What other ways may God be challenging us to open our eyes and minds to see God’s expansive dream? While we may scoff at those early Jewish Christians for obeying strange dietary laws, let us examine our own lives and consider our own list of what or who is clean and unclean, acceptable or detestable. We often find those who are unlike us to be “impure,” people with whom we would rather not associate. But this morning, we are confronted with the question in verse 17: “If God gave them the same gift as he gave us, who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who are we to think that we could oppose God?”
The United States remains a Christian nation, with more than nine out of 10 people confirming that they're affiliated with a Christian religion, says a new Gallup poll.
Try to see others, regardless of who they are, with the eyes of Jesus, and I think you will find that faith, more often than not, is found in the most surprising of places and the least likely of people.
During Ramadan, devout Muslims break their daily fasts at sunset with an "iftar" meal. Now, many Muslims in the U.S. are inviting non-Muslim friends to share that meal.
Recent surveys suggest that Jews remain reliably liberal or Democratic voters. However, one rabbi's recent findings among New York Jews suggest that may be changing.
Despite bridge-building efforts between Jews and the Christian Right, Jews view Mormons and Muslims far more favorably than the Christian Right, a poll revealed.
JERUSALEM (RNS) Every year, thousands of Americans travel abroad for less-expensive fertility treatments, hip replacements and other medical procedures.
Vandals spray-painted threats to Arabs and Christians on a school and a monastery in Jerusalem. For the school, which has Arab and Jewish students, it was an opportunity to draw closer together.
(RNS) Before you meet your match, you’ve got to meet your matchmaker.
JERUSALEM (RNS/ENInews) Christians have the lowest growth rate among the Israeli population, according to a recent report.
RUTHERFORD, N.J. (RNS) An attack on a New Jersey synagogue is being investigated as an attempted murder and a bias crime.
LUEBECK, Germany (RNS) After years of celebrating behind drawn curtains, Paliy went to Luebeck’s historic synagogue and lit the candles in freedom for the first time.
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (RNS) President Obama told a crowd of Reform Jews that no other administration “has done more in support of Israel’s security.”
WASHINGTON (RNS) Rabbi Richard Jacobs understands why so many Jews avoid synagogues.
(RNS) Matisyahu, the improbable but undeniable reggae star, announced on Twitter that he is shaving the beard that has long marked him as a Hasidic Jew.
(RNS) Put on your boogie shoes—the new Hanukkah songs are here!
WASHINGTON (RNS) Newt Gingrich ignited an audience of Republican Jewish activists by promising to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
JERUSALEM (RNS) The Kolben Dance Company’s studio faces a busy downtown plaza, but few passers-by have ever glimpsed one of the troupe’s rehearsals inside.
DURHAM, N.C. (RNS) Say the word “interfaith” and the next word to roll off the tongue is probably “dialogue.” It’s hard to think of one without the other.
METAIRIE, La. (RNS) Until recently, two remarkable stories surrounded the beautiful hand-lettered Torah scroll at Congregation Beth Israel
JERUSALEM (RNS) Israel’s chief rabbis are among the Jews in Israel and abroad who have strongly condemned an arson attack on a mosque in northern Israel.
(RNS) Jews, Muslims and their allies cheered as California Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill prohibiting all local bans on circumcision.
JERUSALEM (RNS) Five of the Dead Sea Scrolls are now available in digital form to anyone with an Internet connection.
CHICAGO (RNS) Social deals are going spiritual. A growing number of entrepreneurs are making a go with sites specifically targeting religious groups.
WASHINGTON (RNS) Two Muslim congressmen and other prominent Muslims have urged Hamas to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
NEW YORK (RNS) Observant Jews are permitted to sidestep traditional Sabbath rules on electronics and listen to the radio as Hurricane Irene bears down.
(RNS) A proposed circumcision ban will not appear on San Francisco’s citywide ballot in November, a Superior Court judge tentatively ruled.
BERLIN (RNS) A bishop who said he didn’t believe the Holocaust faces a reduced fine of $9,110 for incitement, a German appeals court ruled.
(RNS) The city’s top lawyer has concluded it is unconstitutional to ban the practice as a religious ritual, but allow it as a medical procedure.
(RNS) After strong criticism from the Jewish community, Israel’s ambassador to the Vatican backpedaled from his praise of Pope Pius XII.
WASHINGTON (RNS) The Saudi Arabian embassy denied as “completely false” reports that U.S. Jews would not be able to travel to Saudi Arabia.
(RNS) Israel’s ambassador to the Vatican praised the controversial wartime Pope Pius XII for his “actions to save the Jews” during the Holocaust.
