Current Event January 18, 2019
Three women in their 40s recently entered a famous Hindu temple in India that for centuries has not allowed females between 10 and 50 years old because they are of childbearing age. The temple was targeted by Indian feminists, who have been protesting gender discrimination, and there has been a political backlash among Hindu nationalists. Listen to learn more about how this incident raises issues of both gender equity and religious freedom, and then debate: Should houses of worship decide who may enter?
Current Event September 11, 2018
Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have fled their home country of Myanmar since attacks by soldiers on their ethnic group. Now in refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh, their lives remain dangerous. Building shelters on the sandy land where the camps are located has proven problematic. Listen to hear about life in these camps and the ongoing challenges facing Rohingya refugees.
Current Event August 14, 2018
Israel recently passed a law that defines the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Israeli religious minorities, such as Muslims and Christians, feel that this law discriminates against them and fails to recognize their contributions. Some have even begun to protest it, gaining support from important and surprising allies. Listen to find out more about the controversy surrounding the Nation State law.
Current Event June 7, 2018
Ramadan is a month-long Muslim practice during which observers do not eat or drink during daylight hours. Two American Muslim[MB10] women and podcasters recently discussed what it’s like to observe Ramadan in America. They described their coworkers’ reactions to their fasting, their experiences observing Ramadan, and what the holy month means to them. They also provide advice for non-Muslims who want to learn more about the religion from their Muslim friends. Listen to learn more about Ramadan.
Current Event April 4, 2018
Since 1985, women in Iran have been required by the Islamic Republic to wear a headscarf called a hijab in public, regardless of their religious beliefs. Today Iranian women are protesting this mandatory law. Police have arrested 29 women for publicly protesting the veil covering. This silent protest includes women taking off their headscarves and holding them on sticks in silent protest. Listen to hear more about this protest and its effects.
Current Event March 29, 2018
During the eight-day Jewish holiday of Passover, observant Jews follow a set of kosher laws. Kosher food refers to the types of food and ways of preparing food that follow Biblical laws. Orthodox Jews follow these religious laws very closely and do not eat or drink what is not kosher. During Passover, observant Jews do not eat leavened products and during the Passover Seder meals, and they drink the ‘fruit of the vine” or grape juice as an important part of the observance. There is currently some competition for Orthodox shoppers in the grape juice business. Listen to hear more about Passover and the market for grape juice.
Current Event February 15, 2018
In Spain, Catholics remember the patron saint of animals, San Anton, with a festival that celebrates pets. Dogs, cats, birds, and sheep are walked down the streets in the arms of their owners. The pet owners travel to church so that their pets can be blessed. Many have looked to San Anton to help with their animals, and many believe it is important to have a day celebrating this saint. Listen to learn about the variety of animals involved and how they react to the pet blessing.
Current Event February 9, 2018
In Thailand, female monks, known as bhikkhunis, are not allowed. Many believe that there is corruption among the male monks and villagers have come to welcome the female monks. They believe an increase in female monks would create a fairer system with more respect for the role. Listen to learn how ordained female monks see themselves compared to male monks and then debate: Should women be allowed to be religious leaders in any faith?
ELA High School
In 1630s New England, English Puritans came to the colonies to start a new life. This is a few decades before the Salem witch trials, and it’s hard to imagine living in this time and in this very particular culture. One writer made a movie that describes this experience, following one family that was struggling to survive in the New England wilderness. Learn about the social norms and unconscious fears that film explores. Listen to hear more about the inspiration for this movie and what might really scare us.
Current Event December 21, 2017
The holiday known as Kwanzaa celebrates African heritage and culture and is observed for seven days, ending on January 1. The holiday includes lights, a feast, and gift-giving, and surrounds the holidays of Christmas and Hanukkah. Kwanzaa was created within the last century and has gone through changes in who celebrates it and how it is observed. Now, more religions are celebrating the holiday than initially intended. Listen to learn about how Kwanzaa began and how it has changed.
Current Event December 19, 2017
Jerusalem is a holy city for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Religious leaders from all these traditions have strong feelings about this holy land. In an historic move, President Trump has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and is moving the U.S. Embassy there. This issue has long been debated by religious leaders in Palestine, and all around the world. The announcement led to violence between Israel and Palestine and may undermine the peace process. Listen to how religious leaders from various faiths are reacting to the President’s decision.
Current Event December 11, 2017
The Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum recently opened with the help of former Texas Senator, Florence Shapiro. Shaprio is a first-generation American whose family faced tragedy throughout the Holocaust. As she grew up, Shapiro continued to hear more stories about her relatives who lived in Berlin throughout the 1930s. She has made an effort to share this history with her children. Listen to hear how opening the museum carries on her father’s legacy and has allowed Shapiro to educate people of all ages about the Holocaust.
Current Event November 28, 2017
India's most famous monument, the Taj Mahal, is an example of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India's rich history. Now it is at the center of a bitter controversy. Hindu nationalists say the Muslim emperor who built India's iconic monument was a "traitor." The construction of the mausoleum was completed in the 1640s as a mausoleum for Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan’s favorite wife. Listen to hear about how India’s national pride along with religious ideas are contributing to this controversy.
Current Event November 20, 2017
More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled from their homes in Myanmar, also known as Burma, into Bangladesh since the end of August to escape the violence from the Burmese military. The Rohingya are a Muslim minority in a majority Buddhist country, and the violence has been called “ethnic cleansing” by some. The Burmese government’s stance is that their actions are in response to the attacks by an armed group of Rohingya against the Burmese police. Listen to hear about this crisis and what the Burmese government and United States government are doing to help the Rohingya.
Current Event October 30, 2017
Raqqa is a city in northeastern Syria. ISIS leaders made Raqqa its operations hub and training ground more than three years ago, claiming it as an Islamic caliphate. Recently, after four months of airstrikes, ISIS no longer controls Raqqa. Syrian Democratic Forces, the American-backed militia group made up of Syrian Kurds and Arabs, took control of the city. Many of the people who joined ISIS were attracted by the idea of a physical Islamic state, and without this territory, ISIS may go back to being an underground terrorist organization. Listen to hear more about what might be next for the Islamic State.
ELA Middle School
Author Marjane Satrapi created the graphic novel “Persepolis”—later adapted as a movie—about her experience growing up during the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran. Satrapi was a rebellious teenager, fighting to maintain her beliefs and individuality while living under a government that dictated how its people should live—for example, mandating that women must wear veils. Listen to hear about the Iranian government’s reaction to the movie and how others reacted to it.
Current Event April 11, 2017
In Jerusalem, a team has restored the shrine that is believed to hold the tomb of Jesus Christ. The team cleaned and reinforced the shrine, called the Edicule, located in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians believe that the Edicule houses the cave where Jesus was buried and then was resurrected. Listen to learn more about the Edicule and the effort to restore it.