Cover Story: Lessons of Yom Kippur and Hurricanes

‘Let’s form a chain!’

COVER STORY—In the midst of the Jewish High Holidays, ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm and author Benjamin Pratt reflect on the urgent calls to action voiced in the midst of hurricane relief efforts. During both Yom Kippur and hurricanes, there are inspiring calls for each of us to reach out and repair our broken world. Please, enjoy this column written by Crumm and Pratt and share it with friends, this week.

Holiday columnist Stephanie Fenton also marks Yom Kippur in a feature story with an added bonus—a video of the Kol Nidre music played by Pablo Casals.

Among our Jewish authors, who you might enjoy exploring during this season, are: Rabbi Bob Alper, Rabbi Joseph Krakoff with Dr. Michelle SiderDebra Darvick, Lynne Meredith Golodner, Brenda Rosenberg, Suzy Farbman, Robert Pasick, and many of the Women of WISDOM.

 

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Steve Goodman outside his studio. Click the image to read the story.

RECONCILIATION
AFTER 25 YEARS

GodSigns—In keeping with the Yom Kippur theme of reconciliation, Suzy Farbman’s column this week tells an amazing story of brother and sister artists who finally re-established loving families ties after a 25-year rift! Enjoy this story of Brenda and Steven Goodman, their widely divergent styles of art and the experiences that finally brought them back together.

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MORE HOLIDAYS

Want to see all the holidays?  www.InterfaithHolidays.org.

MESKEL—Ethiopian Orthodox and Eritrean Orthodox Christians celebrate Meskel, a colorful, grand and rich festival recalling that ancient discovery of parts of the true Cross.

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MICHAELMAS—Welcome the autumn season and term by roasting a goose today, or making blackberry crumble: It’s Michaelmas, the Christian feast for St. Michael the Archangel.

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DUSSEHRA / VIJAYADASHAMI—Celebrating ancient Hindu stories, Dussehra also is an autumn harvest festival, a time when many Hindus pray for the renewal of the soil. Stephanie Fenton has the story.

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FAITH & FILM

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journala monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Wishing a peaceful Rosh Hashanah 5778. Shanah Tovah!

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Greet Jewish friends with “Shanah Tovah!”

“Have a Good New Year!” That’s what the Hebrew greeting means in English and, this week, our online magazine celebrates the many Jewish writers who contribute to ReadTheSpirit and also to our publishing house.

Among our Jewish authors, who you might enjoy exploring during this season, are: Rabbi Bob Alper, Rabbi Joseph Krakoff with Dr. Michelle SiderDebra Darvick, Lynne Meredith Golodner, Brenda Rosenberg, Suzy Farbman, Robert Pasick, and many of the Women of WISDOM.

Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton celebrates Rosh Hashanah in this story that also includes various links to online holiday recipes, plus a section of 2017 news items related to the New Year. Then, even though Yom Kippur does not begin until sunset on September 29 this year, Stephanie also has a story about that solemn day of fasting and reflection. Her Yom Kippur story this year has an added bonus—a video featuring a version of the Kol Nidre music played by Pablo Casals.

Related to the ancient cycle of Jewish holidays is the autumn season, moving toward winter. After the High Holidays, the harvest festival of Sukkot is coming. So, Stephanie also writes about the Northern Hemisphere’s Autumnal Equinox, this week. Once again, her column includes links to appropriate recipes and autumn-themed do-it-yourself crafts such as applehead dolls and a pinecone wreath.

REFLECTING ON OUR LIVES

HEADLINE NEWS NOWDetroit Free Press religion writer Niraj Warikoo makes an inspiring connection this week between the High Holidays and the work of Rabbi Joseph Krakoff, a leader of a hospice network. Krakoff and artist Michelle Sider developed the new book Never Long Enough to help prompt family memories. Niraj Warikoo reports on this connection between the High Holidays, the rabbi’s ongoing work and Never Long Enough.

Learn more at: https://neverlongenough.net/

Want to see all the holidays? Remember  www.InterfaithHolidays.org.

