In the News: Candles, Kombucha, Crocodiles, and more!

A round-up of the week’s religion news. Continue Reading →

I Love You, I Do.

We asked our Near and Dear to tell us something about today, the day when we celebrate love–or loss or absence or grief or joy or chocolate or the color red.  Valentine’s Day is one of those not-so-holy (or so-holiday) holidays we bump into on the annual calendar, on our way to spring, rebirth and Easter rising.  We didn’t really know what we’d get for our asking.

It’s an odd and fascinating assortment of reflections and observations from some of our favorite loves–our regular contributors, family and friends.  Happy Valentine’s Day!  We love you, we do!


“Month of Valentines” by Stacy Doris

“#MyGrownUpValentine” by Ashley Baxstrom with image by Angela Zito

“A Buddhist Valentine” by S. Brent Plate

“My Friend” by Jacob Glatstein, translated from the Yiddish by Peter Manseau

“A Valentine Offering” by Genevieve Yue

“My Wish this Valentine’s Day” by George González

“A Simple Dinner” by Anthea Butler

“St. Valentine’s Fallen Face” by David Metcalfe

“Heart in the Snow” by Mary Valle

“A Red Bagel” by Adam Becker

“The Gospel of Sacred Candy Hearts” by Amy Levin

“Be Mine” by Jeremy Walton


image: “Heart to Heart” by Angela Zito Continue Reading →

Flaunting Malignant Brilliance

by Adam H. Becker

A Film Unfinished (2010, 90 min), directed by Yael Hersonski, is about footage shot in the Warsaw Ghetto in May of 1942. The original film, labeled on its canisters simply as “Das Ghetto,” presents itself as an ethnographic examination of Jewish life in the dire day-to-day existence of several hundred thousand Jews, forced to live within a walled-in space of three square miles with little to eat. It depicts, among other scenes, life in the market place, Jewish rituals — from a bris (circumcision) to bathing in a miqveh (ritual bath) — and the enforcement of order by Jewish security personnel. If not for one hitch, it would be a relatively straightforward depiction of the horrors of the Warsaw Ghetto, a place in which conditions anticipated the unforeseen eradication of much of the Ghetto’s population suffered not long after at Treblinka.

The hitch is this: the original footage was shot by the Nazis for propaganda purposes. Although the footage was never used, it seems that the Nazis planned to make a film about the disparity between the rich and poor in the Ghetto. Opulent dinner scenes are interposed with shots of the emaciated bodies of starving Jews in the street. The meaning is clear: the Jews, a parasitic population who needed to be rounded up and put into the Ghetto for the safety of others, are so vile that when corralled together they turn upon their own.
 Yet again the Nazis point us to the extreme of their malignant brilliance. Whereas we expect those who commit great crimes to hide their deeds, to cover them up, and to lie about them, for “Das Ghetto” the camera was brought by the perpetrators to the scene of their own crime. Continue Reading →