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Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me … a nose job appointment?
Orthodox rabbis have concluded that cosmetic surgery is religiously acceptable in many instances.
April 2nd, 2012
06:46 PM ET

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me … a nose job appointment?

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

(CNN) - The problem for Orthodox Jewish singles, when it comes to meeting “the one,” might be right in front of them. Literally, as in staring them in the mirror.

So says a Miami plastic surgeon who recently announced surgery “scholarships” for single men and women in the Orthodox Jewish community.

Doing his part to help bring couples together, Dr. Michael Salzhauer launched this pro-bono campaign for his fellow Jews. Call it nose jobs for nuptials.

“A big nose worked for George Washington,” he said. “But there are standards of beauty that go across all cultures.” Like it or not, the stereotypical “Jewish nose” is a subject fraught with complex history.

FULL POST

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Ethics • Faith & Health • History • Holocaust • Judaism

March 9th, 2012
07:50 AM ET

Mormons crack down on proxy baptisms; whistleblower’s access blocked

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

(CNN) - In response to recent media reports that well-known Jewish Holocaust victims and slain Jewish journalist Daniel Pearl were baptized by proxy, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is renewing and revamping efforts to crack down on the practice and, some believe, stop the attention.

The church said this week it had implemented a “new technological barrier” to prevent abuse of its massive genealogical database, parts of which have been used to carry out – as well as expose - proxy baptisms.

"The church is committed to preventing the misguided practice of submitting the names of Holocaust victims and prominent individuals for proxy baptism,” spokesman Michael Purdy said in a written statement.

FULL POST

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Holocaust • Judaism • Mitt Romney • Mormonism • Utah

March 2nd, 2012
10:44 AM ET

Inside the world of Satmar Jews

(CNN)–Deborah Feldman, author of "Unorthodox," explains to CNN's Soledad O'Brien the culture of the Satmar Hasidic Jewish community.

Read more about Starting Point with Soledad O'Brien here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Bible • Holocaust • Judaism

October 11th, 2011
07:26 AM ET

Einstein letter on Nazi persecution of Jews for sale

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

(CNN) - A letter from Albert Einstein warning of the persecution of Jews in Germany on the eve of World War II is up for auction in California, with the sale ending Tuesday evening Pacific time.

The physicist writes of the importance of "rescuing our persecuted fellow-Jews from their calamitous peril and leading them toward a better future" in the June 10, 1939 letter.

Einstein praises New York businessman Hyman Zinn for his "splendid work" on behalf of refugees.

"We have no other means of self-defense than our solidarity and our knowledge that the cause for which we are suffering is a momentous and sacred cause," Einstein writes to Zinn, of the Manhattan Button Company.

FULL POST

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Germany • Holocaust • Judaism

June 24th, 2011
02:36 PM ET

Untold stories of rape during the Holocaust

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

(CNN) - The soldiers came for her at night. They took the girl to a barrack and forced her to watch a woman get raped.

The drunken men then set loose a dog to rip off the raped woman's breasts. Blood was everywhere. The woman passed out.

The young witness was next. Five soldiers held her down and took turns raping and sodomizing her. They spilled alcohol on her. They laughed. They said they'd kill her. She didn't yet have breasts for the dog to attack.

Read more on the untold stories of the Holocaust
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Holocaust • Judaism • Violence

1919 signed letter contains Hitler's first known stance on Jewish 'removal'
June 7th, 2011
06:35 PM ET

1919 signed letter contains Hitler's first known stance on Jewish 'removal'

By Dana Garrett, CNN

New York (CNN) - A signed letter by Adolf Hitler, which contains what is believed to be the earliest written expression of his views on Jews and anti-Semitism, was unveiled at a press conference in New York on Tuesday by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

Rabbi Marvin Hier said the letter, written in 1919, is "one of the most important documents in the entire history of the Third Reich."

