Rabbi warns cost of living crisis will have shocking impact on Jewish communities
Rabbi Jonathan Romain issued a stern warning of the impending social catastrophe of the cost of living crisis on Jewish communities. As millions struggle to pay dramatically increased energy bills and food prices are hit by soaring inflation, he wrote an article in the Jewish Chronicle, giving advice for synagogues to help vulnerable people. This includes giving people a hot water bottle as a gift so they can at least keep their bodies warm. He urges leaders to make sure they let people know they are in a safe place and are being taken care of. Synagogues should consider reducing subscriptions and remaining open as places of warmth, food and drink; and they should offer support for those in debt and those with mental health issues or marriage breakdown due to stress. Rabbi Jonathan Romain, of the Reformed Maidenhead Synagogue, warns that the crisis will impact Jewish schools, businesses and synagogues, which may have to make savings including layoffs.
Pope Francis meets transgender people housed in church in Rome
The Associated Press reports that Pope Francis met with a group of transgender people who took refuge in a church in Rome. Quote L’Osservatore Romano, AP said the meeting took place on Wednesday on the sidelines of Francis’ weekly general audience. He said the Community of the Blessed Immaculate Virgin in the Torvaianica neighborhood on the outskirts of Rome had opened its doors to transgender people during the coronavirus pandemic and the pope had already met with them three times.
Spain’s Catholic Church to investigate persistent allegations of blood libel myths
The Guardian reports that the Catholic Church in Spain must investigate anti-Semitic rituals after the Ha’aretz newspaper said towns and villages continue to commemorate ‘blood libel’, in which Jews use the blood of Christian children in religious rituals. Ha’aretz said the myth lives on every year with rituals supported by both the church and the local authority. Libel was used to justify the expulsion of the Jewish population from Spain in 1492.
Urgent restoration project to fix a shrine to Our Lady in Spain
The Spanish Episcopal Conference has acquired ownership of the Sanctuary of the Apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in Pontevedra, Spain, which requires repairs costing approximately $900,000. It marks the spot where the Virgin Mary with the infant Jesus appeared to Sister Lucia in 1925 and attracted 10 million visitors a year. The Catholic News Agency says the wood supporting the roof has rotted due to water leaks and the structure supporting the stone walls has deteriorated. The repair project has an estimated cost of around $900,000, of which only around $200,000 has been raised.
Veteran religion journalist urges US church to wake up to disintegration
Religion News Service correspondent Bob Smietana has spent decades reporting on the American church and in his recent book warns that it is disintegrating, but the church pays no attention. “Reorganized Religion: The Remodeling of the American Church and Why it Matters” says the United States is in the midst of an unprecedented spiritual and social transformation negotiated by older, predominantly white worshippers. At the book launch, it was said that the average size of an American congregation is 65 and that between 30 and 40 percent of congregations will be gone in 20 years. Bob Smietana said the response to falling numbers has been to shut down, do things differently, for example online, or turn around on issues such as politics or sexuality. Speakers at the launch said it alienated congregants from the church and was one of the reasons for the decline in membership. Yet the book describes how organized religion has benefited individuals and the community over the years, and Bob Smietana charts positive pathways for reorganization, reflecting the hope that “perhaps believers can learn to become, if not friends with the wider culture, then at least better neighbours”.
The Historical Legacy of Buddhist Temples in England
Historic England has produced a blog chronicling the history of England’s 190 Buddhist buildings, which include historic buildings suitable for purpose-built temples and pagodas. He says Buddhism came to England as a result of British colonial presence in Asia and trade with the Far East. The first ordained English Buddhist monk was Allan Bennett, who traveled to Sri Lanka and Myanmar, before returning in 1908 to establish a monastery there. Immigrants from Myanmar, Hong Kong. Japan and Tibet brought the three main traditions of Buddhism: Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana. The blog tells in words and pictures the story of temples created in old swimming pools, libraries, schools, courthouses, churches and mansions, as well as newly built ornate temples in several cities.
Hindu festival celebrating sibling faithfulness brings together families from around the world
Hindu siblings have traveled around the world, ensuring they are together for the festival of Raksha Bandhan, also known as Rakhi, when sisters wrap a friendship bracelet around their brother’s wrist , or other family members, to symbolize responsibility and family values. Families gather in prayer and a special ceremony is held to mark the occasion. The festival falls on August 11 and 12 this year, at the time of the new moon, and it is reported that British students have returned home for the festival, or in other cases bracelets have been sent to family. in India.