REACHING OUT TO SHARE HOPE
GET YOUR FREE collection of Rabbi Bob Alper’s inspiring and often amusing real-life stories in his book, Thanks. I Needed That. As the COVID-19 crisis spreads around the world, our publishing house staff continues to produce books that rest on our founding promise: “Good media builds healthy community.” And, what is more important right now than recovering hope—spreading smiles and reassurance? That’s the main theme of Bob’s book—and his famous standup comedy tours across the U.S. Since those in-person tours are on hold, Bob is eager to keep reaching out to share his best life-giving stories.
THEN … THE BEST GOOD NEWS THIS WEEK!
VICTOR BEGG’S LITTLE GRANDSON startled all of us adults, this week, with his innovative idea to collect supplies for professionals on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis. This is the kind of Good News story that needs to spread far and wide: A little boy with a big idea is making a huge difference, connecting his community’s resources in new ways. We learned about this news story as it first appeared in a local Virginia newspaper, because the little boy is the grandson of our author Victor Begg. (NOTE: Have you taken a moment to order your copy of Victor’s memoir about his family, Our Muslim Neighbors? Well, this news story about his grandson is exactly the kind of selfless community service we find among our Muslim neighbors. Thanks Victor for your family’s outreach!)
SINGING, PRAYING & PAINTING FOR HEALTH
PASSOVER and HOLY WEEK ARE COMING
WE ARE PROUD AS A PUBLISHING HOUSE that, over the past 13 years, we have been able to publish authors ranging from secular institutions (including universities and major nonprofits) to writers who are Christian, Jewish and Muslim. Because our national community is so diverse, we are receiving many hopeful messages from our Jewish writers and readers—who are preparing for Passover on the evening of April 8—and from our Christian writers and readers who are preparing for Easter on April 12 and Orthodox Pascha on April 19.
THIS PAST WEEK, the spiritual realms of the Internet blossomed as tens of thousands of congregations moved online to share hopeful messages, worship services, Bible studies, hymn sings—and even prayers and paintings you can share with others.
Share Rabbi Krakoff’s Prayers
PRAYERS FOR HEALING AND PEACE—Just as the story about Victor Begg’s remarkable grandson is spreading across social media, a short video of Jewish prayers is spreading across social media as well. Rabbi Joseph Krakoff is best known for his work with the Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network and as the author of Never Long Enough, an innovative picture book that helps families reflect on the lives of loved ones. Please, read this story about the Krakoffs’ online prayers—and watch the short video you’ll see with the column. Then, share it with friends.
Debra Darvick: ‘Why Is This Night Different?’
PASSOVER‘s crucial question is the title of Debra Darvick’s new column. Debra is an author, educator, media innovator and writes especially about her Jewish faith and heritage. She wrote this poem in preparation for Pesach 5780 in the Jewish calendar.
Rodney Curtis: Already Pining for Opening Day?
IN A COLUMN HE CALLS “IT,” author Rodney Curtis shares everyone’s rants about the state of our world today. “IT” is making us all furious with the mounting toll in lives and relationships! So, what can we possibly do in the face of such fear and frustration? Well, one thing we can do is tell great stories! And, that’s Rodney’s specialty. Read this column—and shake off some of your own ranting and raving along with Rodney—then, in the middle, you’ll find a link to watch videos of Rodney reading the opening chapters of his baseball novel, Hope’s Diamond. Go on! Enjoy Rodney’s column and share it with friends.
Care to see all of our Holidays & Festivals columns? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com
FAITH & FILM
LIFT YOUR SPIRITS WITH STREAMING
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 these 10 recommending movies that are guaranteed to lift your spirits—and are available for streaming right now via Amazon and/or Netflix.
- REVOLUTION OF THE HEART—Ed’s review urges us all to watch this documentary by Martin Doblmeier. Ed writes: “Dorothy Day, lived such a long and eventful life that his film is brimming with photos, narratives by those who knew her, and archival footage, much of which features her speaking for herself.
- BARRY—”Director Vikram Gandhi’s wonderful film, paired with the 2016 film Southside With You, would make a great double feature. This Netflix film focuses upon Barack Obama’s (Devon Terrell) life as a student of political science at Columbia University in 1981 New York City, a time when the city and its subways looked scruffy due to graffiti and litter.” (4.5 out of 5 stars)
- SELF-MADE—”Thanks to the fine performance of Octavia Spencer and her supporting cast, this is a very entertaining film. Madam C.J. Walker, well known to black Americans, is less familiar to the rest of us, but should be, due to her being the first black female who raised herself to the status of America’s first black woman millionaire.” (Stream on Netflix.)
- I STILL BELIEVE—Ed also reviews this based-on-a-true-story film about the evangelical Christian musician Jeremy Camp (K.J. Appa) and the tragic death of his wife. However, Ed cautions that the movie is lacks subtlety in its direct religious appeal to evangelical viewers. (Rent on Amazon.)
- ORDINARY LOVE—In contrast, Ed gives a 5-star rave review to this film co-starring Liam Neeson. He writes, “Despite what the title might lead one to expect, this is an extraordinary film.” (Rent on Amazon.)
- EMMA—”First time feature director Autumn de Wilde and screenwriter Eleanor Catton give us a delightful version of Jane Austin’s classic novel set in rural England around 1815.” (Rent this 2020 feature film on Amazon—and note: BritBox subscribers can stream the 4-part 2009 BBC production of Emma.)
- A MAN NAMED OVE—“This quirky parable might be saying that Universe is not as cold and indifferent to our fate as some believe.” (Currently streaming free on Amazon Prime)
- ECHO IN THE CANYON—”Director Andrew Slater has assembled a galaxy of musicians and uses Grammy award-winning musician Jakob Dylan as his host to demonstrate the timelessness of these songs.” (Stream on Netflix; rent on Amazon Prime)
- FIDDLER ON THE ROOF—Why not relax with a true classic? (Streaming free on Amazon Prime) And, if you really love the movie—you can also watch Fiddler: Miracle of Miracles, because the 2019 documentary can now be rented on Amazon Prime. (Rent on Amazon Prime)
- MARY POPPINS RETURNS—”Although she seems a bit more reserved than an angel, the umbrella air-born Mary Poppins is a good stand-in for one for the Banks family in the two movies about her.” (Stream on Netflix; rent on Amazon Prime)