Peacemaker news: Comic Zargana Zarganar is freed

ReadTheSpirit cheers with millions in Burma/Myanmar—and countless advocates of free speech around the world—that Burma’s most famous comic was released from prison! Zargana (or Zarganar, spellings vary) is profiled in our new book by Daniel Buttry: Blessed Are the Peacemakers. The author is an international peace negotiator for American Baptist Churches, who has worked in Burma and other hot spots around the world. The new book contains more than 80 profiles of peacemakers. Already, the book is being distributed in countries around the world and, over time, will help equip peace movements with inspiring profiles—and summaries of practical strategy for nonviolent peacemaking campaigns.

How newsworthy is the material in this new book? We just celebrated the Nobel Peace Prize given to another person in the new book: Leymah Gbowee, who is well known in countless U.S. congregations for her courageous work in Liberia.

Zarganar release!


In a widely distributed video clip, Zargana tells this politically pointed joke: “One day, an American, an Englishman and a Burmese get together to see who can brag the most. The American goes first. He says, “An American with one leg (and Zargana chops his hand across one knee) has climbed Mt. Everest—twice!” That’s the American. Then, the Englishman says, “That’s nothing. An Englishman with no arms (Zargana chops at his biceps) has just swum the Atlantic—twice! Beat that!” Finally, the Burmese man smiles. He says, “I feel sorry for you English and Americans. That’s nothing compared to what we’ve got. Our leader has ruled the country for 18 years—without a head!” (And, as Zargana grins, his hand swipes across his neck.)


The Free Zarganar Campaign is sponsored by Equity in the UK, the organization for professional performers. The campaign has been waging a postcard campaign to Burma’s leaders, urging them to free the comic. The website has been reporting the situation this way:
Burma’s most famous comedian, Zarganar, is currently serving a 35-year prison sentence, after criticising the Burmese government’s handling of Cyclone Nargis in 2008. The cyclone devastated the country—more than 140,000 people died and millions were made homeless. Zarganar organised relief for many villages which had received no official help. He was convicted of “public order offences.” You can help Zarganar by letting the Burmese ruling Generals know people are concerned about him.


Index on Censorship now reports in part:
Index on Censorship welcomes the release of Burmese comic Zarganar along with thousands of other prisoners. Htein Lin, close friend of Zarganar and member of the Free Zarganar Campaign along with Index on Censorship and other supporters, said he was delighted at the news of the popular comedian’s release. “It’s great news, we really appreciate it and it is a very positive sign. Hopefully the new government will release more political prisoners very soon. Zarganar came out with jokes making everybody laugh and very happy.”


Straits Times, a well-respected newspaper covering southeast Asia, reports in part:
Myanmar’s most famous comedian made a career out of poking fun at the country’s military junta and his decades-long prison sentence was a testament to their lack of a sense of humour. Mr Zarganar, a poet, filmmaker and performer, has been a prominent voice of dissent in military-dominated Myanmar and his latest prison sentence, from which he was released on Wednesday, was by no means his first.
According to his supporters, the 50-year-old did not let jail dull his wit—deprived of pens and paper, he memorized jokes and regaled the wardens.


Time reports, in part:
(Rangoon, Burma)—Burma freed comedian and government critic Zarganar as it began releasing 6,300 convicts in a liberalizing move Wednesday, but kept several key political detainees behind bars, dampening hopes for a broader amnesty. … “The freedom of each individual is invaluable, but I wish that all political prisoners would be released,” said Burma’s most prominent pro-democracy campaigner and Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. A major release of political detainees has been eagerly awaited by Burma’s opposition, as well as foreign governments and the UN, as a gesture toward liberalization by the elected government after decades of harsh military rule. A failure to release a significant portion of Burma’s estimated 2,000 political prisoners could hamper the country’s efforts to burnish its human rights record and win a lifting of Western economic and political sanctions.

