Religion

Judaism, like most religions, operates in the moral and ethical choices that happen every single day, but there are also times set aside for really digging deep, like the Days of Awe, a 10-day period that begins at sunset Wednesday. Sunset also marks the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

"It's a kind of spiritual taking of stock, both regarding what we've done in the past and how we're going to proceed in the future," says Lawrence Schiffman, who teaches Judaic studies at New York University.

Eboo Patel founded the Interfaith Youth Core to counter the growing problem of religious intolerance and violence at home and abroad. IFYC trains students to bridge the faith-divide through interfaith cooperation. Patel says that “interfaith interactions can be a bomb of destruction, a barrier of division, a bubble of isolation, or a bridge of cooperation.” He says that he’s inspired to build a bridge of cooperation by his faith as a Muslim, his Indian heritage, and his American citizenship.

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A new poll measuring statewide opinions on same-sex marriage was released Monday. Some results of the survey were unexpected.

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Next, we'll report on a casualty of war. The war was the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas.

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Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Earlier this week, the Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints announced it would be reassigning missionaries stationed in two western Africa countries due to the Ebola outbreak.

Wednesday, the church announced that all missionaries have been safely removed from Sierra Leone and Liberia—two of four countries, including Guinea and more recently Nigeria, in which the deadly outbreak has surfaced.

At the heart of Stephanie Feldman's debut, The Angel of Losses, is a deceptively straightforward story. The heroine, Marjorie, is a Ph.D. student living and studying in New York. Her subject is the "Wandering Jew" — the mapping and reclamation of an ancient legend. She spends her days in the library, reading and researching, the evenings redrafting and honing her thesis. She is a woman with "a weakness for stories," but one who is often selfish and cold. When we meet her, she seems well on the way to walling herself into an ivory tower.

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It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

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And I'm Steve Inskeep. Another day's worth of rockets has flown from Gaza to Israel. Another day's worth of Israeli strikes have hit Gaza. After a cease-fire fell apart, it's not clear how this conflict ends.

MONTAGNE: But this morning, we have a story of people waging peace. However briefly, they tried to bridge their differences. The story begins with a coincidence of the calendar. NPR's Ari Shapiro explains from Jerusalem.

Church Pew Dispute Lands Utah Man In Jail

Jun 30, 2014
Wayne Dodge
Weber County Sheriff

A man who engaged in a physical dispute over saved pew space at an Ogden LDS church will be spending some time in jail.

Wayne Dodge was scheduled to report to Weber County Jail, Monday where he will spend 30 days. Media reports Dodge was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to the class B misdemeanor of assault. The 52-year-old was accused of punching another man and hitting him with his car.

What's A Caliphate?

Jun 30, 2014

The Islamic caliphates had a long and glorious run, but in the 21st century, they seemed consigned to history. Simply put, a caliphate is an Islamic state led by a supreme religious and political leader, and it has existed in one form or another for most of the 1,400-year history of Islam.

The collapse of the Ottoman Empire a century ago marked the end of the last caliphate, an extraordinarily powerful one that had survived for more than four centuries.

Glance at the map above, Second Largest Religious Tradition in Each State 2010, and you will see that Buddhism (orange), Judaism (pink) and Islam (blue) are the runner-up religions across the country.

No surprises there. But can you believe that Hindu (dark orange) is the No. 2 tradition in Arizona and Delaware, and that Baha'i (green) ranks second in South Carolina?

Jefferey Dale

Two members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were recently notified that they potentially faced disciplinary councils which could result in excommunication from the church for apostasy. Kate Kelly is a human rights lawyer who founded Ordain Women, a group seeking access to the LDS church’s all-male priesthood. 


Anti-booze Policies Called Into Question

Jun 14, 2014
attorneygeneral.utah.gov

Members of the state agency that controls alcohol in Utah have been summoned to a legislative hearing to answer questions about a series of policy changes that have garnered much attention around the nation and the world. 

Earlier this summer the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control made some alterations to the liquor laws, including an alteration to the rules involving serving alcohol at events. Sen. Jim Dabakis says he believes these policies are hurting the state’s economy and job growth, and do not actually deter any dangers involved with alcohol consumption.