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ONE WOMAN’S CONVERSION

GodSigns—Suzy Farbman’s column this week is about a character already familiar to our regular readers: The wandering nurse Karen Raff, the subject of an earlier three-part series of columns that many readers enjoyed and shared on social media. In this week’s column, looking ahead to the Jewish High Holidays, Suzy tells the story of Karen’s conversion to Judaism..

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Visual Parables Journal image.

Click this image to visit the Visual Parables Journal page and learn more about the many helpful resources in each issue.

FAITH & FILM

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published at VisualParables.org. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journala monthly magazine packed with complete study guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: ‘American History Made Easy’

Click the image to read our Cover Story.

HELP SPREAD GOOD NEWS ABOUT AMERICA

BACK TO SCHOOL—Back to basics. And the most important bedrock for all of us this school year is remembering what it means to be American. In this week’s cover story, you’ll learn about the genius of a veteran educator who specializes in teaching English to newcomers to our shores. As she tried to help these hopeful arrivals over the years, Kathleen Gripman’s biggest frustration was that traditional English as a Second Language programs do a poor job of helping men and women to understand American history.

There are tangible benefits in addressing that challenge now—as you will learn in this week’s cover story. For example, school districts with a significant number of ESL students can raise collective test scores. But there are far bigger benefits as well! In 2017, as our nation faces many dangers, it is essential that we collectively remember what it means to be citizens of this remarkable nation.

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WHY CAN’T WE TALK?

FAR AWAY & CLOSE TO HOME—Columnist and author Benjamin Pratt returns this week with an invitation to readers: If you continue to be troubled by the tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia, one month ago—come on a pilgrimage with Benjamin and his wife Judith to South Africa to reflect on racial divisions from a different perspective. Ben concludes that we all can take action to bridge the deep divisions between us.

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

Want to see all the holidays? Remember  www.InterfaithHolidays.org.

WHAT IS A PATRIOT? Years ago, the annual remembrance of the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001 was renamed Patriot Day and our Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story. In this year’s White House proclamation of the holiday, attention is called to the patriotism of the thousands of responders to the current storms ravaging the American South. There are also several helpful links to learn more.

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NAVARATRI—Across India and in Hindu communities around the world, an upcoming festival celebrates the divine feminine Devi or Durga. There are many regional variations and also alternate English spellings of the holiday. In communities that observe the festival, Navaratri brings out orchestras and community-wide singing; nighttime dances in the streets combine with bountiful feasts and shrines are elaborately decorated. Stephanie has the story for you.
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CREATIVE SPIRIT!

GodSigns—Each week, columnist Suzy Farbman reminds us of the countless creative and compassionate Americans who keep our communities strong and vibrant. This week, she tells the story of the now near-legendary Michigan artist Sue Bolt, who moved to the northern part of the state in the ’60s and half a century later is still creating vibrant art in a wide range of media.

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‘TINY HOMES’
HUGE HOPES

DON’T MISS this amazing story about the grand-new community Detroiters are building at the 50th anniversary of America’s worst urban rebellion! And, stay tuned to our online magazine, because there’s also a full-color book coming about the project. PBS News Hour just reported an in-depth story from this emerging neighborhood that we are describing as a “utopian community.”

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Visual Parables Journal image.

Click this image to visit the Visual Parables Journal page and learn more about the many helpful resources in each issue.

FAITH & FILM

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published at VisualParables.org. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journala monthly magazine packed with complete study guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Plan ahead for debut of Martin Luther mini-series

‘WE HAVEN’T SEEN TIMES LIKE THESE …’

COVER STORY—Through 10 years and thousands of columns, this online magazine has celebrated the central innovation of the Reformation: Placing inspirational media in the hands of ordinary people. Now, as the “official” 500-year anniversary of the Reformation is approaching, we are highlighting special opportunities like the debut of PBS’s two-hour docudrama on the life of Martin Luther.

Today, our “cover story” is an overview of fascinating resources on Martin Luther. You’ll find a link to Ed McNulty’s in-depth review of the mini-series; a 2-minute preview from PBS that provides a glimpse of the imagery and style of this three-night event; a look at how these themes have shaped this online magazine over the past decade; and additional links to other international websites about the anniversary.

We are publishing this coverage more than a week before the September 12, 2017, debut of the PBS series. As Ed McNulty suggests in his review, you may want to organize a small group to discuss this TV series.

