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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 8, 2004 / 19 Tamuz, 5764

Can a parliament of leaders from traditional religions and those with a more New Age flavor save the world from itself?

By Geneive Abdo

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A dispatch from the religious globalization spiritual summit. Yes, that's a mouthful!


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | (KRT) BARCELONA, Spain — Learned Muslim clerics, Buddhist monks and Roman Catholic cardinals rarely find themselves in the same place at the same time with gurus, cult followers and mystics. But the Parliament of World's Religions, now convening a weeklong conference here, is out to change all that.


Call it religious globalization or spiritual summitry. The Chicago-based organization expects to draw about 6,500 religious leaders, activists and followers of Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism and Islam to the assembly. Billed as part of a "cultural Olympics," the conference is being held on the grounds of the 100-acre site of the "Universal Forum of Cultures," a more secular, 5-month-long humanities festival that began in May along Barcelona's sea front.


The world's great faiths have certainly interacted in the past. But in gathering traditional religions with those of a more New Age flavor, the parliament is seeking written commitments from the faithful to help tackle four worldwide problems: refugees, water shortages, religious violence and increasing debt.


"The hallmark of the conference is to help put a human face on these four issues," said the Rev. Dirk Ficca, executive director of the parliament. "I will tell you candidly there are these big gatherings all over the world where people tend to go and talk. But we hope for a litany of commitments. A church or synagogue, for example, can go home and host a refugee family."


At the opening assembly Wednesday evening, thousands gathered to listen to chanting Buddhist monks, dressed in orange and red tunics. Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian lawyer and human-rights activist who won this year's Nobel Peace prize, gave the keynote address.


"Human rights can be achieved only through democracy," said Ebadi, a longstanding critic of the authoritarian rule of Iran's hard-line clerics. "But democracy also requires a framework. A majority has no right to govern as they please."


Skeptics have criticized previous parliaments for engaging in too much talk and ritual, producing few remedies for the world's problems. But the parliament leaders note that the organization has no legislative authority; the group has sought instead to set a worldwide moral and religious agenda.

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The first parliament session was held in Chicago in 1893, thought to be the first time Jews, Catholics, Bahais and Hindus engaged in official dialogue. A century later, the second parliament was held, again in Chicago, and a third in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1999.


At a time of rising Islamic extremism around the world and the war in Iraq, the parliament's organizers are under more pressure to produce action. Discussions will include seminars on Islam's relationship with the West and how a Muslim can practice the faith while living in a Western country. Renowned speakers, including best-selling author Karen Armstrong and Islamic intellectual Tareq Ramadan, who will begin a tenured post at the University of Notre Dame this fall, will lead these seminars.


"As we know, Islam is the target of criticism, and Muslims should explain what they stand for and reach out to the average people. This is my aim," said Ramadan, a Muslim cleric who is the grandson of Hasan al-Banna, the Egyptian thinker who founded the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928.


[Today the Muslim Brotherhood is regarded by many as terrorist friendly]


Spain was chosen in 2002 as the venue for the parliament, long before the March 11 attacks in Madrid, when Islamic terrorists blew up four packed commuter trains, killing 190 people. The explosions, the worst in Europe in 15 years, make Barcelona an appropriate place for discussing Islam and violence in religion, said parliament organizers, though some would-be participants canceled plans to attend out of fear of further attacks.


"It is interesting how Spain has reacted differently than the United States did to September 11," said Ficca. "I find great sophistication here, even among people on the street, about the difference between Muslims and terrorists. There is greater recognition that there are complex reasons driving terrorism that cannot be solved by waging war."


Leaders of the parliament were asked at a news conference Wednesday how their interfaith dialogue in Barcelona could promote world peace.


"The parliament will not dictate to the world what to do," said Lally Lucretia Warren, a parliament leader from Botswana. "But religion is the chief instrument through which order is established in the world."


Despite an emphasis on working to promote peace, much of Wednesday was devoted to symbolism. Activists lit the World Peace Flame, created in 1999 when seven peacemakers on five continents lit seven peace flames that were flown across the world and later united into one.


They also planted a peace tree on the grounds of the Forum.


Some activists wondered whether the pomp and symbolism would turn to substance over the coming week. The week's schedule is packed with sessions on everything from the value of meditation to Sufi psychology. The seminars include titles such as, "Transforming Inter-Faith Dialogue: A Pathway to Peace," and "The way of the Saints: The Path of Personal Transformation through Meditation."


David Johnston, a Chicago native who now lives in Colorado, helped run the last parliament in South Africa. He said he thinks previous gatherings were dedicated to taking practical action to solve the problems facing the world, rather than engaging in interfaith dialogue.


"Preaching to the choir and chanting in a circle won't change the planet," he said, pointing to the hill in the distance, where about 400 people gathered to plant the peace tree.


"Only when religious groups involve governments and business can they hope to take practical steps to change things," he said.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Geneive Abdo is a reporter for the Chicago Tribune. To comment, please click here.

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