Daily Archives: March 12, 2010

Benjamin Balint: In the Holy Land, a Rebuilding for the Generations

In this city so crowded with religious symbols, where houses of worship vie with one another to render the religious past visible, no synagogue bears more symbolic weight than the one called the Hurva, in the heart of the Jewish Quarter.

Just days ahead of its March 15 rededication ceremony, finishing touches still were being applied to the synagogue, once Jerusalem’s grandest, which had remained in ruins for six decades. The rebuilt Hurva, made of the white stone that is Jerusalem’s vernacular material, had already assumed its former prominence in the city’s crowded skyline. Only interior details remained to be done.

Early this month, as the Israeli architect Nahum Meltzer looked on, a whorled woodwork crown covered in gold leaf was hoisted to its perch atop a two-story holy ark. The ark, which stands beneath the building’s gleaming 82-feet-high dome, is a nearly exact replica of the original that stood on the spot more than 150 years earlier, encapsulating the basic principle that guided Mr. Meltzer’s reconstruction: not innovation, but historical accuracy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Israel, Judaism, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

Benjamin Balint: In the Holy Land, a Rebuilding for the Generations

In this city so crowded with religious symbols, where houses of worship vie with one another to render the religious past visible, no synagogue bears more symbolic weight than the one called the Hurva, in the heart of the Jewish Quarter.

Just days ahead of its March 15 rededication ceremony, finishing touches still were being applied to the synagogue, once Jerusalem’s grandest, which had remained in ruins for six decades. The rebuilt Hurva, made of the white stone that is Jerusalem’s vernacular material, had already assumed its former prominence in the city’s crowded skyline. Only interior details remained to be done.

Early this month, as the Israeli architect Nahum Meltzer looked on, a whorled woodwork crown covered in gold leaf was hoisted to its perch atop a two-story holy ark. The ark, which stands beneath the building’s gleaming 82-feet-high dome, is a nearly exact replica of the original that stood on the spot more than 150 years earlier, encapsulating the basic principle that guided Mr. Meltzer’s reconstruction: not innovation, but historical accuracy.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Israel, Judaism, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Middle East, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

California Children's Letters To Haitian Children Provide A Different Kind Of Help

When they heard I was going to report in Haiti after the massive earthquake, fifth-graders from Amylynn Robinson’s class asked if I could deliver some messages to any children I’d meet. Their letters included drawings of flowers, hearts and rainbows. And they began simply:

“Hello Haiti, nice to meet you.”

“Dear Buddy … ”

“Hi there, I’m a child as well.”

“Dear friend, I am your friend. I wrote this letter to tell you I care about you.”

The children wrote about their school, Balboa Magnet Elementary, a public school in Northridge, Calif., in Northern Los Angeles County, which was the epicenter of a magnitude 6.7 earthquake in 1994. Although these 10-year-olds were not alive then, many say they’ve heard stories about the damage in California. So they were sympathetic to kids coping with the magnitude 7.0 earthquake in Haiti…..

This is just a fantastic piece that I caught on the morning run. You really need to do the audio as it is far superior when you hear the children’s voices (about 7 1/3 minutes). And check out which song one of the Haitian children chose to send back to the children in California! Listen to it all–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Caribbean, Children, Education, Haiti

California Children's Letters To Haitian Children Provide A Different Kind Of Help

When they heard I was going to report in Haiti after the massive earthquake, fifth-graders from Amylynn Robinson’s class asked if I could deliver some messages to any children I’d meet. Their letters included drawings of flowers, hearts and rainbows. And they began simply:

“Hello Haiti, nice to meet you.”

“Dear Buddy … ”

“Hi there, I’m a child as well.”

“Dear friend, I am your friend. I wrote this letter to tell you I care about you.”

The children wrote about their school, Balboa Magnet Elementary, a public school in Northridge, Calif., in Northern Los Angeles County, which was the epicenter of a magnitude 6.7 earthquake in 1994. Although these 10-year-olds were not alive then, many say they’ve heard stories about the damage in California. So they were sympathetic to kids coping with the magnitude 7.0 earthquake in Haiti…..

