional Good Friday performances of Passion plays and Passion musical compositions, many dating back to the Middle Ages.
I applaud Amnesty International's work to combat discrimination against Muslims and Christians and against discrimination in "all its forms," but I am concerned. Why does it appear that some religious groups in need readily earn Amnesty's attention, energy and resources but not others?
When we see people doing just and praiseworthy acts, we should honor them for their efforts. If we stand idly by and watch as the cynics work to find the negatives in positive situations, we are doing a disservice to society.
Despite more than 30 years of seclusion and censorship, the majority of Iranians seem to be curious, open-minded, and eagerly seeking connection with Americans.
As a young Jewish boy in the Bronx during the 1950s I grew up in the shadow of the European Holocaust. The extermination of six million Jews at the hands of Nazi Germany during World War II was in the background but not discussed.
We came to appreciate how much our respective faith communities could benefit from more curiosity and less judgment about the correct "formula" for clergy education, and more shared conversations with those from other faiths.
Catechism classes were part of the Catholic education I received. But regardless of how much we know about religion, isn't it the same truth that we all come to sooner or later?
I learned a lot from Peggy Coyne. Peggy was the CIA of sample sales, the Lois Lane of letters -- small town, simple and lethal.
Jewish people of a certain age who attended synagogue or religious school are sure to know the stories of the "Wise Men of Chelm". These classic Jewish folktales are told and repeated to this day on the pulpits, classrooms, and at the communal gatherings of the Jewish community.
The true meaning of a bar mitzvah. A charitable initiative like the one these boys have created combines their own passions, helps those less fortunate and brings more meaning into their Jewish coming-of-age ritual.
"There are times I will need ropes and ladders and caribiners and helmets just to climb down into myself." Madeline DeVries shatters into shards, tortured by music and memories. She crumbles as her eyes accuse.
On my way to visit my student pulpit in Ohio several years ago, I helped a man dressed in traditional Hasidic garb with his luggage. After thanking me politely, he turned to me and asked, "Are you Jewish?"
You might ask what took me so long. My mom, Jenny Graubart, a Holocaust refugee who spent World War II in Havana with her family before entering the United States, finally has her life story inside hard covers. It only took her son, the author, decades to get around to making the book happen.
For those of you who don't know about this self-described red-hot mama, Ms. Tucker was a unique singer, racy comedienne, and fashion icon, known for her outrageous costumes and blue repartee.
Recently I taught a group of engaged interfaith couples about the Jewish holidays. After the lecture, I changed the topic, turned the tables, and asked them a question--What's been the biggest interfaith challenge in your relationship so far?
German composer Kurt Weill was no stranger to Nazi harassment. A prominent and popular Jewish composer, he fled to Paris in 1933. Well known for his theater hits, such as The Threepenny Opera and Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, he soon headed to the safety of New York.