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HAPPY LABOR DAY!
AND OTHER HOLIDAYS

Want to see all the holidays? Remember  www.InterfaithHolidays.org.

WHY IT MATTERS—This week, Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton writes: “Consider giving Labor Day the merit it really deserves: a look at the history and relevance of labor in the lives of American workers. Labor Day is the result of the long struggle for recognition by the American labor movement. The first Labor Day celebration, celebrated in 1882 in New York City, attracted more than 10,000 workers who marched through the streets.” This week’s Holidays & Festivals column also includes links to three of the historic Catholic teaching documents about the rights of workers.

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NATIVITY OF MARY—One of the ancient festivals in Christendom that is observed in both Eastern and Western branches on the same day is this celebration of Mary’s birth. Stephanie has the story about this holiday. Did you know that there are only three figures in Christianity celebrated each year on both the anniversaries of their births and their deaths?

 

 

 

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SUNNY SIDE
OF LIFE

GOD SIGNS—This week, columnist Suzy Farbman brings us a delightful story of a couple in their 90s with a resilient gift for seeing the good humor in life. Whatever disabilities they faced, Jane and Lew find a way to confront them together, remembering life’s blessings along the way. Enjoy their story!

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‘TINY HOMES’
HUGE HOPES

DON’T MISS this amazing story about the grand-new community Detroiters are building at the 50th anniversary of America’s worst urban rebellion! And, stay tuned to our online magazine, because there’s also a full-color book coming about the project.

PBS News Hour just reported an in-depth story from this emerging neighborhood that we are describing as a “utopian community.” In fact, you can watch that short PBS video as a part of our story. Earlier, a Facebook news feed posted its own video report—which already has been viewed by 34 million people! (And, we’ve got a link to that video, as well.)

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FAITH & FILM

Jeremy Renner and Gil Birmingham in Wind River

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published at VisualParables.org. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journala monthly magazine packed with complete study guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: What is Detroit building now? A tiny, utopian community!

NOT JUST LITTLE HOUSES—
THESE ARE ‘TINY HOMES’

COVER STORY—If you visit our online magazine each week for good news about people of faith making the world a better place—then, this week, we’ve got an amazing story to share! And, stay tuned, because there’s also a full-color book coming about the brand-new community Detroiters are building at the 50th anniversary of one of America’s worst urban rebellions.

PBS News Hour just reported an in-depth story from this emerging neighborhood that we are describing as a “utopian community” in today’s story. In fact, you can watch that short PBS video as a part of our story. Earlier, a Facebook news feed posted its own video report—which already has been viewed by 34 million people! (And, we’ve got a link to that video, as well.)

In this deeply disturbing summer of conflict, please read this week’s story and share the news with friends. They’ll be glad you did! And simply by “talking up” what’s happening in Detroit you’ll be helping to make this visionary idea take shape in our world.

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ANOTHER DETROIT ORIGINAL!

‘HOPE FOR THE CITY’—Thanks to columnist Stephanie Fenton for spotting this news item from the Plymouth Library’s summer reading program! Because librarians across Michigan are recommending books that relate to the 50-year anniversary of Detroit’s rebellion—the main library in this historic, suburban city directed readers to Jack Kresnak’s Hope for the City. (That’s the cover of Jack’s book near the pinnacle of the library’s main bulletin board promoting the reading campaign, a photo sent to us by Stephanie.)

Jack’s biography of the late Father Cunningham—an urban pioneer in helping to empower poor people—covers a broad spectrum of Detroit history. However, the book includes dramatic scenes during and after the Detroit rebellion, which led to an occupation by the U.S. Army and National Guard and resulted in 43 deaths. Cunningham’s vision of giving poor people a pathway out of poverty was shaped by the destructive forces he witnessed in the summer of 1967.

Care to read more? This is another book from Detroit’s Cass Community Publishing, so please visit the Cass online catalog. The book also is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble—but buying your copy via the Cass website directly contributes to this ongoing work in Detroit.

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BIG HAT,
BIG LIFE,
BIG WISDOM

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GAG, PEP & ICE—This week, GodSigns columnist Suzy Farbman brings us the remarkable story of Natalie Myerson who is approaching the century mark with wit and some wisdom well worth considering. She has acronyms for her core values: GAG, PEP & ICE. Enjoy!

