Cover Story: Terrific children’s books for your holiday shopping list! Consider these opportunities for discovery!

COVER STORY—Millions of Americans already are “making their lists and checking them twice.” We hope those lists will include lots of books! So, we are starting our holiday-shopping coverage today with a trio of delightful books for the children you love. Of course, the secret behind the most beloved “children’s books” is that adults love them, too. There’s pure magic in the experience of curling up with a child or grandchild and enjoying a great book.

The trio, this week, includes the multi-cultural, lift-the-flap picture book Walk This World at Christmastime. But, wait! There’s more! We preview the latest volume in the beloved Bear-and-Mouse series in which grumpy old bear decides to host his first Christmas party. And, we’ve spotted a brilliant little pop-up book that engages several senses as adults and children explore the wonders of the alphabet.

Please, read our trio of reviews, this week, and share this news with friends.

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‘DREAM IT! SEE IT! DO IT!’

GodSigns—The quote above is from Beverlye Hyman Fead, a remarkable woman and a cancer survivor as well. GodSigns columnist Suzy Farbman tells her story, this week, including some inspiring videos produced by Beverlye! After you meet this woman in Suzy’s column, you’re going to want to share this with friends. Please do!

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Secrets of the Serpent Mound

RODNEY CURTIS—Our intrepid author, columnist, photographer and global explorer Rodney Curtis checks in with a fascinating look at the vast Serpent Mound in America’s Midwest. He writes, in part: “I’m drawn to places like this, the mysterious, the curious. What motivated ancient builders to spend their time hand-carrying materials bit by bit to this particular escarpment in Ohio?” Are you intrigued?

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

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

VETERANS DAY—Plan ahead if you’re looking for a local event honoring veterans or perhaps would like to pay a visit to a cemetery on Nov. 11. But there’s more you can do! Stephanie points out in her column that you also could consider observing the holiday by lending a hand to those in need. And, yes, she has a link to the latest list of discounts and benefits offered to veterans to mark the holiday.

 

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FAITH & FILM

Click this image of director Todd Haynes and a poster for his new movie, ‘Wonderstruck.’

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: Happy Halloween! And so much more …

A tradition deeper than costumes and candy

COVER STORY—First, we bring you a personal reflection on the holiday by author Cindy LaFerle, Why I Still Love Halloween. Her column starts this way: “Halloween always stirs a delicious caldron of memories. Baby boomers are a nostalgic bunch, and most of us can recall at least one costume we wore in grade school.” More than fond memories, though, Cindy takes us to the origins: “Halloween’s deep roots weave back more than 2,000 years to the early Celts of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

Then, for an even deeper dive into these traditions, turn to Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton for her look about the three-day religious festival that includes Halloween and also All Saints and All Souls festivals. Stephanie’s column is headlined: Halloween, Allhallowtide and Samhain: A spook-tacular time of year!

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

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

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME—Don’t forget to “fall back” this week! That’s Stephanie’s reminder in her column about this crucial observance. Then, she explains the history of this practice—and shares some news about the ongoing debate about its value.

VETERANS DAY—Plan ahead if you’re looking for a local event honoring veterans or perhaps would like to pay a visit to a cemetery on Nov. 11. But there’s more you can do! Stephanie points out in her column that you also could consider observing the holiday by lending a hand to those in need. And, yes, she has a link to the latest list of discounts and benefits offered to veterans to mark the holiday.

 

 

 

‘TINY HOMES’
HUGE INSPIRATION

WE WERE THRILLED, this week, to find good news from Detroit in the Christian Science Monitor under the headline: Rent-then-own tiny house village seeks to reinvent Detroit’s low-income housing Reported by CSM correspondent Trevor Bach, the story provides more details about how the project was put together and offers an inspiring overview of the results. Thanks to ReadTheSpirit contributing writer Duncan Newcomer in Maine, who is a regular reader of CSM and quickly spotted this new story—recommending that we share it with our readers today!

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FAITH & FILM

Click this movie still to read Ed’s review of the new Blade Runner movie.

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: Rediscovering resilience with Robert Wicks when ‘Night’ comes

Click Wicks’ photo to read our cover-story interview.

‘A story buries itself in your heart.’