Mizzima News
(Burmese journalists in exile)

Mizzima correspondent Kyaw Kha talked by telephone with Burmese comedian Zarganar and reported, in part, on the Mizzima website this Q and A:
Q: What do you think about the new government?
A: Earlier, it satisfied me a little. But according to today’s conditions regarding the amnesty, I am not satisfied. As you see, they are releasing political prisoners little by little; so we are like the victims in the hands of Somali pirates. What is their ransom demands? The situation is like that.
Q: What other political prisoners were in Myitkyina Prison?
A: With me were Myo Aung Thant, who was also released. He was imprisoned 14 years ago. Zin Min Tun was also released. He was arrested in the “Saffron Revolution” and imprisoned four years ago. And many political prisoners are still in [Myitkyina] prison. There are four monks: Thiha Thet Zin from Bogale; Zayyar Aung from Pegu; Myo Min Than from Bagan; and Kyi Soe from Taungtha.
Q: What would you like to say about the political prisoners still in the prison?
A: If all [political prisoners] are released that will be the best moment. Then it will be an opportunity to do activities and express our feelings. I’ll wait for that that time. We will work in order that all are released.

Remember: Read more about Blessed Are the Peacemakers—and order a copy today!

Originally published at, an online journal covering religion and cultural diversity.

Why are these college kids laughing? A rabbi???

CAUGHT ON VIDEO! College kids laughing at Rabbi Bob Alper. (Photo courtesy of Bob Alper.)ReadTheSpirit is nationally known as an advocate of peace and Peacemakers.
So, we had to respond when we heard the news: “Bob’s on college campuses—and he’s killing!”
Translation: This is comedian-speak for “He’s going over big! They’re laughing like crazy!”
This bizarre chemistry is true: White-haired, bespectacled rabbi—plus—college kids—equals laughs.
There’s nothing more helpful in peacemaking than laughter.

As Editor of ReadTheSpirit, I spoke at various 9/11-related events in recent weeks. During one Question-and-Answer session with a college audience, a man asked, “I’m concerned about all the jokes I’m hearing about religion. I think some of the Christian-targeted humor is offensive. And there really aren’t any Muslim comedians are there? What do you think about the state of humor when it comes to religion?”

My answer: Book Bob Alper and his friends in the Laugh in Peace comedy tour!
Bob Alper, whose appeal among the young is obvious in this video (which you can watch below), works with comedian (and New York City Baptist pastor) Susan Sparks and Muslim comedians as well.
Want more? Here’s Bob Alper’s Schedule page, where you track his tours nationwide.
Here’s Susan Sparks’ Laugh in Peace page, where you can learn more about her part in these joint shows.

CLICK on the video screen below to watch Alper in action with college kids.
No video screen in your version of this story? Click the headline to reload the story and the video should appear. Or, visit Bob Alper’s website where you can watch this video and others.

Originally published at, an online journal covering religion and cultural diversity.

Celebrate spiritual heroes in X-men & Green Lantern

Anyone who loves American comic books knows this story: A couple of talented Jewish teenagers (Joe Schuster and Jerry Siegel) created the world-famous Superman in 1933 and, after a major overhaul to their character’s personality, they debuted their hero in a comic book format in 1938.

Then, in 2000, countless men and women who’d never cracked open a comic learned the basic storyline from the best-selling The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. Once Chabon’s novel won a Pulitzer and carried the basic storyline to the heights of literary attention, “it’s been a source of pride that Jews created the culture of comic book superheroes,” Lisa Keys wrote in The Forward. Of course, Keys pointed out, “Jewish superheroes themselves have been few and far between. Sure, the Fantastic Four’s The Thing has been known to daven on occasion; the X-Men’s archenemy, Magneto, is a survivor of Auschwitz, and the Golem had a brief promotion from Jewish oral tradition to the funny pages.”

Summer Movie Season 2011:
Enjoy a Pair of Links with Jewish Comic Pioneers

Now, in the summer-movie season of 2011, we’ve got a pair of these pioneering Jewish connections at neighborhood movie theaters nationwide. Whether there’s an enduring spiritual message that still makes sense—well, that’s for moviegoers to determine.