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HOLIDAYS!

Want to see all the holidays? Remember  www.InterfaithHolidays.org.

 

THE HAJJ—Muslim men and women around the world are about to perform the annual rites of the Hajj in Mecca. Stephanie Fenton has the whole story.

THE EID al—ADHA—One of two great feasts in the Islamic calendar, Eid al-Adha is a part of the centuries-old pilgrimage narrative. Stephanie has the latest news on the 2017 holiday from around the world.

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FAITH & FILM

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published at VisualParables.org. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journala monthly magazine packed with complete study guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: What would Abraham Lincoln say now?

SPIRITUAL LIFE OF LINCOLN

A UNIFIER—Thanks to so many readers who sent us words of encouragement and thanks in recent days for our weekly stories lifting up truth and love—rather than the lies and hate that seem to be so common these days. (And, yes, those who recall the late visionary Vaclav Havel know that “Truth and Love will conquer Lies and Hate!” was Havel’s guiding principle in peaceful change.)

This week, like so many Americans in trying times, we turn to a figure who has graced the pages of ReadTheSpirit more than four-score times over the past decade—and has drawn more readers than any other subject we have ever covered. Of course, that’s Abe Lincoln. And, once again, we have fresh encouragement from our long-time Lincoln scholar Duncan Newcomer. This week, Duncan writes to us:

Click this image to read about Lincoln’s vision for America.

“Calling Americans back to Lincoln’s powerful voice will inevitably bring people to words like these: Our Founders ‘meant to set up a standard maxim for free society … augmenting the happiness and value of life to all people of all colors, everywhere.’ What’s especially notable about that quote from Lincoln is the date: June 26, 1857! Lincoln was just getting started when he made that declaration! By the time he became, in Walt Whitman’s words, our first Great Martyr Chief, Lincoln had made it clear that America was no longer going to be just a nation for white people. His April 9, 1865, suggestion that Blacks might vote in Louisiana brought John Wilkes Booth’s blood to a boil. Booth believed ‘the country was formed for the white, not the black man.’ Over the past decade, ReadTheSpirit has published a considerable number of columns about the moral and spiritual life of Abraham Lincoln. Read on! Let Lincoln stir you again!”

There are several places to start:

START WITH LINCOLN’S VALUES—Duncan urged us to publish a front-page link to a column, headlined Abraham Lincoln and Visions of a ‘United America.‘ Here’s what stunned us at the home office as we drew that column from our online archives. We published this column more than three years ago! But, read Duncan’s overview of Lincoln’s values and you’ll think he wrote it this week. This look at Lincoln’s moral life demonstrates the timeless nature of the 16th president’s wisdom.

OVERALL INDEX TO LINCOLN—Our authors have written so much on Lincoln over the years that we also published this convenient index to the most popular columns.

QUIET FIRE—Care to listen to Duncan on Lincoln? He produces Quiet Fire, a long-running series of five-minute radio reflections on Lincoln, sponsored by WERU in Maine. Here is the archive of those thought-provoking recordings. (And stay tuned! Duncan is working on a day-by-day book, based on the Quiet Fire series.)

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Click on this image to visit EventBrite and sign up.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION!

SIGN UP NOW—New York City-based peacemaker Samir Selmanovic—whose work we have featured in the pages of ReadTheSpirit over the years—sends us all an open invitation to sign up now for a live one-hour conversation with Brian McLaren at 8 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday August 22. TO SIGN UP: Click on this link to a special EventBrite web page Samir has set up for the event. Then follow the instructions.

Through publishing, organizing events, consulting with community leaders—and a host of other efforts—Samir is a truly heroic figure in the ongoing movement to encourage healthy interfaith and cross-cultural relationships around the world. That’s why Samir’s telephone call this week to our home office was filled with emotion and urgency.

“So much is happening in our country and our world right now that, one day, we feel like falling to the ground in despair—then, the next day, we know we must get up again and continue to work for peace and a better world. We must look for clear signs of hope,” Samir said. “It is important that we help people to process all of these painful things that are happening. That’s why I organized this event with Brian on Tuesday evening. I hope that people will join us. It’s one small thing we can do to help us find hope again.”

