December 13, 2014 |
Jane Tausig and her partner were Conservative Jews who came out late in life. But back then, in 2000, the movement had not yet caught up with them. Conservative Judaism was still in the midst of a divisive debate over the ordination of openly gay clergy. Tausig, a psychotherapist, and her partner decided to search for a place where they felt at home. They landed at Congregation Kol Ami, becoming the first openly gay couple to join - and marry - at the Elkins Park synagogue. They felt welcome but believed that true inclusion takes more than the open hearts of fellow congregants.
November 23, 2014 |
PHILLY'S POPULATION of Korean Buddhists doesn't have to travel far for spiritual guidance. Tucked away on a quiet street in East Oak Lane is the Wongaksa Buddhist temple, an institution that rose from humble roots to become a major spiritual center for this tight-knit community. Abbot Monk Do-Myung leads the faithful at the temple, located inside an unassuming house on Chelten Avenue near 6th Street. WHO WE ARE: Wongaksa got its start in the early 1970s, when South Korean expats sought out ways to practice their faith in their new city, Do-Myung said.
November 11, 2014 |
Rabbi Steven Lindemann stepped into a tall shadow when he became senior rabbi at Cherry Hill's Temple Beth Sholom in 1992. "I was 44," he recalled last week, and his predecessor, Rabbi Albert Lewis, "had been here 44 years. He started this congregation the year I was born. And he had a very distinctive teaching style. " Leadership stays on at this giant Conservative synagogue. Yet now, after 22 years as Beth Sholom's senior rabbi, Lindemann finds himself in the role of the new tall shadow.
October 1, 2014 |
THERE IS no "typical" Shabbat service at Society Hill Synagogue. One week, Rabbi Avi Winokur might include the works of Sufi mystics and Muslim spiritual giants. The next might feature writings by Christian leaders, noted intellectuals or Jewish religious thinkers. One way the synagogue describes its open approach is by citing an old joke: "Two Jews, three opinions. " That is to say, different people celebrate their faith in different ways. "It's very eclectic," said Winokur, who has led the congregation for 13 years.
September 25, 2014 |
A SOUTH Philadelphia church and a Mount Airy Jewish community group will offer sanctuary to undocumented immigrants as part of a nationwide civil act of disobedience in response to President Obama's inaction on immigration reform. Each congregation will open its doors to house an undocumented immigrant - who will be defying a federal deportation order - and his or her family. This act of civil disobedience is part of a National Day of Action, said Peter Pedemonti, director of the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia, which will hold a news conference today at the Philadelphia Praise Center, on McKean Street near 17th.
August 26, 2014 |
Rob Chifokoyo didn't know what to say. The seconds dragged on for what felt like minutes. Sitting in his living room, the only sound was his wife, Lisa, weeping next to him. Eight months ago, Chifokoyo, 30, was facing almost certain death. His kidneys were failing, and treatment in his native Zimbabwe was prohibitively expensive. But he'd been flown to Bucks County at the expense of Doylestown's Covenant Church, then kept alive through dialysis at a local hospital. Eventually, he'd need a kidney transplant.
August 6, 2014 |
Three small white caskets stood open at the front of the church, covered in flowers. One man doubled over in grief at the sight. Another sagged into the arms of relatives, who struggled to hold him up as he choked out two words: "My boy. " Relatives and friends clung to each other as they made their way down the aisle at the North Philadelphia Seventh-day Adventist Church. One woman rushed down the aisle, crying, "It's not real. " As the bodies of three siblings lay in the white caskets on a bright Monday morning, hundreds filed past to pay their respects - politicians and pastors, teachers from Mary McLeod Bethune Elementary, and even a local motorcycle club, decked out in leather vests.
May 12, 2014 |
THE REV. Larry G. Patrick II of Redeem Baptist Church in Strawberry Mansion is equally at home at Wednesday night Bible class and at a protest by Philadelphia fast-food workers demanding a $15-an-hour livable wage. Indeed, Patrick feels his calling as a minister also compels him to fight poverty and gun violence in one of the city's roughest neighborhoods. "There's no way, as a minister, that I cannot stand up and say anything about that," said Patrick, referring to low-wage workers who need food stamps just to put food on their own table.
May 5, 2014 |
YAEL LEVY keeps herself busy. In addition to serving as a supporting rabbi for Roxborough's Mishkan Shalom synagogue, she works as a spiritual director at Wyncote's Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Hebrew Union College's New York City branch, helping steer future rabbis. Earlier this year, Levy got some much-deserved recognition: She was named one of "America's Most Inspiring Rabbis" by the Jewish Daily Forward , a national publication. "It's a lovely surprise, and it feels very honoring," said Levy, the only rabbi from Pennsylvania among the 28 selected.
April 21, 2014 |
BUX-MONT'S landmark Bryn Athyn Cathedral looms large in its community - 180 feet large, measuring to the top of its tallest tower. Inside, the view from the pews is awe-inspiring. Artisans built the place just after the turn of the 20th century to resemble Europe's great medieval churches, down to blowing their own stained glass on site. Outside, the view overlooking the Pennypack Creek Valley from the vast, terraced grounds is breathtaking. But the church's congregation is as ordinary as they come: a button-downed collection of women in sensible, pretty dresses, men in jackets and slacks, and very well-scrubbed college students from Bryn Athyn College across the street.