Tova Hartman opens the door to her apartment with a warm smile, speaking softly and casually dressed. With her down-to-earth femininity, she doesn't exactly look like a rabble-rouser within Orthodox Judaism. Which, perhaps, is precisely what makes her so effective.
The 53-year old psychologist and Jewish scholar has used her decidedly feminist Orthodox synagogue to mount a formidable challenge to the male bastion of religious orthodoxy:
Few expressions of religion are as public and inescapable as buildings. It is difficult to hide temples, churches, chapels, mosques, and shrines from public view. Millions of people in all cultures enter and use them, and billions recognize them in skylines or down the block. So I assess and comment on them as part of my mission to focus on the social and cultural phenomena connected with “the sacred.”
The recent media attention to whether Jesus was white, whether Santa is white, and the so-called “war on Christmas” distract from a question that has plagued me my whole life: What’s a non-Christian South Asian American to do during Christmas?
Amy Ray and Emily Saliers — the Indigo Girls — on finding God in church and in smoky bars. And on music as a continuum of human existence.
She’s the tattooed, Lutheran pastor of the House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, a church where a chocolate fountain, a blessing of the bicycles, and serious liturgy come together. She's a face of the Emerging Church — redefining what church is, with deep reverence for tradition.
Religious traditions take many forms in the U.S. For a Nigerian immigrant's daughter, it's creamy frejon that's the Easter week delicacy.
Although I was born on Christmas, I feel like I’m slightly part Hanukkah now. Each year since I remarried — an event which brought two Jewish stepchildren into my life — I have anticipated the Festival of Lights with almost as much excitement as my hybrid celebration of the Winter Solstice/Yule and Christmas.