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.
April 7, 2014 |
There is something very new and very old happening inside the Circle of Hope. Born of the mid-1990's Philadelphia Christian punk scene, the church with four locations in the area is rooted in one of the state's oldest denominations, the Colonial-era Brethren in Christ. Some observers glibly dismiss the current iteration as a "hipster church. " And, sure, there are plenty of beards and blue jeans and a certain laid-back stagecraft. But the theology here is meaty. There may be talk of using Google maps to view Biblical sites, but there are also citations of the Law of Moses to help contextualize the scripture.
March 16, 2014 |
FOR 75 YEARS, the Crescentville Baptist Church has overlooked Rising Sun Avenue, watching it change with the decades. The church changed, too, said Pastor Charles Dear: It's now a diverse congregation with a global outlook, lending its support to the faithful all over the world. Who we are: Dear describes the church as "an independent Baptist ministry serving the community and the world. " His congregation of about 100 members consists primarily of neighborhood residents, with some members who hail from Roslyn and other nearby suburbs.
March 4, 2014 |
Rabbi Richard A. Levine, 75, of Voorhees, the longtime leader of what is now Adath Emanu-El, the Mount Laurel congregation, died of complications from a blood disease on Friday, Feb. 28, at Virtua Voorhees medical center. He was "a rabbi's rabbi, a mensch, a friend and a truly precious soul," Rabbi Benjamin David, senior rabbi at Adath, said in biographical notes written by Rabbi Levine's son Ari. Born in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y., Rabbi Levine earned a bachelor's degree in 1959 at the Wharton School.