But, are you looking for some family adventure with Dad for Father’s Day 2011? You could take the whole family to “X-Men: First Class,” which features an entire subplot about the “birth” of Magneto and his subsequent life of vengeance against perpetrators of the Holocaust. In “X-Men: First Class,” the Jewish comic connections are explicit. We meet the future Magneto as a little boy when his family is torn apart in the unfolding Holocaust. He is singled out by a Nazi scientist as a powerful mutant and forced to undergo medical experiments. In his post-war life, he commits himself to hunting down war criminals—and to fighting other forms of fascism. Of course, in this Hollywood movie version, the plot is driven by a slam-bang festival of special effects and the moral and political issues get muddled along the way.

Or, the whole family also might enjoy the brand new “Green Lantern”—and, yes, “Green Lantern” also has a connection with Jewish comic pioneers. In “Green Lantern,” no moral muddling is possible. This is a crystal-clear DC comics tale of a sort of emerald-hued, cosmic titan—somewhere between a hero of Greek mythology and a Jedi knight from the Star Wars saga.

Comics Expert Kurt Kolka on “Green Lantern”

For the opening of “Green Lantern” this weekend, Kurt Kolka wrote:

Those attending the Green Lantern movie may not realize it, but Jewish writers and artists played a huge role in the creation of comic books and superheroes, including the Green Lantern. Among the most noted Jewish comic creators are Stan Lee (Spiderman, Thor, X-men, Ironman, Hulk, Fantastic Four); Joe Schuster and Jerome Siegel (Superman); Bob Kane and Bill Finger (Batman); Martin Nodell (Green Lantern); Joe Simon and Jack Kirby (Captain America); and Julius Schwartz (editor/writer who revived Green Lantern, the Flash, Batman and other characters in the ‘50s and ‘60s).

While the first costumed hero in comics was The Phantom by Lee Falk, it was Schuster and Siegel’s Superman who changed the direction of comic books two years later in 1938. The mystery men, or superheroes as they are called today, became a staple best-seller with the first appearance of the Man of Steel in Action Comics.

MARTIN NODELL, 1915-2006, was still attending comic conventions and signing memorabilia in his 80s.Martin Nodell’s original Green Lantern first appeared in All-American Comics #16 (July 1940) published by National Periodical Publication (later called DC Comics). The story was written by Bill Finger and drawn by Nodell. Nodell’s original concept for the character was a railroad engineer Alan Scott who discovers a meteorite with mystical powers which has been fashioned into a ring and lantern. He battled railroad saboteurs in the first story.

Green Lantern could use his ring to fly, to walk through solid objects, to temporarily paralyze or blind people, hypnotize them, to create rays of energy, to create solid objects and force fields. The ring’s only weakness was against wood.

In the ‘50s, Julius Schwartz revised Green Lantern, making him test pilot Hal Jordan who finds an injured, alien Green Lantern who passes the ring on to him. The new movie follows this version of Green Lantern’s origin. Jewish artist Eli Katz, aka Gill Kane, worked with Schwartz to co-create the modern Green Lantern and develop the black and green costume we recognize today.

A regular guest artist at comic conventions during the ‘90s and into the new millennium, Martin Nodell passed away at a nursing home in Muskego, Wisconsin, in 2006, at the age of 91. Fortunately, for the American public, he passed on his own “ring” to a new generation of comic creators who keep Green Lantern in the public eye through DC Comics.

Kurt J. Kolka is a religion writer for the Gaylord Herald Times in Gaylord, Mich., comic fan and creator of the comic strip, “The Cardinal,” found online at

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Holy Superheroes! Greg Garrett tackles ‘Thor’

Summer is here! It may not feel like that in the Northern Hemisphere right now, but this week marks the opening of the official season of Summer Movies. Each year, readers enjoy telling us what sparks their interest at theaters—and what spiritual connections they make. We once had a Buddhist priest write an extended commentary on “Iron Man”! This week, we’ve already published veteran film critic Edward McNulty’s coverage of the new “Jumping the Broom.”