This is just a fantastic piece that I caught on the morning run. You really need to do the audio as it is far superior when you hear the children’s voices (about 7 1/3 minutes). And check out which song one of the Haitian children chose to send back to the children in California! Listen to it all–KSH.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Caribbean, Children, Education, Haiti

A Gregory the Great Quote for his Feast Day

…often the wicked so devote themselves to the practice of sin that they succeed in doing more wickedness than they would have been able to learn from the bad example of reprobate sinners. For this reason the torment of greater punishment is inflicted on them, in that they, by their own initiative, sought out greater ways of sinning, for which they are to be punished. Consequently it is well said: “According to the multitude of his devices, so shall he suffer [a citation from Job 20:18]. For he would not find out new ways of sinning unless he sought them out, and he would not seek out such things unless he were anxious to do them deliberately. Therefore, in his punishment, this excess in devising wickedness is taken into account, and he receives proportionate punishment and retribution. And even though the suffering of the damned is infinite, nevertheless they receive greater punishments who, by their own desires, sought out many new ways of sinning.

–Gregory the Great (540-604), Book of Morals 15.18.22

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Eschatology, Theology

A Gregory the Great Quote for his Feast Day

…often the wicked so devote themselves to the practice of sin that they succeed in doing more wickedness than they would have been able to learn from the bad example of reprobate sinners. For this reason the torment of greater punishment is inflicted on them, in that they, by their own initiative, sought out greater ways of sinning, for which they are to be punished. Consequently it is well said: “According to the multitude of his devices, so shall he suffer [a citation from Job 20:18]. For he would not find out new ways of sinning unless he sought them out, and he would not seek out such things unless he were anxious to do them deliberately. Therefore, in his punishment, this excess in devising wickedness is taken into account, and he receives proportionate punishment and retribution. And even though the suffering of the damned is infinite, nevertheless they receive greater punishments who, by their own desires, sought out many new ways of sinning.

–Gregory the Great (540-604), Book of Morals 15.18.22

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Eschatology, Theology

Diocesan Statistics for the Episcopal Diocese of Montana

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s figures, Montana has grown in population from 902,195 in 2000 to 974,989 in 2009. This represents a population growth of approximately 8.07%.

According to Episcopal Church statistics, the Diocese of Montana went from Average Sunday Attendance (or ASA) of 2,273 in 1998 to 1,827 in 2008. This represents an ASA decline of about 20% over this ten year period.

In order to generate a pictorial chart of some Montana diocesan statistics, please go [url=http://www.episcopalchurch.org/growth_60791_ENG_HTM.htm?menupage=50929]here[/url] and enter “Montana” in the second line down under “Diocese” and then click on “View Diocese Chart” under the third line to the left.

The Diocese of Montana’s website may be found here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Data

Diocesan Statistics for the Episcopal Diocese of Montana

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s figures, Montana has grown in population from 902,195 in 2000 to 974,989 in 2009. This represents a population growth of approximately 8.07%.

According to Episcopal Church statistics, the Diocese of Montana went from Average Sunday Attendance (or ASA) of 2,273 in 1998 to 1,827 in 2008. This represents an ASA decline of about 20% over this ten year period.

In order to generate a pictorial chart of some Montana diocesan statistics, please go [url=http://www.episcopalchurch.org/growth_60791_ENG_HTM.htm?menupage=50929]here[/url] and enter “Montana” in the second line down under “Diocese” and then click on “View Diocese Chart” under the third line to the left.

The Diocese of Montana’s website may be found here.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Bishops, TEC Data

Panel Proposes Single Standard for All American Schools

A panel of educators convened by the nation’s governors and state school superintendents proposed a uniform set of academic standards on Wednesday, laying out their vision for what all the nation’s public school children should learn in math and English, year by year, from kindergarten to high school graduation.

The new proposals could transform American education, replacing the patchwork of standards ranging from mediocre to world-class that have been written by local educators in every state.

Under the proposed standards for English, for example, fifth graders would be expected to explain the differences between drama and prose, and to identify elements of drama like characters, dialogue and stage directions. Seventh graders would study, among other math concepts, proportional relationships, operations with rational numbers and solutions for linear equations.

The new standards are likely to touch off a vast effort to rewrite textbooks, train teachers and produce appropriate tests, if a critical mass of states adopts them in coming months, as seems likely. But there could be opposition in some states, like Massachusetts, which already has high standards that advocates may want to keep.