Wearing white gloves to protect the fragile, yellowing document, Hier, founder and dean of the Wiesenthal Center, pointed out what he considered to be the most significant phrase in the four-page, typed letter - the words "Entfernung der Juden," German for "removal of Jews" - which Hitler wrote must be the government's "final goal."

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Europe • Germany • Holocaust • Judaism • New York • United States

Catholic priest collects tales of Holocaust shootings
Father Patrick Desbois has collected hundreds of tales from the Holocaust.
May 16th, 2011
09:57 AM ET

Catholic priest collects tales of Holocaust shootings

By Padmananda Rama, CNN

Washington (CNN) - Father Patrick Desbois does not consider the stories confessions. Instead, he considers the collection of stories he's gathered over nine years the truth.

The Catholic priest and his teams have traveled to some 600 villages across Eastern Europe, seeking elderly villagers, farmers, pensioners, anyone old enough to remember and recount the atrocities committed by Nazi soldiers during the Holocaust.

"I'm not looking for the guilt. I'm looking for the facts and where are the corpses," Desbois told CNN following a presentation at the State Department Thursday.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Europe • France • Holocaust • Judaism

Annual report: Anti-Semitic incidents down worldwide but still high
Tourists visit the Yad Vashem holocaust memorial museum on the eve of Israel's Holocaust Memorial Day.
May 1st, 2011
07:04 PM ET

Annual report: Anti-Semitic incidents down worldwide but still high

Jerusalem (CNN) - Anti-Semitic incidents worldwide dropped sharply in 2010 from their peak in 2009, according to an annual report issued by an Israeli university on the eve of the nation's Holocaust Memorial Day.

However, the levels are significantly higher than they were a decade ago, when the upward trend began, according to the report from Tel Aviv University's Steven Roth Institute for the Study of Contemporary Anti-Semitism and Racism and the Kantor Center for the Study of European Jewry.

Read the full story
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Holocaust • Israel • Judaism

March 22nd, 2011
02:25 PM ET

Time: Did Poles profit off Jews during the Holocaust?

At first glance, it seems like an ordinary, innocent photograph: a group of Polish peasants holding shovels in a field on a sunny day. But look closer and you see the skulls and bones scattered at their feet.

According to some historians, the photo was taken at the site of the Treblinka death camp in eastern Poland shortly after World War II and shows the peasants digging up Jewish remains in search of gold or other valuables. When it ran alongside a 2008 newspaper feature about Poland's postwar era, most readers didn't take much notice.

But when historian Jan Tomasz Gross saw the photo, he was moved to write Golden Harvest, a controversial new book in which he argues that many Poles enriched themselves during the war by exploiting Jews, from plundering mass graves to ferreting out Jews in hiding for reward. In the book's introduction, Gross recalls how the photo made a big impression on him. "I could not understand why it passed without echo among the [newspaper's] readers," he writes.

Read the full story on TIME.com
- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Holocaust • Judaism • Poland

6 other calamities blamed on divine retribution
Destroyed vehicles and rubble in Minamisanriku, Japan
March 16th, 2011
04:55 PM ET

6 other calamities blamed on divine retribution

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Age-old questions about divine punishment are back. Again.

On Tuesday, the governor of Tokyo apologized for saying the earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands of Japanese were divine retribution for national egoism.

Television and media personality Glenn Beck, meanwhile, has sent mixed messages about whether he thinks God is behind Japan's natural disaster. “I’m not saying God is, you know, causing earthquakes,” he said Monday, adding he's “not not saying that, either.”

“Whether you call it Gaia, or whether you call it Jesus, there’s a message being sent and that is, ‘Hey, you know that stuff we’re doing? Not really working out real well,’” Beck said. “Maybe we should stop doing some of it.”

Blaming human sinfulness for natural and man-made disasters is nothing new. “This kind of thinking is actually typical rather than atypical in world history,” says Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion professor and CNN Belief Blog contributor.

Here’s a list of natural and man-made calamities that have been attributed to divine retribution for human transgression. Let us know what others should make the cut.

FULL POST

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Asia • God • Holocaust • Japan

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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.

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