MEET ROBERT WICKS—Longtime readers, please help us to welcome back internationally renowned counselor Robert Wicks. New readers: You’ll be glad to meet him this week in our interview and overview of his remarkable new book, Night Call. For many years, Wicks has circled the world as a counselor and teacher for professionals in helping professions, among them: preachers, teachers, doctors, aid workers, social workers, law-enforcement officers and men and women serving in the military. His specialty is rediscovering the resiliency that helps millions of men and women to arise each morning and face another day—emotionally and spiritually ready for the challenges they face.

In his new book, Night Call, Wicks shares a personal summation of his teachings in a narrative-style book full of stories—some as short as a paragraph and some as long as several page—about people grappling with nearly insurmountable problems.

Now, doesn’t that sound a lot like you and me in these troubling times in America and around the world? This book can be a perfect holiday gift for yourself—or for someone you love. PLUS—the book also contains a separate 55-page section packed with all the materials you’ll need for a self-directed “Resiliency Retreat.”

Yeah, that’s right. We need this now! Please, read this week’s cover story with Robert Wicks and share this with a friend.

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FAMILY AND FRIENDS
EXPLORE A LIFE WELL LIVED

GodSignsIf you are drawn to Robert Wicks’ sage advice about overcoming life’s moments of darkness, then a perfect extension of that spiritually resilient approach to life is the publishing project developed by Rabbi Joseph Krakoff and illustrator Michelle Sider: Never Long Enough. This week, GodSigns columnist Suzy Farbman talks with these collaborators about the origins of this unique new book. (Suzy’s column also explains how to get the book and she has details on two upcoming author appearances in Michigan.)

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AND, MORE TRUE STORIES OF HOPE & RESILIENCE

WOMEN RAISE their voices in more than 50 true stories about overcoming cultural, religious and racial barriers to make new friends in an inspiring book just released in October.

Here’s the story: A decade ago, women from eight religious traditions founded the network known as WISDOM: Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in MetroDetroit. Within three years, they had gathered and published a first collection of true stories from women about building diverse friendships. Now, they have doubled the size of this ground-breaking project. It’s called Friendship & Faith—the newly expanded edition of their book, which they launched nationally this month.

Their campaign promoting diverse friendships already has prompted other writers nationwide to lift their voices. Here are two women who already are adding their stories to this effort:

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

Click this image to read Stephanie’s column.

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

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
And, no it’s not all candy and costumes! Our Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton writes about the ancient roots of Halloween, including the centuries-old Gaelic and Irish seasonal festival known as Samhain. Did you know? In Gaelic Ireland, guising—donning a costume—was thought to “trick” ill-intentioned spirits roaming the byways near Samhain.

The word Halloween is of Christian origin, and many Christians visit graveyards during this time of year to pray and place flowers and candles at the graves of their deceased loved ones. The two days following All Hallows Eve—Hallowmas, or All Saints’ Day, and All Souls’ Day—pay homage to the souls that Christians believe are now with God. Of course, these traditions vary across the many Christian denominations in the world today, but the holiday itself echoes these Christian origins.

Please, enjoy Stephanie’s Halloween column and please share it with friends!

 

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FAITH & FILM

Click this movie image to read Ed’s review of Columbus.

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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Friendship & Faith: Outpouring of courageous stories from women crossing barriers

NOW MORE THAN EVER,
WE NEED THIS MESSAGE OF HOPE

COVER STORY—On Sunday, women from many different religious traditions gathered in southeast Michigan to celebrate a decade of educational programs and peacemaking initiatives by WISDOM: Women’s Interfaith Solutions for Dialogue and Outreach in MetroDetroit.

These courageous women did more than simply toast their own hard work at this important milestone. They stood up and addressed the whole world, calling for women and men to stand up with them and demonstrate that millions of Americans welcome diversity. They called on all of us to shore up our inclusive communities.

Friendship & Faith—the newly expanded edition of their book, which they launched nationally on Sunday—proclaims on its back cover: “We can change the world—one friend at a time. With that inspiring call to action, Friendship & Faith was launched in 2010 featuring true stories from 29 women. Since then, these women have inspired readers nationwide. Now, the book is doubling in size to include new stories from women daring to explore cross-cultural friendship and build stronger, healthier communities.”