JERUSALEM (RNS) Jews and Israelis will not be able to fly code-share flights from the U.S. to Saudi Arabia under Delta Air Line’s new partnership.
JERUSALEM (RNS) The federation has decided to permit an Orthodox Jewish basketball player to cover her arms during competitions.
TEL AVIV, Israel (RNS) This year’s annual gay pride festival included a parade float representing the country’s religious gay and lesbian communities.
(RNS) The National Association of Evangelicals is siding with Jews and Muslims in opposition of a proposed ban on infant male circumcision in San Francisco.
ROCKVILLE, Md. (RNS) The V-shaped hand sign may have seemed to be from a planet far away, but he created it from childhood memories of his Jewish family.
(RNS) Religious and human rights activists are asking U.S. churches to invite Jewish and Muslim clergy to their sanctuaries.
CLEVELAND (RNS) The case that led to John Demjanjuk’s conviction in Germany was laid out 10 years ago in a Cleveland courtroom, where lawyers sparred over his wartime past.
(RNS) An ultra-Orthodox Jewish newspaper in Brooklyn deleted Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton from a White House photograph.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (RNS) Gov. Robert Bentley twice referred to Jews as his “brothers and sisters” during a Holocaust remembrance event.
JERUSALEM (RNS) The Supreme Court has agreed to consider whether American passports issued to children born in Jerusalem should include the word “Israel.”
WASHINGTON (RNS) American Jews and evangelicals need a formal mechanism to discuss their differences and similarities on support for Israel.
(RNS) The last time Regina Finer’s mother cooked the soft, dense potato dumplings called kluskies, Regina couldn’t have been more than 12.
(RNS) A Jewish organization is celebrating Passover two weeks early, proclaiming freedom from Glenn Beck’s television show.
(RNS) Facebook shut down a “Third Palestinian Intifada” page and similar groups this week, prompted by complaints from Jewish groups.
(RNS) A New York rabbi with a reputation for innovation has been tapped to lead the Union for Reform Judaism.
SEATTLE (RNS) Alaska Airlines has issued an apology for misinterpreting the devotional behavior of three Orthodox Jews.
VATICAN CITY (RNS) The Jewish people were not responsible for Jesus’ crucifixion, and their descendants have not inherited blame for his death.
(RNS) An Orthodox Jew has won a new trial after Maryland’s highest court ruled that a lower court erred.
JERUSALEM (RNS) American rabbis have signed a letter demanding that the conversions they perform outside Israel be recognized.
JERUSALEM (RNS) Israeli officials have installed an $11 million pipe to ease a weekly water shortage on Fridays.
(RNS) Prominent Muslim leaders marked International Holocaust Remembrance Day by decrying attempts to deny the Holocaust.
CANTERBURY, England (RNS/ENInews) After the Nazi slaughter of 6 million Jews during World War II, the world cried out “never again."
Some Christians feel compelled to share aggressively a testimony of their faith. One rabbi wonders if an attitude that reflects justice and compassion for all is a stronger testimony.
(RNS) Jewish organizations are aiming to send more North American teens and young adults than ever to Israel this year.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (RNS) Gov. Bentley apologized to anyone who was offended with his inaugural day comments that non-Christians were not his “brothers and sisters.”
(RNS) Sarah Palin accused “journalists and pundits” of manufacturing a “blood libel” that seeks to link her and other conservatives to the massacre.
(RNS) Debbie Friedman, a composer and singer whose modern melodies updated the music in synagogue services worldwide, died of pneumonia at age 59.
RNS) American Jews scored the highest of any religious group on a “well-being” index according to a new Gallup survey.
WASHINGTON (RNS) When Virginia Republican Eric Cantor becomes House Majority Leader next month, he will become the highest-ranking Jewish member of Congress in history.
NEW YORK (RNS) What does it really mean for your Hebrew National hot dog to “answer to a higher authority?”
JERUSALEM (RNS) American Jews and evangelical Christians are taking a central role in rebuilding the Carmel region in northern Israel.
JERUSALEM (RNS) The Palestinian government has pulled a report stating that Jews have no historic connection to the Western Wall.
JERUSALEM (RNS) The Western Wall is actually a Muslim shrine, according to an official report.
JERUSALEM (RNS) Experiencing the warmest, driest November on record, residents of the Holy Land are calling on a higher power to bring rain.
(RNS) Christians are more likely to say a proposed Islamic center should be built farther away from Ground Zero.
NEW ORLEANS (RNS) Netanyahu told American Jewish leaders that Israel will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.