TODAY, author and film critic Greg Garrett writes about Kenneth Branagh’s “Thor.”

Year of the Superhero

By Greg Garrett

It’s another year of the superhero.

For ten years now, certainly since Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man in 2002, comics adaptations have led the charge at the summertime box office. The Dark Knight Returns (2007) earned over a billion dollars world-wide; other top-grossing films include installments from the X-Men series, the Iron Man films, and The Incredibles, Pixar’s brilliant take on a superhero family like Marvel’s Fantastic Four.

This summer the films include the newly released Thor, the Shakespearean saga of Thor, the God of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth), exiled to Earth by his even-godlier father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), directed by the great Kenneth Branagh. There’s the X-Men prequel helmed by Matthew Vaughn, X-Men: First Class, out in June. New superstar Ryan Reynolds plays Hal Jordan, a cosmic cop who is the Green Lantern in the film of the same title out in June. And the one I’m most excited about—the World War II-era Captain America:The First Avenger, which comes out in July and leads us into next year’s Avenger film with Iron Man, the Hulk, and other familiar characters joining to fight menaces no single hero can withstand.

I get that my geek is showing. But these films keep getting made, and keep appealing to audiences for a number of reasons. As CGI technology advances, of course, it becomes more and more possible to depict the impossible (although I fear Green Lantern may be little more than this). The stories feature clear-cut heroes against real evil. And the themes—besides good versus evil, we have heroism, courage, self-sacrifice, and lots of other spiritual qualities represented in superhero films. As I argued in my book Holy Superheroes!, we keep consuming these stories because they are filling a vital spiritual need in our lives.

As I also suggested in Holy Superheroes!, they also often retell our sacred stories in ways that are more dramatic—and more dramatically cohesive—than even our sacred texts. As in the life of Jesus, Captain America, the Green Lantern, and the various members of the X-Men willingly take on a heroic quest to serve others, to risk—and maybe even give—their lives to save others, to push back the cosmic darkness and to stand for something good and true and noble.

As in the life of Jesus, Thor must learn what it means to walk in both the world of gods and the world of men. While Jesus most certainly did not solve problems with his fists—or a big honking hammer—Christian belief in the Incarnation suggests we have to pay attention to the ways in which Jesus was fully God—and fully human. It’s a paradox that a fictional character like Thor can help us investigate, and that might prompt further insight for us.

The long-running X-Men comic and the more recent films, also force us to grapple with one of the biggest spiritual questions: How do we relate to those who are different? How do we tame our own impulses toward prejudice and hatred toward those we don’t understand?

Superhero comics have always explored real questions in the guise of brightly-costumed characters, and once again we have the chance to be entertained—and maybe enlightened—by another year of the superhero.

Care to read more from Greg Garrett on comics?

You can order Holy Superheroes! Revised and Expanded Edition: Exploring the Sacred in Comics, Graphic Novels, and Filmby Greg Garrrett from Amazon now. It’s a great discussion-starter with small groups!

Greg has appeared in the pages of ReadTheSpirit a number of times over the past four years. Here is a link to the original 2007 interview with Greg in wihch he talks about his conversion to Christianity—after watching “Pulp Fiction”! That may sound like a strange conversion story, but C.S. Lewis’ own conversion story, which you’ll find in this 2007 story, was similar. This story also contains an in-depth Q and A with Greg about the spiritual wisdom in comic books.

Please connect with us and help us to reach a wider audience

Conversation is far better than the dangerous shouting matches we’ve been witnessing in our global culture. So, please, email us at [email protected] and tell us what you think of our stories—and, please tell a friend to start reading along with you!

We welcome your Emails! . We’re also reachable on Twitter, Facebook, AmazonHuffington PostYouTube and other social-networking sites. You also can Subscribe to our articles via Email or RSS feed. Plus, there’s a free Monday morning Planner newsletter you may enjoy.