Mormon Facing Excommunication Speaks Out

Jun 13, 2014
mormonstories.org

A member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who was among the first in the world to use online forums to discuss Mormon culture and doctrine has learned in recent days that he faces a disciplinary council for his ongoing discussions about doubts he and many of his supporters share about the faith.

John Dehlin is the founder of the popular blog and podcast Mormon Stories. He spoke with Utah Public Radio on Friday about being notified by church leaders that he faced a pending disciplinary action - the outcome of which could ultimately lead to his dismissal from the LDS faith and ostracize him from his community.

Listen to our full interview with Dehlin here:

Read the full transcript below:

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There's a new film screening on American college campuses this spring that's sparking lively debate among Muslim students. Unmosqued depicts a younger generation of American Muslims drifting away from Islam, and it argues that mosques bear the blame.

Recently several hundred people gathered at the Webb Foundation to celebrate Mawlid, the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The foundation is named after an early American convert to Islam. There's no dome, minaret or even a building. It's known for service projects, good Sunday schools and father-daughter camping trips.

Utah Tops Charts As Most Married State

May 20, 2014
Wedding Rings
dhrm.utah.gov

A new study confirms what many Utahns speculate—there are a lot of married people in the state.

Find The Best, a website that researches and interprets data on various topics, used marriage statistics from the U.S. Census' American Community Survey to calculate a state-by-state proportion of wedded to non-wedded individuals. With 57 percent of its adult population hitched, Utah came out on top.


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Many republican governors have taken a stand against Obamacare by refusing to expand Medicaid. Utah, which is one of the most republican states in the nation, remains undecided. But in a state where the majority of the population are Mormons, one bishop from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints says helping the poor is a moral obligation. Andrea Smardon from member station KUER in Salt Lake City has more.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHECKOUT SCANNER)

New Record Label For LDS Music Scene

Apr 25, 2014
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Brandon Metcalf is the founder and producer of a new record label called Eleven 17 which will produce music for the LDS music niche.

"It will be working with other song writers and artists, and singers and musicians who are working on music that is of a faith-based or of an inspirational nature," Metcalf said. "I myself am LDS, but it is not limited to just that. I think the message can potentially appeal to a larger audience."

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Now, as we've just heard, one of the inductees at tonight's ceremony is Cat Stevens.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WILD WORLD")

Israeli lawmakers have voted to end the practice of exempting ultra-Orthodox Jews, or Haredi, from national service, a move that opens them up to military conscription for the first time in the country's 65-year history.

The Knesset passed the measure 67-1 with the opposition boycotting it in the 120-member legislature.

Haredi Judaism is a branch of the religion that shuns modern secular culture. Adherents, including Hasidic Jews, are distinguished partly by their conservative and uniform attire.

Artistic depiction of a brain.
Religious Brain Project

A group of neuroscientists at the University of Utah are attempting to discover how religious and spiritual experiences affect social lives and brain activity, beginning with the LDS community.

Researcher Jared Nielsen is working on the Religious Brain Project. He said this is one of the first efforts to study a religious population and how the brain processes their spiritual experiences.


LDS Church Official's Speech Causes Uproar

Feb 19, 2014
BYU

A speech given to BYU Idaho students about morality and modesty by Tad R. Callister, a member of the Quorum of the Seventy,  was given with the intent to inspire people to follow the church’s policies.

Code Switch has been writing about some overlooked cultural interactions that have helped shape what Jewish identity is today, and we continue the series with this post about the murky and fascinating history of crypto-Jews in the Southwest.

It's that time of year again. Time for Mama Stamberg's Cranberry Relish. Every year since 1972, around Thanksgiving, I've shared my mother-in-law's famous cranberry relish recipe on the radio. It's appallingly pink, like Pepto Bismol — but it tastes terrific.

This year, I bring my relish recipe to Thanksgivukkah. Next week, Thanksgiving and the start of Hanukkah fall on the same day. It's a rare convergence.

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