Their campaign promoting diverse friendships already has prompted other writers nationwide to lift their voices. Here are two women who already are adding their stories to this effort:

‘Find yourself a teacher
… and a friend’

RABBI MARLA HORNSTEN draws on Jewish tradition as well as practical spiritual wisdom in urging readers to explore the stories in this new book. She urges all of us to gain strength from the examples in this book to form our own new friendships. You’ll be inspired by the many connections and examples lifted up by the rabbi. And, please, share her column—and this good news—with friends.

Just Imagine:
No more ‘in’ group and ‘out’ group

MAGGIE ROWE is familiar to regular readers of our online magazine. In April, we published a cover-story interview with Maggie about her wonderful new memoir, Sin Bravely. Because that book is all about Maggie’s struggle to free herself from religious rigidity—she now welcomes this new Friendship & Faith as a vision of what diverse friendships can become. Enjoy Maggie’s column—and please share it with friends.

Got a story to share?

Got a story you want to share with the Women of WISDOM? Want to inquire about a group order of this newly expanded book for your small group? Interested in bringing a WISDOM program to your community? Please, reach out to WISDOM through this “Contact Us” page.

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‘FRIENDSHIP IS A CURRENT BENEATH THE SURFACE’

GodSigns—Columnist and author Suzy Farbman writes about many ways the powerful current of friendship “buoys us and keeps us moving forward.” Within Judaism, friendship is an essential element in tikkun olam, or repairing the world. Whatever your faith tradition, Suzy writes, friendship fuels creativity and expands our communities in healthy ways.

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

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

DIWALIIn Indian homes around the world, the festival of lights is coming! You may find Indian friends and colleagues planning well in advance for this popular observance. In gratitude for the triumph of light over darkness, Diwali holds great significance for Hindus, Jains and Sikhs alike.

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HISTORIC BAHA’I CELEBRATION

TWIN HOLY BIRTHDAYS—Five million Baha’is worldwide will celebrate the bicentennial anniversary of the “Twin Holy Birthdays” this year, as adherents of the faith rejoice in the birth anniversaries of the two figures most central to their faith: Baha’u’llah and the Bab. This year is the bicentennial of Baha’is most central figure—Baha’u’llah—and the Bab is being honored alongside him.

 

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Click the image to learn more about the October 2017 issue of Visual Parables Journal.

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: How can we respond to that mysterious evil in Las Vegas?

REDISCOVERING OUR HOPE AND COURAGE

COVER STORY—Thanks to two of our popular contributors: Benjamin Pratt and James Truxell!

Our top story this week is their reflection on the truly inscrutable evil we all witnessed in Las Vegas. Journalists from major U.S. newspapers have just published in-depth reports that find Stephen Paddock’s motivation a mystery. But, along the way, those journalists did spot some clues that prompted Pratt and Truxell to compare Paddock’s mindset to a character created nearly 60 years ago by author Ian Fleming.

Their provocative column today is no joke. It’s a serious look at how such mysterious evil can stun all of us into a kind of spiritual helplessness. And, in the end, these two writers conclude that there are some classic spiritual disciplines we can follow to reconnect with our wellsprings of hope, compassion and community. Please, enjoy this reflection by Pratt and Truxell, then share it and discuss it with friends.

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AMERICA AT ITS BEST: CHAUTAUQUA

FeedTheSpirit—By coincidence, our columnist Bobbie Lewis and her husband returned recently from one of America’s most uplifting communities: Chautauqua. As Bobbie describes it: “Chautauqua is a combination of college campus, music festival, writers’ workshop, arts enclave and summer resort, with a little more than a hint of the religious movement that gave it its start 143 years ago.” Or, in other words, Bobbie writes: “summer camp for the adult brain.”

Like our team here at ReadTheSpirit, are you still shaken this week by the events we all witnessed in Las Vegas? Need some news from a completely different vision of what is possible in a community?

Please, read Bobbie’s inspiring description of Chautauqua (complete with a delicious recipe, as always). It’s not too early to think about planning your own cross-country trip for Chautauqua’s next season!

 

THE MEANING OF COMMUNITY

GodSigns—Want more inspiration this week? Columnist Suzy Farbman writes about the Bat Mitzvah of her granddaughter Alexis. This milestone of claiming one’s adult responsibility in the community is specifically Jewish, but this story about Alexis’s reflections on the occasion points to larger truths for all of us.