Originally published at, an online journal covering religion and cultural diversity.

Holy farewell, Brenda! Peanuts & a new comics cosmos

Millions today are saying bye bye to Brenda Starr and recalling the 10-year anniversary of Charles Schulz’s last new daily strip. It might seem that comics themselves are dying. But, the truth is that comics are alive and well—in fact, they are conquering global culture. What’s more: comics increasingly are the home of our spiritual imagination.

If you doubt that last claim, consider that the hottest news story out of New York’s creative community at the dawn of 2011 revolves around Spiderman. Headlines speculate on whether the spiritual superstar Bono will ever manage to launch “Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark,” with its record-setting budget and risky special effects. Not only is Bono a multi-media preacher of moral and religious truths from his rock music to his Sunday columns in the New York Times, but Spiderman also is a world-class symbol of our spiritual angst. Bono and Spiderman together form a perfect pair of titans to face this new millennium.

Look anywhere in popular culture and you’ll find animated toon eyes blinking back at you. Half of the top 20 all-time highest grossing movies are either animated features or are live-action dramas like Batman and Spiderman that have crossed over from comics. Others in the top 20 are special-effects fantasies just a step away from animation. Toons rule!

Newspapers, the homeland that nurtured comics, continue to crumble. That decline contributed to this week’s passing of Brenda Starr—the gutsy “girl reporter” who debuted in 1940 and survived newsroom changes right up into the era of Twitter.  The Chicago Tribune, which has produced the strip for 70 years, claims it was simply time for the writer and artist to retire this project—perhaps like the noble end of “MASH” or “The Sopranos.” That’s a nice idea, but the truth is that there’s little money anymore in newspaper comic strips.

In fact, the Tribune often seemed to drag its feet with the truth concerning Brenda. One of the infamous stories fans are recalling about Brenda’s birth is that sexist Tribune editors nearly sidelined Brenda in 1940 to keep from encouraging too many women in journalism. It’s easy at the dawn of 2011 to confuse Brenda with her Rita Hayworth pizzazz and think of her as a sexist relic of the past. But, the tough political columnist Suzi Parker, among other women in journalism, are mourning the loss today. Suzi’s farewell to Brenda noted: “Countless female journalists have named Starr as a guiding muse and role model in their careers, myself included.”

Men in journalism are mourning, too. For this scarlet-haired ambassador of journalism to drop out of the comics cosmos is another grim reminder that more than 100,000 real-life journalists are out of work. Rodney Curtis (a.k.a. the Spiritual Wanderer), a newsroom veteran who similarly got the boot a couple of years ago and now teaches journalism, writes about his own bemused reaction to the news of this latest colleague’s passing.

It’s altogether possible that Brenda will resurface. Commemorative volumes already are planned for the next few years and Batman, born in 1939, couldn’t be a hotter hero today. Peanuts certainly is alive and well; and the franchise keeps spinning off fresh projects like short films for television and DVD a decade after Schulz laid down his pen.

With each passing year, the spiritual content of comics grows. The super-sized spiritual pairings are obvious. There’s Bono and Spiderman. There’s the latest Hollywood version of Batman with dark musings on the nature of good and evil. But, beyond those spectacular productions, there’s also a burgeoning community of specifically religious comic artists walking through this wide-open doorway.

Religious Comic Artists Creating a New Cosmos

A detail from Kurt Kolka’s farewell to Brenda StarrLook closely and you’ll find the evangelical marketplace is crowded with Japanese manga-style Bible stories. There are even Hindu and Muslim comic books that explore specific deities and beliefs—and that’s remarkable for Islam, which shuns most visual representations of the faith.

These new religious comic creators are well aware of their mentors. They love the classics. One popular Christian comic artist, Kurt Kolka, just published a heart-felt salute to Brenda’s passing in a popular comics website. Kurt’s own superhero is called the Cardinal. In Kurt’s weekly comic strips, the Cardinal spends time volunteering in urban soup kitchens as well as battling bad guys. The Cardinal thrives in comic websites; he occasionally busts out into comic books—and he even shows up in occasional indie videos. He doesn’t need newspapers to survive.