JERUSALEM (RNS) For the first time in its 62-year history, Israel will soon allow a limited number of couples to marry in civil ceremonies.
(RNS) Veronika and Oleg Bilerman exchanged wedding vows a quarter of a century ago. Their Jewish faith was never acknowledged.
(RNS) Russian and right-wing Jews make a splash in this year’s list of influential people compiled by The Forward.
VATICAN CITY (RNS) A special Vatican meeting on the Middle East ended with a flare-up in Catholic-Jewish tensions.
(RNS) President Obama’s approval rating among U.S. Jews has dropped in the past year.
TEANECK, N.J. (RNS) New Jersey’s oldest Jewish newspaper says it overreacted in printing and then rescinding its first published same-sex wedding announcement.
(RNS) A broad coalition of U.S. Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders has backed the administration’s efforts to broker peace.
JERUSALEM (RNS) Ultra-Orthodox leaders removed barriers separating men and women after Israel’s High Court ruled that the tall screens were illegal.
Just as marriage creates a new generation in the human family, interfaith friendship creates a new generation in the family of God for those who are willing to embark on its journey.
JERUSALEM (RNS) The government’s decision to end daylight saving time early has set off an angry debate.
(RNS) Within a short drive from her suburban New York home, Lisa Sharp has her pick of synagogues.
(RNS) Jewish and Mormon church leaders announced the agreement Wednesday.
VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI met with Israeli President Shimon Peres on Thursday (Sept. 2).
JERUSALEM (RNS) Jewish authorities hope to replace the existing partition that separates the men’s and women’s prayer areas.
Bailey Smith, then president of the Southern Baptist Convention, claimed 30 years ago that God "does not hear the prayer of a Jew." Today, other Southern Baptist leaders have rhetorically followed his lead.
NEW YORK (RNS) Most Orthodox Jews who seek professional counseling do so for marriage problems.
WASHINGTON (RNS) More than 40 Christian leaders say they are deeply troubled by the opposition to a proposed mosque.
JERUSALEM (RNS) More than 100 modern-Orthodox rabbis and others have signed a document that urges respect for homosexuals.
Babi Yar, a ravine on the edge of Kiev, was the site for the merciless slaughter of as many as 200,000 Jewish, Roma, Ukrainian and Russian people in 1941. We must never forget those who died there.
When a well-respected rabbi advocates the killing of civilians and the destruction of holy sites in time of war, one must ask what makes him different from Muslim extremists. Further, what do we say in response to this?
A survey commissioned to measure Jewish spirituality among American Jews found that those with one or no Jewish parents were more spiritual than those with two Jewish parents.
With their roots stretching back to 1911, the Baptist community in Israel numbers 3,000 people making up 20 churches in Galilee and central Israel. They are a minority group in a multifaith, multicultural society.
Sixty years ago, Christians constituted more than 25 percent of the overall Palestinian population in the Holy Land. Today, those numbers have dwindled alarmingly, due largely to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Jesus made it clear that the mission of his followers was to love, forgive and reconcile. Some Christians, however, distort the central message of Christianity's leader by stirring up anger against Jewish people.
I chuckled when I read, "A rabbi, a priest and a minister walked into a bar. The bartender said, 'Is this a joke?'" Well, it was no joke for me on May 29, 2005. The setting was not a bar, but the home of Rabbi Stephen Chaim Listfield in Montgomery, Ala.
News that even in these straitened times international donors have responded so generously to the needs of Gaza is very welcome.
One of the most disturbing wars in history began with British protectorate rule over Palestine. Begun in the 1920s, the "Holy Land" war continues between Arabs and Jews to this day. With such tremendous hatred for one another, will a solution ever be found?
A collection of resources on Baptist-Jewish relations.
The recent events in Gaza are a horrific example of democracy at work, according to Raouf Halaby. But the implementation of democracy in this case grates against the American ideal like fingernails on a chalkboard.
More than anything else, it appears the American populace may simply be too disinterested or too distracted to engage in believable change on this issue, despite its obvious far-reaching importance not just in the region but across the globe.
With family living in Israel and two cousins in the Israeli army, I have been watching the Gaza situation carefully. It is heartbreaking. It is tragic. Innocent people on both sides are suffering. But now is not the time for inflammatory remarks. Now is not the time to callously throw around words like "genocide." Now is not the time to point fingers at only one side, without taking a critical look at what both sides are doing. American politicians have been arguing that if America were hit by Katyushas from Mexico or Canada, we would attack these countries just as Israel has been hitting Gaza. The question is, if Americans had been squeezed into a hermetically sealed Florida and denied food, medicine, fuel and freedom of movement, would we not hit the perpetrator with missiles?
