Welcome to Wisdom Wednesday, in a week that began with Orthodox Easter and continues with dates of significance for Muslims and Jews, and Sikhs too.
Ramadan was began March 22 and ends tomorrow, Thursday, April 20, with Eid al-Fitr on Friday, April 21. The Islamic Calendar follows a lunar cycle; the calculated dates of Ramadan can differ from place to place based on moon-sightings. WLS ABC 7 in Chicago reports on how Muslims are observing this month.
Minneapolis will allow broadcasts of the Muslim call to prayer at all hours, becoming the first major U.S. city to allow the announcement or “adhan” to be heard five times a day, year-round. The Minneapolis City Council unanimously agreed last Thursday to amend the city’s noise ordinance, which had prevented dawn and late evening calls at certain times of the year due to noise restrictions.
Public schools across the country are beginning to acknowledge the needs of Muslim students during Ramadan. Muslim students often prefer to sit in the library or a favorite classroom during their lunchtime, ideally with other Muslim students observing the fast.
President Joe Biden has appointed Mazen Basrawi as a senior adviser and White House liaison to American Muslim communities, making good on a campaign promise to fill a slot eliminated by former President Donald Trump, according to a spokesperson for the National Security Council, where Basrawi currently serves.
Every April, Sikh communities across the world come together to celebrate Vaisakhi. For centuries, Vaisakhi has marked the spring harvest, and Punjabi farmers have celebrated this occasion with community gatherings and festivals.
It is the occasion this year for an interfaith leader, as a Sikh and as a trans person, to reflect on increasing restrictions in many areas of the United States.
President Joe Biden issued a statement commemorating Yom HaShoah
and throughout these days of remembrance, we mourn the six million Jews who were murdered during the horror of the Holocaust — as well as the millions of Roma and Sinti, Slavs, disabled persons, LGBTQI+ individuals, and political dissidents who were murdered at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators. . . . we renew our solemn vow: never again.”
For the first time since 2019, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the national commemoration will take place tomorrow at the US Capitol—on Thursday, April 20, 2023, at 10:30 a.m. ET.
The internationally recognized date for Holocaust Remembrance Day corresponds to the 27th day of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar. It marks the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
Rabbi David Wolpe offered a sermon at Shabbat Service April 15 at the Ziegler Sanctuary, quoting a disturbing book title: People Love Dead Jews. Watch and listen on Youtube.
We must also note that last Sunday was Eastern Orthodox Easter.
Rapture at the end of the world?
When global shutdowns rippled across the globe in March 2020, Stacie Grahn thought it was the literal end of the world. “I thought, this is it. We’re all in our homes — is this when we’re all going to disappear?” Grahn told Religion News Service. “Is [the vaccine] going to be the mark of the beast we have to take?”
Biden sees Priest who gave last rites to son
President Biden was in tears after the surprise meeting with the priest, Friar Frank O’Grady, who was given a last-minute security approval to meet with the president.
The Supreme Court will hear a mail carrier’s religious tolerance case. He was told that as part of his job he’d need to start delivering Amazon.com packages on Sundays. He declined, saying his Sundays are for church and family.
Are the Supreme Court justices conservative? Or abortion foes above all else. The Los Angeles Times offers an opinion.
And what does Dominion have to prove? Did the hosts of the country’s most popular cable news network know that Trump’s lies about the election were untrue?
At the state level, Colorado seeks to offer safety. A trio of health care bills enshrining access in Colorado to abortion and gender-affirming procedures and medications became law Friday as the Democrat-led state tries to make itself a safe haven for its neighbors, whose Republican leaders are restricting care.
In a recent ruling in the dispute between the New York State Education Department and several Hasidic schools, a state court decided in favor of the latter. NYSED claims that the schools do not fulfill the state’s legal requirement to provide a curriculum “substantially equivalent” to that offered by public ones.
America’s new religious identities
Ray Suarez writes in NCR: “A minaret points skyward next to the squat dome of a brand new mosque. Hindu temples, Sikh gurdwaras and Protestant megachurches sit in splendor in seas of black asphalt. Two holy words shared across all these faiths are ‘ample parking.’”
Catholics remain the largest religious group among Latinos in the United States, but the numbers are declining. A survey shows that US Latinos identifying as Catholic drops to 43 percent.
Doctrine of Discovery repudiated
The Vatican has repudiated the “Doctrine of Discovery,” a centuries-old legal and political construct by which European colonial powers, with the support of the Catholic Church’s leaders, historically seized lands from Indigenous people.
A new day
NCR, in an article in the series, Global Sisters Report, Sister Kateri Mitchell describes ‘a new day’ for Indigenous Catholics
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center has not renewed a contract with the Franciscan friars, but NCR’s Brian Fraga reports the facility says it still offers Catholic service.
What the pope said
Wanting to meet potential partners through dating apps like Tinder is “normal,” and the church’s teaching on sex is “still in diapers,” Pope Francis said in a conversation with a group of young people gathered in Rome. As for insinuations about John Paul II, they are “baseless.”
Bishop of Hong Kong makes sensitive trip to Beijing
Bishop Stephen Chow of Hong Kong is currently on a five-day visit to the Chinese capital, the first head of the Catholic Church in the former British colony to do so since 1985.
The legend of Jacob Steinmetz
The Times of Israel has a report on the 19-year-old Modern Orthodox pitcher from a Long Island yeshiva who struck out Manny Machado at the World Baseball Classic.
Trees in the Bible
What kind of tree did Abraham plant at Beer-sheba? That’s one question in a test on biblical trees offered by Readers Digest. Are you adding any trees to your landscape this spring? Maybe you could try a biblical tree (assuming it will live in your climate zone). See how well you can match these trees to their biblical references. (If you have already taken this test, you may do better this time).
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We hope you have enjoyed this roundup of recent news about faith, politics, and culture. We will return next week with another edition of Wisdom Wednesday.
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