The biggest name in Jewish comic books is historian Steve Sheinkin, who spent years supporting his family by writing portions of history textbooks used in public schools. In 2010, Sheinkin published his third graphic novel starring Rabbi Harvey of the Wild West (we just featured Rabbi Harvey in our Best of 2010 series). Like Kolka’s Cardinal, Rabbi Harvey is full of slam-bam fun with lots of life-and-death challenges, but the storyline also throws bright new light on ancient traditions. Rabbi Harvey shoots straight, but always from his mind and heart, never from a gun. The wise young rabbi has never set foot in a newspaper.

Please, mourn with many of us the passing of Brenda Starr and the anniversary of Schulz’s demise. He died on February 12, 2000, following a stroke and a struggle with cancer.  The dailies ended Jan. 3, 2000. The final Sunday comic strip appeared on February 13 that year, a tribute page in which Schulz’s message to readers included this: “My family does not wish Peanuts to be continued by anyone else. … Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy—how can I ever forget them …”

He couldn’t. And we can’t. Many of us will never forget Brenda Starr, either.

But the news is good today: Their lives continue in reruns and commemorative books—and a constant stream of creative new comic characters are crowding in around them with messages of hope.

We want our international conversation to continue

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723 Comic book news: Independent publishers continue to produce exciting Christian comics like ‘Eyewitness’

Scripture writ large! That’s the news today! Like the artists who created stained-glass windows, marble statues and icons to bring the Bible to life down through the centuries, contemporary Christian comic book artists are casting fresh light on scripture.

It’s an incredibly difficult challenge. Many Christian comic book artists can’t afford to seriously pursue their calling. Many try—and fail. A biblical comic series we recommended a couple of years ago, called “Dust,” is still available from a few resellers, but the “Dust” team finally had to close up shop.

Today, we’ve got some good comic book news. And, you can help make it better! One longtime friend of ReadTheSpirit is journalist K.J. Kolka, creator of The Cardinal comics. You can enjoy the ongoing adventures of Kolka’s crime-fighting hero online. In his private life, the fictional Cardinal is a good-hearted young fellow who helps his community in many ways. In his fully costumed crime-fighting role, the Cardinal flies through the skies and tackles larger evils. Recently, Kolka also has produced a beautiful, indie-published comicbook version of the Cardinal.

I’ll admit to some bias here as editor of ReadTheSpirit, since I wrote the preface for Kolka’s book-length Cardinal comic. Efforts to keep religious comic books blossoming take many people spreading word all the time. (Although we’re focusing on Christian comics today, remember that there are more than Christian comics out there. A Muslim comics series focuses on the many different names for God. There are Hindu, Buddhist and even Yoruban comics.) 

One reason we strongly support Kolka’s work is that he’s also a big supporter of other comic artists. At the moment, the online version of his Cardinal comic is promoting the 70th annivesary of “Brenda Starr” comics. Through the years, Kolka has tirelessly promoted classic and emerging comics. Kolka spreads the good news. Please, if you care about comics, join us.

Kolka introduced the whole ReadTheSpirit staff to Texas-based comic book artist Robert Luedke, who ranks as the king of independent Christian comics in our view. It’s true that, these days, various commercial publishers have jumped on the bandwagon with comic books, graphic novels and manga aimed at religious readers. Zondervan, for example, has a whole line of inspirational Japanese-style manga on biblical themes, all aimed at evangelical readers.

What Luedke has achieved, though, is a cathedral-class series of graphic novels called “Eyewitness.” The storyline combines Indiana Jones, gripping New Testament stories, time travel, espionage and dramatic scenes that rank among the best in American comic artistry. One example from this new volume is a dramatic sequence in which Paul is a prisoner on a Roman ship, fighting to save lives in the midst of a storm and shipwreck. Be careful not to rip the pages as you keep flipping to learn what happens next!

