RAMADAN IS COMING …
FASTING & REFLECTION—Nearly one quarter of Earth’s population is called to a month of fasting, starting on or around Monday June 6. This season of self-denial, spiritual reflection and study of the Quran is an enormous challenge for the faithful this year—because the lunar cycles have moved the holy month squarely into the longest days of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Among the most beloved tastes during Ramadan are dried dates—often the first bites when the sun finally sets and evening festivities begin with family and friends.
… AND INSPIRING NEWS!
ACCESS to SCHOOL—National news from Michigan, this week: We’re proud to report on the launch of a new book about a talented team of educators from the Arab-American nonprofit ACCESS who are jump-starting the education of recent immigrants in a low-income Detroit neighborhood. Our story today explains why this news touches on our hotly debated attitudes toward immigration, this year, and on a centuries-old heritage of cross-cultural education.
& GLOBAL CULTURE
GOD SIGNS—Columnist Suzy Farbman writes about the long journey of Punit Patel, who grew up in an Indian family based in Kenya. Breaking out of his own family’s expectations for his life, he migrated to the U.S. and now is contributing to global diversity in American design.
HOLIDAYS & MILESTONES
Don’t miss a date! Remember www.InterfaithHolidays.org, our master calendar.
HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY! Do you know the history of Memorial Day in the U.S.? As our column by Stephanie Fenton points out, the official history keeps evolving with competing claims. We also remind readers not to miss the May 29 national concert; we’ve got a link to the concert website and details of the stars appearing this year.
ANCIENT HARVEST FESTIVAL—Jewish communities around the world mark Shavuot later this week, an ancient tradition marking a grain harvest in Israel. But there’s a lot more to Shavuot than that. Holidays columnist Stephanie Fenton reports, and provides helpful links for tasty Shavuot recipes.
FEED THE SPIRIT—Columnist Bobbie Lewis is based in Michigan, so she’s perfectly poised to celebrate the 150th anniversary of that distinctively oak-aged ginger ale known as Vernors. Well, she explains, it’s at least the 150th birthday according to company lore (which includes the bearded gnome Woody). As always, Bobbie also serves up a delicious recipe—in this case Vernors chicken, perfect for a summer picnic!
FILM, FAITH & CULTURE
LOVE MOVIES? Enjoy all of the free resources from Ed McNulty’s faith-and-film website: www.VisualParables.org
Among Ed’s recent free reviews are …
- Pelé: BIRTH OF A LEGEND—This week, ReadTheSpirit has a special global focus and our film critic adds news about this stirring drama about the legendary Brazilian soccer player. Ed chides other critics who have dismissed the film as yet another formulaic Rocky story. He says the film will touch your heart and gives it 4 out of 5 stars.
- A BIGGER SPLASH—Another international movie makes Ed’s list this week. It’s a drama by Italian director Luca Guadagnino, starring Tilda Swinton as a David Bowie-style rock star trying to retreat to an island and recover from her turbulent life. But all does not go as planned. (4 stars)
- MONEY MONSTER—This thriller about media and money and American values is exciting but it doesn’t have the bite of other recent movies about those left behind by our rollercoaster economy. Ed gives the movie 4 out of 5 stars.
- MILES AHEAD—Ed also gives this movie bio of jazz great Miles Davis 4 stars.
- FRANCOFONIA—After the amazing Russian Ark, fans of director Alexandr Sokurov watch for his newest films and seek them out. In Francofonia he spins a tale within another museum—and, if you can’t find the film in theaters, it is coming soon to DVD and Blu-ray. (4.5 out of 5 stars).
- PAPA: HEMINGWAY IN CUBA—This fact-based drama about the famous writer’s relationship with a journalist in the 1950s also is worth seeking out. (4 stars)
- BORN TO BE BLUE—Check out this worthwhile movie about jazz trumpeter Chet Baker. (4 stars).
- ELVIS and NIXON—The film is as strange and funny as the original historical moment. (4 stars)