Ultra-Orthodox Jewish 'Facebook' separates the sexes
FaceGlat is a social networking site for Orthodox Jews.
September 12th, 2011
08:34 PM ET

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish 'Facebook' separates the sexes

By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

(CNN) - Showing that modernity might, just might, find its place even in a world predisposed to the most traditional of customs, in walks FaceGlat: an ultra-Orthodox Jewish answer, at least for some, to Facebook.

Among the most conservative of Orthodox Jews, often referred to as Haredi Jews, modesty reigns. Women wear long sleeves and skirts, and they cover their hair after marriage. Men dress as their ancestors did centuries ago. The genders are separated in synagogues, on wedding dance floors and, in certain neighborhoods, on buses.


- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Culture wars • Judaism • Technology

October 1st, 2010
03:08 PM ET

Muslims speak - and sing - for themselves

Native Deen, a Muslim hip-hop group, adds its voice to the 'My Faith My Voice' grassroots campaign. From left to right are Joshua Salaam, Abdul-Malik Ahmad and Naeem Muhammad.

They’d grown tired of the frenzy swirling around discussions of an Islamic center near ground zero. They were sick of being feared and misunderstood. They didn't want the same talking heads representing them and their beliefs.

So a grassroots campaign called “My Faith My Voice” was born to let everyday Muslims speak for themselves.

Launched online one month ago by young American Muslim professionals in the Washington, D.C., area, the online campaign invites Muslims to upload their own 30-second message to Americans – a public service announcement, of sorts, to help viewers understand who American Muslims really are.


- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: 'Ground zero mosque' • Islam • Muslim • Technology

Wiccan: GOP candidate's witchcraft dabbling a teachable moment
September 22nd, 2010
11:05 AM ET

Wiccan: GOP candidate's witchcraft dabbling a teachable moment

The high priestess followed the media coverage this weekend and grew concerned.

Not only had a woman running for the U.S. Senate once lumped witchcraft with Satanism, a horrible insult in and of itself, but she also went on to distance herself from that earlier statement by calling those who practice witchcraft “questionable folks.”

Once again, the Rev. Selena Fox realized, it would be up to her and other Pagans to educate.

“It’s an opportunity to get some correct information out there. That’s how I see it,” says Fox, who is the high priestess and senior minister of Circle Sanctuary, a Wiccan church near Barneveld, Wisconsin, that serves Pagans worldwide. “There’s comedy about it, hot debate about it, lots of pundits weighing in. But one of the things that really hasn’t gotten through is how ridicule and defamation can harm people.”


- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Paganism • Politics • Religious liberty

September 20th, 2010
10:38 AM ET

Out of the kitchen, into the priesthood

The CNN Belief Blog occasionally shares spiritual journeys of others and offers this one from a longtime executive chef in New Orleans, Louisiana.

As his city, state and region struggled this summer to make sense of what the Gulf Coast oil disaster would mean, Kenneth Smith, 50, prepared to hang up his apron and move from feeding people's bellies to feeding their souls.

He was getting ready to leave the kitchen and enter the seminary, when CNN sat down with him.

Read his story, in his own words.

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Catholic Church • Journeys

September 17th, 2010
01:15 PM ET

How faith shapes politics - or doesn't

A national survey released today shows that while many Americans say faith drives their stances on social and political issues, there's little consistency on how and when it does.

Opinions on hot-button matters like abortion and same-sex marriage are more often influenced primarily by religion than are issues such as immigration, the environment and poverty, according to the Pew Research Center survey, "Impact of Religion on Political Views.”

Of the more than 3,000 adults surveyed over a two-week period this summer, 35 percent said religion mattered most for them on the issue of same-sex marriage. Of just those who oppose such marriages, 60 percent named religion as their top influence. On abortion, 26 percent named religion, with 45 percent of opponents weighing in this way.

Forty-four percent of those surveyed said their clergy speaks about same-sex matters, and 59 percent said they hear from clergy about abortion.


- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Abortion • Belief • Environment • Gay marriage • Homosexuality • Politics • United States

A time for all to atone for tech sins?
September 9th, 2010
03:15 PM ET

A time for all to atone for tech sins?

Eric Yaverbaum is as guilty as anyone of making technological transgressions. He's ignored family to check emails while at the dinner table and tuned out of actual conversations to tune into Twitter.

But the 49-year-old New York public relations executive isn't afraid to admit his sins.

"I'm the guy who sleeps with his BlackBerry," Yaverbaum says. "I'm raising my hand and saying, 'Yes, I'm an addict.'"

He is trying to make amends, though, and thinks you should, too. It is that time of year, after all.


- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Judaism • Technology

August 17th, 2010
03:54 PM ET

Tweeting the Bible, one chapter at a time

His is the kind of devout undertaking that would make the tech gods proud.

Chris Juby, a 30-year-old church worship director in the UK, has set out to tweet the entire Bible, one chapter a day. With 10 chapters down, having started August 8, he only has 1,179 to go.

The expected end date, if all goes as planned: November 8, 2013.


- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Christianity • Technology

May 28th, 2010
11:22 AM ET

Archbishop of Canterbury slaps Episcopal Church for openly gay bishops

Rifts within the Anglican Communion could widen after the archbishop of Canterbury, who has condemned the consecration of openly gay bishops, urged a diminished role Friday for the Episcopal Church.


- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Anglican • Christianity • Culture wars • Episcopal • Gay rights

May 18th, 2010
06:27 PM ET

Billy Graham: Back for more?

He’s already shared the Gospel with more than 215 million people in 185 countries, according to the evangelistic association bearing his name, but it seems the Rev. Billy Graham - who's slowed down in recent years - may have one more message to deliver.

While appearing in Charlotte, North Carolina, last month for the reopening of the Billy Graham Library, the Baptist preacher indicated that he’d like to give another sermon, said Graham’s spokesman A. Larry Ross.


- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Baptist • Christianity • Faith • Sermon

May 18th, 2010
02:58 PM ET

Explainer: What’s Shavuot? Hint: It starts tonight

At sundown tonight, Jews will begin to observe Shavuot – a holiday that commemorates when the ancient Israelites at Mount Sinai were given the Torah, Judaism’s founding texts.

The holiday comes seven weeks after Passover, signifying when the Israelites escaped Egypt, where they had been slaves. After wandering in the desert, led by Moses, they came upon Mount Sinai. And with the Torah, also known as the Five Books of Moses, Judaism officially began.


- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Faith • Holidays • Judaism

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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.