Want to help with this effort to encourage the resurgence in religious comic books? Then, visit Robert Luedke’s website and order the “Eyewitness” series. If you’ve followed our past recommendations and already own the first three volumes—the news today is that Luedke’s Volume 4 is finished!

To Learn More about the Rebirth of Christian Comic Books:

In 2008, we reported on an important book-length history of comics in American culture, especially focused on the furious campaigns to ban and burn comic books.

Here’s an excerpt of that 2008 article on comic-book paranoia: This was, indeed, a very strange outbreak of paranoia and bigotry… It was partly a flowering of anxiety about emerging youth culture that began as far back as the war years. It was partly an ugly fear of the “sort of people” involved in producing comic books, who were considered socially unsavory—a tragic bias vaguely aimed at “lower-class” and immigrant Americans. Along the way, a great deal of damage was done. (…)

This is a cautionary tale against censorship, which cost the religious community far more than it gained by righteously crusading against pulp. … It’s only now—half a century after the purge—that comics are rebounding in a big way and, finally, there’s growing interest in spiritual circles in drawing young readers into timeless truths with the powerful words and images of comic artistry.

Click Here to read entire: “Mourning the purge of comic books … and celebrating their spiritual rebirth.

ENJOY OUR ENTIRE GREAT SUMMER READING AND VIEWING SERIES: (Our series so far: “Crown of Aleppo,” “Science Vs. Religion,” “Belief,” “Apparition,” “Burma VJ,” “Facets World Cup,” “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth” “The Lonely Polygamist,” “Rise and Shine,” “Saints,” “Beaches of Agnes,” “Mystically Wired,” “Creative Aging” and “Twelve by Twelve.”)

We welcome your Emails! Email [email protected]. We’re also reachable on Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Huffington Post, YouTube and other social-networking sites. You also can Subscribe to our articles via Email or RSS feed. Plus, there’s a free Monday-morning “Planner” newsletter you may enjoy.

654: Passover and Holy Week converge in hope, creativity—and somber resolve

eaders praised our array of stories this week—a pretty unusual mix of themes from the Wild West to a somber remembrance of the Holocaust.
    “Thank you for the powerful commentary on the Holocaust,” reader Brenda from Michigan wrote on Thursday.
    “Can’t miss a day! I mean, you’re all over the world!” laughed TomTom, a freelance writer based in Boston. “Tombstone to Theresienstadt in 24 hours.”
    “We need a lot more role models with more brains than bombs like this Rabbi Harvey. … I never heard of these comic books before this week, but I plan to recommend them to my kids,” said Anne R, a high school teacher in Los Angeles.
    We’re pleased that we surprised you this week, because our aim is to spot great resources for you—especially books, films and television that you might miss without tips from ReadTheSpirit.

IF you’re just catching up with us on the weekend …

1.) Remember the Holocaust via our new Resources Page. It’s appropriate this week—and again next week. Come back on Sunday to read Stephanie Fenton’s latest “Spiritual Season” column and you’ll learn that two worldwide memorials are coming next week. These are “never forget” dates for millions of men and women circling our globe: April 7 is the anniversary of the start of the Rwnandan genocide in 1994. Sundown on April 10 is the start of Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.

2.) Celebrate Courage and the Wisdom to Turn Violence Toward Peace with Rabbi Harvey. Part 1 is our review and overview of Steve Sheinkin’s creative new third volume in his “Rabbi Harvey of the Wild West” series of graphic novels. Part 2 is an in-depth interview with Sheinkin—where we pull the curtain back enough so you can see the larger forces driving this remarkable artist and historian.

3.)  And Don’t Miss the Vivid Slice of Hope from Afghanistan. The brave young people daring to perform on national TV in Afghanistan—in a celebration of freedom and popular culture—should be celebrated by all of us … far and wide. These young men and women have risked more than their pride in the Afghan knock-off of “American Idol.” They’re risking their lives!




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