“I’d say this is one of the most important events of the last several years in American education,” said Chester E. Finn Jr., a former assistant secretary of education who has been an advocate for national standards for nearly two decades. “Now we have the possibility that for the first time, states could come together around new standards and high school graduation requirements that are ambitious and coherent. This is a big deal.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Education

Panel Proposes Single Standard for All American Schools

A panel of educators convened by the nation’s governors and state school superintendents proposed a uniform set of academic standards on Wednesday, laying out their vision for what all the nation’s public school children should learn in math and English, year by year, from kindergarten to high school graduation.

The new proposals could transform American education, replacing the patchwork of standards ranging from mediocre to world-class that have been written by local educators in every state.

Under the proposed standards for English, for example, fifth graders would be expected to explain the differences between drama and prose, and to identify elements of drama like characters, dialogue and stage directions. Seventh graders would study, among other math concepts, proportional relationships, operations with rational numbers and solutions for linear equations.

The new standards are likely to touch off a vast effort to rewrite textbooks, train teachers and produce appropriate tests, if a critical mass of states adopts them in coming months, as seems likely. But there could be opposition in some states, like Massachusetts, which already has high standards that advocates may want to keep.

“I’d say this is one of the most important events of the last several years in American education,” said Chester E. Finn Jr., a former assistant secretary of education who has been an advocate for national standards for nearly two decades. “Now we have the possibility that for the first time, states could come together around new standards and high school graduation requirements that are ambitious and coherent. This is a big deal.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Education

Hoping to Build Ranks, Navy Seals Branch out for Possible Recruits

Watch it all. Caught this one yesterday on the morning run. That Alaskan water looks really cold–KSH!.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Military / Armed Forces

Hoping to Build Ranks, Navy Seals Branch out for Possible Recruits

Watch it all. Caught this one yesterday on the morning run. That Alaskan water looks really cold–KSH!.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Military / Armed Forces

RNS–Partnered Lesbian Episcopal Bishop-elect Clears Crucial Hurdle

A majority of dioceses in the Episcopal Church have confirmed the election of an open lesbian as a bishop in Los Angeles, bringing Bishop-elect Mary Glasspool one step closer to consecration.

The Diocese of Los Angeles, where Glasspool was elected as an assistant bishop last December, announced confirmations from 61 of the denomination’s 110 dioceses on Wednesday (March 10).

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Episcopal Church (TEC), Same-sex blessings, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles

Church Times–Chilean situation is ”˜critical’, Bishop warns after quake

Anglican parish communities in Chile, hit by a serious earthquake ”” the fifth-largest on record ”” that devastated the city of Concepción last Saturday, are sheltering together in tents for safety and to share food and water, says their Bishop, the Rt Revd Héctor Zavala.

Bishop Zavala was expected to arrive in Concepción on Wednesday after travelling for at least ten hours across broken roads. On Tuesday, he asked his colleague Ricardo Tucas to send the following report:

“[The Bishop] is now travelling to the devastated region of Con­cepción, which holds three of his urban churches, and was near three other rural congregations in the High Mountains of Bio-Bio. Four days following the massive earth­quake in Chile, many towns are still completely isolated . . .

“Andy Bowman, until recently a USPG Mission Companion in Concepción, said: ”˜From the com­munications we have had with people in Santiago in the north, the situation in Concepción seems desperate. Half a million people in Concepción are isolated, without water, electricity, shelter, and food. Shops have been looted and civil unrest appears to be widespread. Seven thousand Chilean troops have been sent to the area to maintain order.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Provinces, Chile, Cono Sur [formerly Southern Cone], South America

South Carolina sets yet another unemployment record

South Carolina’s unemployment rate hit another record high in January as the level of jobless residents rose in all 46 counties.

Employers cut 27,700 positions throughout the month, including seasonal jobs in tourism and retail, as the jobless rate reached 12.6 percent, the state Employment Security Commission said Wednesday.

South Carolina’s unemployed population — a total of 273,455 residents — is the biggest on record.

Compare that number with the data recorded several years ago and a grim picture emerges. That figure, for example, never topped 100,000 people in 2000. Throughout 2005, the number averaged 140,000.

“It gives us a sense of how many jobs the economy needs to create in order

to put a majority of people back to work,” said economist Don Schunk of Coastal Carolina University. “More so than the unemployment rate, (that number) tells us how far we have to go before we return to some sense of normalcy.”

Read it all from the front page of yesterday’s local paper.

Posted in * Economics, Politics, * South Carolina, Economy, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market