On March 10, 2001, the New Orleans Times-Picayune
reported on the celebration of Purim, "Judaism's most raucous holiday,"
in New Orleans. It includes music, dancing, costumes,
and the "rabbinic injunction to drink until one." One rabbi described
Purim as a night of "irreverent reverence." The feast of Purim recalls "the ancient tale of Jewish deliverance that
is the Book of Esther."
On March 10, 2001, the Chicago Sun-Times published an article on James William Coleman's book The New Buddhism: The
Western Transformation of an Ancient Tradition about American-born converts to Buddhism. "Most are baby boomers, almost all are white and all practice meditation" and are trying "to make Buddhism more egalitarian, more feminist and more socially
conscious...Recently critics have suggested that the 'new Buddhism' is subverting
Buddhism itself...Americans seem intent on co-opting and
On March 9, 2001, The Boston Globe reported
on civil-rights lawyer Juliette Kayyem, who is
executive director of a project on counterterrorism and domestic preparedness at
Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. She is
waging what seems "like a one-woman war within
the Justice Department against the use of secret evidence...
Acting on secret
evidence, US officials now seize, detain, and deport foreigners suspected of
terrorist activities." The National Commission on
Terrorism, the congressionally appointed panel she sits
On February 22, 2001, The Record, of Bergen
New Jersey, reported on Muslim attitudes toward
"According to Islamic law...Men and women are
allowed to interact, but they are not supposed
to form friendships unless for the intention of
time comes to marry, it's typical for Muslim
friends to act as matchmakers." The practice
of arranged marriage is a cultural practice, however, and not one that
is founded in Islamic law. Different cultures impose
different kinds of restrictions.
On February 18, 2001, The News Tribune reported on the growing movement of Paganism in many parts of the country. Pagans "follow pre-Christian or pagan teachings...Members say they are drawn to the groups' reverence for the Earth,
the worship of the Goddess and God, and an approach to spirituality
that stresses personal responsibility and empowerment." Pagans still do not feel accepted by others as members of "a real religion...By some estimates, there are at least 200,000 pagans in the United
States," but there are probably more....
On February 5, 2001, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that three employees of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago have filed
complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, saying they were discriminated against because they were Hispanic. "Their allegations include verbal harassment, intimidation, unfair working
conditions and denial of resources. The women also filed gender discrimination
charges...The problem has been discussed before...In an Aug. 16, 2000, memorandum...the Rev.
Esequiel Sanchez, director...
On February 4, 2001, the Denver Rocky Mountain News published an article about a new book by James William Coleman, entitled
The New Buddhism, The Western Transformation of an Ancient Tradition, an in-depth look at Buddhism and the path it took to becoming part of mainstream American life. "Coleman traces Buddhism from its ancient roots to American poets Emerson,
Thoreau and Whitman, through the 1950s beat poets, into the LSD experiences of
the 1960s, the boom years of the 1970s, the sexual, financial and alcohol
On February 3, 2001, The Boston Globe published an interview of Lama Surya Das. Born into a Jewish family on Long Island as Jeffrey Miller, "Surya Das, who lives in Concord, has studied Buddhism for three decades with
teachers including the Dalai Lama, and he has become a Buddhist teacher himself." In the interview Surya Das answered how his message differs from that of an Asian Buddhist teacher: "I'm trying to make Buddhism more accessible to Westerners. So I'm less
monastic, emphasizing seclusion less and integration in daily life...
On February 3, 2001, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that there has been "a growing
movement in the United States among Conservative and Reform Jews to adopt or
adapt some Orthodox rituals and practices." One of these rituals is "the ancient Jewish tradition
known as laying tefillin (pronounced te-Fill-lun)." The ritual involves wrapping a black leather strap around one's body, whose "purpose is to hold firmly
in place words from the Jewish sacred scripture, the Torah, concealed and sealed
into...black leather boxes......
On January 28, 2001, The Times-Picayune reported on the first women at the Chua Bo De Vietnamese Buddhist
Fellowship temple in Algiers, Louisiana, "to perform the elaborate
dragon dance, an ancient tradition that whisks away bad spirits and brings good
luck to all in the new year...The
dragons are usually played by young men from the Gia Dinh Phat Tu youth
association." This year three young women in the association asked to participate in the dance. "Many of the elders of the temple...were opposed at first to the idea of
On January 27, 2001, The Houston Chronicle reported on Azizah, a new magazine for Muslim women founded by a threesome at WOW Publishing. Founder Tayyibah Taylor wants the magazine to create a feeling of identity for American
Muslim women. "Editors choose articles to inspire the contemporary Muslim woman. The
premiere edition includes stories on handicapped accessibility in mosques and a
profile of a Muslim woman who is a family court judge in Baltimore, Md. But the
pages also offer traditional women's magazine fare."
On January 14, 2001, The New York Times reported on the importance of faith to John Ashcroft, President-elect George W. Bush's choice for United States attorney general. He denies that he will use this position to impose his religious beliefs on others. "However, Mr. Ashcroft has said it is the role
to 'legislate morality.' To judge morality, he has said he relies on God,
Scriptures and his faith. He has opposed homosexuality, abortion, pornography,
needle exchanges for drug addicts, the National Endowment for...
On January 13, 2001, The Houston Chronicle reported that Church Women United, a church women's group committed to interdenominational harmony, fired half its staff--a total of seven employees--before Christmas. "Now
at least two
of its member organizations are considering withdrawing funds....Church Women United leaders say it includes 500,000 Protestant, Roman
Catholic and Orthodox women. Ongoing programs include World Day of
Prayer and an
On December 30, 2000, The Boston Globe ran Michael Paulson's "Top 10 religion stories of 2000:"
1. "Senator Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) is nominated as the first Jewish
candidate for vice president of the United States." Among other things, this caused Jews to question the "assumption that orthodoxy, at least for Jews, is incompatible with success in
2. "Pope John Paul II, Cardinal Bernard F. Law, and other Catholic prelates offer
sweeping apologies for sins as part of celebration of Jubilee year...