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HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS

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

SUKKOT, AND THEN … The Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot is ending this week, so you may still see Jewish families enjoying their foliage-topped outdoor shelters. But, then, Jewish communities celebrate the gift of the Torah! Stephanie Fenton reports on the holidays Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah.

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DIWALIIn Indian homes around the world, the festival of lights is coming! You may find Indian friends and colleagues planning well in advance for this popular observance. In gratitude for the triumph of light over darkness, Diwali holds great significance for Hindus, Jains and Sikhs alike.

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HISTORIC BAHA’I CELEBRATION

TWIN HOLY BIRTHDAYS—Five million Baha’is worldwide will celebrate the bicentennial anniversary of the “Twin Holy Birthdays” this year, as adherents of the faith rejoice in the birth anniversaries of the two figures most central to their faith: Baha’u’llah and the Bab. This year is the bicentennial of Baha’is most central figure—Baha’u’llah—and the Bab is being honored alongside him.

 

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FAITH & FILM

Click this image to read Ed’s 5-star review of the new movie about Thurgood Marshall.

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: ‘Struck by Hope’ tells of one woman’s transformation that led her to help families nationwide

Click this cover to visit the book’s Amazon page.

‘A CLEAR TRANSFORMATION’

COVER STORY—Along with the editors at Breast Cancer Wellness Magazine, we are celebrating the publication of Jeanine Patten-Coble’s inspiring memoir: Struck By Hope. The book tells the true story of her spiritual transformation after a diagnosis of cancer—a turning point that led her to become the founder of a nationwide program that provides week-long retreats to families grappling with cancer. Jeanine’s story is so powerful that the CNN television network has named her a “CNN Hero.”

Here is how Jeanine begins to describe that process of transformation: “On the absolute worst possible day in my life, the day I dreaded telling my son about my cancer, God showed up. … He knocked me over. If it had been a scene out of a cartoon, it would have been God with a big huge frying pan hitting me over the head, stars swirling around me. God’s calling can be big and powerful moments, faint voices, or small and tender nudges. It can be a voice in the darkness or a trumpet in the light.”

Those words from Jeanine appear in bright red type in the two-page feature about Jeanine in the Fall 2017 issue of Breast Cancer Wellness Magazine. 

Click on this image of page 22 of the Fall 2017 issue to visit the magazine’s website and see that entire issue in PDF.

The magazine reports that Jeanine’s spiritual transformation was the key to “what she calls a ‘ridiculously present life’ and to create a nonprofit to provide free, week-long vacations for breast cancer patients and their families to reconnect and celebrate life together. It also led Jeanine to be nominated for the 2017 CNN Heroes award. CNN Heroes is a year-long initiative that honors everyday people for their selfless, creative efforts to help others.”

Founded in 2006, Breast Cancer Wellness is a quarterly magazine that goes directly to thousands of breast cancer patients and survivors in all 50 states—as well as to several thousand health-care facilities, breast cancer support groups, and breast cancer centers and events. Click on this link to view the Fall 2017 issue in PDF format. Jeanine’s story is on page 22, so scroll down, once the magazine is visible.

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CELEBRATING FRANCIS

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

ST. FRANCIS DAY—Perhaps you’ve seen the growing interest in St. Francis-themed pet blessings in your community. As Stephanie Fenton reports on the Christian observance of St. Francis on October 4, she also offers resources for such occasions.

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SUKKOT—Jewish families around the world begin the harvest festival of Sukkot at sundown on October 4, this year—a rare convergence with the Christian remembrance of Francis’s care for creation. (Because the Jewish lunar calendar is continually moving in relation to the secular calendar, Sukkot began October 16 in 2016 and, next year, it will begin September 23.) Our online magazine writes about Sukkot, each year, and a great way to get a feel for the festival is Bobbie Lewis’s column about her preparation of grape leaves for Sukkot—complete with a delicious recipe.

 

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MAN OF SERVICE

GOD SIGNS—This week, Suzy Farbman profiles Don Spear, today better known as co-founder of the OpenSesame online hub for elearning courses. Before becoming an entrepreneur, however, he had a remarkable career as a submarine officer.

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FAITH & FILM

Click this movie image to read Ed’s review of I’ll Push You.

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: 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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