Like me you’ve no doubt been following the current hostilities between Israel and Hamas. How much do you know about the situation? I’d like to offer a few bits of information as you seek to make sense of what’s happening there.
Like many in this part of the world and around the globe my heart aches when I read and see pictures of the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip, and likewise when I see Israelis killed or injured by Qassam rockets.
Forgotten in Christmas homilies and hymns is the gritty story of human of resistance. Yes, resistance.
Judaism is going through a spiritual renaissance, but I worry that our quest for the mystical is at the cost of the intellectual. Jews want to chant and meditate, rather than learn how to creatively misread Torah in order to midwife new wisdom from ancient texts. And when they do study Torah they are apt to defend the text, and to accept simplistic answers rather than ask deep philosophical questions.
When we now listen to the religious minority's stories of injury and insult, we take the first step toward religious reformation. Awareness births empathy--empathy births a passion for righteousness. At least, that's the way goodwill Baptists ought to respond morally.
Jews have lived in India since the time of the Buddha, some 2,500 years ago. While this link does nothing to explain the popularity of Buddhism among Jews (the Buddha lived in northern India, the Jews, of course, preferred to live in the south), it does make it all the more sad that the Jewish community in India is on the verge of collapse. Especially in Calcutta where the last remaining handful of Jews will be gone within a generation.
I recently learned of a new Jewish holiday about which I knew absolutely nothing. It's called "Hit a Jew Day."
Should Christians avoid pronouncing the name "Yahweh" out of deference to the Jews, as the Vatican has declared?
Rosh Hashanah is the season wherein Jews are supposed to have great resolve and great hope. There are too many negative forces that tell us that we cannot do it. There are too many excuses for not being the type of Jews and human beings that we really and truly ought to be.
A widely circulated document by a study commission of a worldwide evangelical alliance has raised eyebrows with its call to abandon Christian-Jewish dialogue and instead seek to evangelize European Jews.
Former presidential candidate and possible vice presidential nominee Mike Huckabee visited Israel as a guest of a right-wing Zionist group that is buying up property to move Jews into Jerusalem's Muslim Quarter in hopes of replacing the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque with a reconstruction of Solomon's Temple and ushering in the Messianic Age.
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has a problem with me. Well, not with me personally, but with my people. No, not white men in their late 50s who still read comic books; Jews, most of whom are not white, or in their late 50s, or readers of comic books (though we do create a lot of them).
Baptist Press falsely labeled a Baptist Center for Ethics' DVD screening at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship's annual meeting last week in Memphis with an inaccurate subheading and lead in a news story, leading one to wonder if the editor actually read the story. Perhaps the editor wanted to say what the actual text as reported in the body of the story did not say.
The Holocaust is a singular event of 20th-century social evil that should not be watered down by flawed analogies to other moral wrongs. Defective analogies trivialize genocide and the suffering of survivors.
Conversion should not be a hidden agenda in interfaith friendships between Baptists and Jews, but that does not mean Christians cannot talk about Jesus, said two panelists at a screening of a new Baptist Center for Ethics DVD titled "Good Will for the Common Good: Nurturing Baptists' Relationships With Jews."
Rabbi Rami Shapiro and I are collaborating on a book in progress exploring the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount.
The premier event on Thursday morning at the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship meeting in Memphis will be the Baptist Center for Ethics' screening with a panel discussion of a new DVD that challenges Baptists to nurture the common good with their Jewish neighbors.
I have been a rabbi for more than a quarter century. In that time I have learned a few things about what makes a good rabbi; things that I believe could be of value to clergy people of all stripes. Unfortunately for you, I am keeping those for my memoir. Here are 13 ideas that won't make it into my book. Feel free to pass them on to your clergy friends and neighbors.
Former Democratic vice presidential candidate turned Independent Sen. Joseph Lieberman is listed as a headline speaker at an upcoming event sponsored by John Hagee, a preacher from San Antonio, Texas, whose controversial views recently caused Republican presidential candidate John McCain to reject his endorsement.
A British Baptist leader joined a reported 15,000 people last Saturday in a march in central London showing solidarity with Palestinians.
The Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship, a ministry formed in 1990 to preach the gospel to Jews, will for the first time have a booth this year in the exhibit hall at the Southern Baptist Convention.
A rabbi and Baptist pastor are collaborating on a book-in-progress exploring the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount being written in front of God and everybody.
The Ten Commandments belong in communities of faith, not in public places.