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ANOTHER TRUE AMERICAN HERO

OUT OF THIS WORLD! In her weekly series of true stories about remarkable men and women, Suzy Farbman brings us the story of Pete and Nancy Conrad. Decades ago, Americans watched Pete’s amazing feats as an astronaut. Although he died in a tragic accident in 1999, Nancy has expanded on his vocational passion in many ways. This is truly a “good news” story about American innovation.

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HONORING OUR LOVED ONES

RODNEY CURTIS—This week, writer-photographer Rodney Curtis tells the inspiring story of his family’s way of honoring the lives of two relatives who loved Michigan’s waterways.

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HOLIDAYS!

Want to see all the holidays? Remember  www.InterfaithHolidays.org.

 

THE HAJJ—Muslim men and women around the world are already converging on Mecca for the annual pilgrimage. The Islamic lunar calendar moves the official dates each year and, in 2017, the focus is on sunset August 30. The annual “Eid” feast follows soon after the start of the actual Hajj. Stephanie Fenton has the whole story.

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FAITH & FILM

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published at VisualParables.org. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journala monthly magazine packed with complete study guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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Cover Story: Finding Solace in the Midst of Grief—and Anger

GRIEVING? LISTEN TO THIS!

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COVER STORY—Start your week with a short conversation between nationally known grief counselor Mitch Carmody and the creators of the remarkable new picture book: Never Long Enough. You don’t even need to leave the pages of our online magazine. We have a video clip of that interview, featuring audio and imagery, posted with an inspiring summary of the story.

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ANGRY? TELL YOUR STORY OF HOPE!

WHAT ARE YOU TELLING THE WORLD? News events moved so rapidly this week—from threats of global nuclear war to deaths sparked by violent right-wing activists in Charlottesville, Virginia. We know that many of our readers look to ReadTheSpirit magazine for hope each week. And, our staff feels the same way: We look to you, our community of readers, to share those stories with us. On Sunday morning, Editor David Crumm was struck by the passionate preaching of the staff at Clarkston United Methodist Church in Michigan. Perhaps words from that service may help you, too.

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WE ARE UNITED—Do you think that Americans are hopelessly divided? Do you think nothing can bring us together? Well, that “story” of irreconcilable division is false. While many thorny political issues do divide us, the fact is that many values unite Americans. That’s not simply a matter of faith. That’s based on years of evidence from nationwide surveys conducted through the University of Michigan. The basic findings are presented by sociologist Dr. Wayne Baker in United America, with this lengthy subtitle: The Surprising Truth about American Values, American Identity and the 10 Beliefs that a Large Majority of Americans Hold Dear.

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A PARENT’S GRIEF—
A STORY TOLD IN LETTERS

GOD SIGNS—This week’s themes come together in one family’s story, as told by columnist Suzy Farbman in GodSigns. Grief and anger over the sudden loss of a young son became a devastating wave of emotions that led the family’s patriarch, Marc Schupan, to begin writing letters. And to keep writing letters. In an ongoing way, that storytelling in letter form has helped to keep positive, healing memories alive.

 

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HOLIDAYS!

Want to see all the holidays? Remember  www.InterfaithHolidays.org.

 

KRISHNA JANMASHTAMI—Hindus around the world celebrate Krishna’s birthday, also known as Janmashtami. In Stephanie Fenton’s column, she explains: “An observance that lasts eight days in some regions, Krishna Janmashtami honors the birth of the Hindu deity Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu.”

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HONORING MARY—In the Catholic world, August 15 marks the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In Eastern Christianity, it’s called the Dormition of the Theotokos. The event remembered is the same: Mary, the mother of Jesus, taken up into Heaven. Stephanie Fenton explains the traditions around this ancient Christian festival.

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PARYSHAN PARVA—Forgiveness plays a central role in many world religions, but for Jains, it’s the focus of the most important festival each year. This spiritually intense period is known as Paryushan Parva, or Paryushana.

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FAITH & FILM

ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published at VisualParables.org. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journala monthly magazine packed with complete study guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.

Among Ed’s latest free movie reviews are:

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