Help Us Spread the Spirit of Peace this Season
“SPIRIT is the courage and determination that helps people to survive in difficult times and to keep their way of life and their beliefs.” That’s just what most of us need as we approach the year-end holidays this year.
Remember: Hanukkah begins on December 22, Christmas on the 25th, Kwanzaa on December 26, then some people even give New Year’s gifts. Books are a great choice for the New Year, because studies show that January is becoming a very popular month for starting new books!
What better gift to give someone this holiday season, than the gift of SPIRIT. All of these books promote peace by helping to bridge the gaps that separate Americans these days. Please read our Cover Story this week—and choose a couple of these great books. And, please, share this week’s cover story with friends.There’s probably a book on this list that you’d like to receive!
HOLIDAYS ARE COMING!
Hanukkah: Celebrating Religious Freedom
SUNDOWN DECEMBER 22—The first night of Hanukkah arrives for million Jews worldwide. Although not as religiously significant as some other Jewish holidays—Yom Kippur, Sukkot or Passover, just to name a few—Hanukkah is widely celebrated, and is easily recognized even by non-Jews.
EVENING OF TUESDAY DECEMBER 24—Even though a growing minority of Americans say they have no religious affiliation—about half of us say they like to attend Christmas Eve services. These holiday celebrations have become the biggest events of the year in thousands of churches nationwide. Holidays & Festivals columnist Stephanie Fenton has the story.
RABBI ALPER ON TAMRON HALL—Popular author and standup comedian Rabbi Bob Alper recently appeared on Tamron Hall‘s national TV talkshow to help interfaith families think about these conflicts and questions that inevitably arise at the holidays. Here’s a link to watch Rabbi Alper on the broadcast. As usual with such TV shows, you will have to watch a brief commercial before the Tamron Hall video begins. It’s worth the wait!
What Visions Are Emerging for your Holiday Season?
RODNEY CURTIS gives us all a wonderful mix of joy—and deep emotion—from his own family’s holiday season. This short, heart-felt column captures the roller coaster many families experience at this time of year. Please, read this love letter from Rodney’s family—and share it with friends.
Care to see all the holidays? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances—just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com
Faith & Film
ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.
Among Ed’s free reviews and columns are:
- A HIDDEN LIFE—Ed writes, “Terrence Malick, after his three montage-type films (Knight of Cups; To the Wonder: and The Tree of Life), returns to a simpler narrative form in this biography of Austrian WWII conscientious objector Franz Jägerstätter. He effectively juxtaposes the Eden-like tranquility and beauty of the Austrian mountain village of St. Radegund with the destructive evil of Nazis ruining Europe at the time.” (5 out of 5 stars)
- THE REPORT—Ed writes, “There are times when those who love truth and justice weep for their country. Such a time is covered by writer/director Scott Z. Burns’ political thriller that unfolds like a relentless legal brief.” (5 stars)
- DARK WATERS—”Dark Waters joins such David vs. Goliath stories as Erin Brockovich and Take Back Our Town. The legal thriller’s title does not refer to dark, shark-infected waters, but to the quotidian water that we drink or with which we wash.” (5 stars)
- QUEEN & SLIM—”First time feature director Melina Matsoukas combines Black Lives Matter with the age-old theme of criminals on the run, the result being a film that though grim, is also at times a funny commentary on racial relations in the nation.” (4.5 stars)
- THE LIGHTHOUSE—”Having reviewed Robert Eggers’ The Witch three years ago, I expected some tense viewing—after all, it is labeled a horror movie. And so it is. And how it is! It seems ironic that so much darkness pervades this film centered on an installation designed to send forth light that saves lives.” (4 stars)
- LAST CHRISTMAS—Director Paul Feig’s new holiday film is a bit better than the average TV-Christmas-movie fare, says Ed. (4 stars)
- A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD—The new film is touching and terrific—even better than Ed had expected, he writes. (5 stars)
- MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN—Ed writes, “Edward Norton is a triple threat in his new movie. He is director, writer, and star in this adaptation of Jonathan Lethem’s acclaimed 1999 novel. However, he made a lot of changes, beginning by moving the action back 40 years—from the 1990s to 1957, and thus into film noir territory.” Then, Ed gives the film 5 stars and highly recommends it.
- PAIN AND GLORY—Of this new film by Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar, Ed writes that the director “draws on aspects of his own life in this story of a faded film director almost despairing of renewing his career. It will come as no surprise that there is a strong woman central to his story, his mother Jacinta, played by Penelope Cruz when he was a boy. Both she and Antonio Banderas, who plays film director Salvador Mallo, are long-time associates of Almodóvar.” (4 stars)