United States embassies have reported an upsurge in anti-Semitism over the last decade, according to a recent government report.
A Southern Baptist leader lecturing at Criswell College used a gutter word to describe a Jewish U.S. senator.
A Tennessee congressional candidate is being criticized for not disavowing a flier that says the incumbent and Jews hate Jesus.
Southside Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., made national headlines in 2001 for opening its doors to Temple Emanu-El during a two-year temple renovation, but what neither congregation knew at the time was that history was repeating itself.
"God is in His Heaven, and the hypocrites are in His church." Now before you send me hate mail about being anti-Christian, I am only paraphrasing the results of a LifeWay Research survey on church affiliation. LifeWay is part of the Southern Baptist Convention headquartered in Nashville, Tenn.
The topic of Baptist-Jewish relations is up-close and personal for me. In 1984, while living near Chicago, teaching university music and serving on a church staff, I was invited to become temple soloist at Sinai Temple in Michigan City, Ind. I had no idea what a lifelong relationship of love and faith with Jewish people would follow.
Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee's fundamentalist Christian credentials may be winning him votes among conservative evangelicals, but they are backfiring with another important voting demographic--liberal Jews.
The Alabama Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is host for the first public screening of the new Baptist Center for Ethics DVD "Good Will for the Common Good," aimed at improving relations between Baptists and Jews.
Better relations between Baptists and Jews will be achieved not by denominational leaders but from person-to-person and congregational relationships built on wisdom, balance, courage and justice, according to the newest DVD study resource now available from the Baptist Center for Ethics.
As I was leaving the Opryland Hotel at the end of my volunteer shift at the 76th annual general assembly of the United Jewish Communities, an elderly man walking with his wife stopped me to ask why there were so many people wearing kippot (yarmulkes). Pointing to my kipah he said, "For a moment I thought I was in Israel."
While it is common for countries and states to have their official birds and flowers, we Jews have our official attitude: chutzpah. Chutzpah is a Yiddish word meaning "extreme self confidence."
The Baptist Center for Ethics today announced pre-release orders for "Good Will for the Common Good: Nurturing Baptists' Relationships with Jews," a DVD documenting past anti-Semitism and proposing a way forward for constructive partnerships between Baptists and Jews.
Christians, Muslims and Jews around the world prayed for this week's Mideast peace talks in Annapolis, Md.--some for their success and others for them to fail.
Remember Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue's prayer vigil to let God know Georgians are conserving water and should be rewarded with rain? Well it worked--sort of.
Thanksgiving may not be a "Jewish" festival, but each year one of its rituals stirs in me the memory of a moment when my puzzled, uncertain exploration of the "Jewish thing" took on new power for me. And when I came to understand the power of a yarmulke.
"Homeland: The Illustrated History of the State of Israel" begins with Abraham and takes the reader through a tremendous graphic representation of what is called "Israel's world view."
A leading Jewish organization condemned a proposed Southern Baptist Convention study on formally recognizing a "messianic" fellowship as an "evangelistic mission entity" to Jews.
The Holocaust, the effort of the German Nazis to wipe out the entire Jewish population of Europe, is the greatest tragedy that the Jewish people every faced. It is also a Christian problem because most of the perpetrators of the Holocaust were baptized church members, and the bystanders, those who did nothing to halt it or even to assist their beleaguered Jewish neighbors, as well were members in good standing of Protestant and Catholic churches.
Many Christians aren't quite sure what to do with the Jews. On the one hand, we share part of the Jewish Scripture and part of the Jewish history in such a way that they have become our Scripture and our history.
Moderate Baptists and Jews face each other today in some ways as Esau and Jacob faced each other after their rupture years earlier over the blessing of their father Isaac.
About 500 Baptists and Jews gathered for a Friday luncheon sponsored by the Baptist Center for Ethics encouraging "a new era" of improved relations between the two faiths.
Seems the Jews are mad at the Baptists, and as a Baptist, I feel obliged to help them feel better about the situation.
Despite its historical root in Judaism, Christianity has a curious history when trying to relate to the very faith into which Jesus was born. At its earliest stages this relationship was challenged by schisms that divided Christians and Jews politically and socially. Some have argued that the New Testament is at points bigoted in its portrayal of Jews.
Constantine's Sword is a must-read. I first read it in the context of a small group composed of Christian ministers and a Jewish rabbi. The resulting conversations were among the most intense in my experience.
Christendom has dissolved, but the seeds of anti-Semitism remain, as evidenced by the burning of synagogues in Marseilles and the anti-Semitic attacks in Montpellier and Paris at the beginning of April.