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Reform rabbis support women at the Wall

Reform rabbis have resolved to protest attacks on religious freedom in 2010 by supporting women who seek to worship equally with men in Jerusalem and Muslims who want to build minarets in Switzerland.

The Central Conference of American Rabbis, representing about 1,800 Reform Jewish clergy in North America, issued a statement Dec. 30 against the treatment of Israeli feminist Nofrat Frankel, who was arrested in November after violating a law against women wearing traditional male prayer shawls and reading the Torah at the Western Wall.

Call, response and task of prophetic action

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This is part two of a five-part essay by Immaculate Heart of Mary Sr. Sandra Schneiders on the meaning of religious life today. In this part Schneiders, professor of New Testament Studies and Christian Spirituality at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, describes Jesus as prophet and writes about the call and task of prophetic action in “Religious Life as Prophetic Lifeform.” These installments run from Jan. 4 through Jan. 8.

Mary Daly, radical feminist theologian, dead at 81

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Mary Daly, radical feminist theologian and a mother of modern feminist theology, died Jan. 3 at the age of 81. She was one of the most influential voices of the radical feminist movement through the later 20th century.

Daly taught courses in theology, feminist ethics and patriarchy at Boston College for 33 years. Her first book, "The Church and the Second Sex," published in 1968, got her fired, briefly, from her teaching position there, but as a result of support from the (then all-male) student body and the general public, she was ultimately granted tenure.

According to a 2000 Cross Currents profile, "Much of her work since that time has consisted in blowing exuberant raspberries at the Vatican, Boston College, and the keepers of the patriarchal flame generally -- who may have expected no better outcome from educating a woman, and must feel betrayed and vindicated by turns."

Mary E. Hunt, co-founder and co-director of the Women's Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER), announced the death Jan. 3 online in "The Feminist Studies in Religion" bulletin:

Religious life as prophetic life form

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This is part one of a five-part essay by Immaculate Heart of Mary Sr. Sandra Schneiders on the meaning of religious life today. In this part Schneiders, professor of New Testament Studies and Christian Spirituality at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, sets the context for “Religious Life as Prophetic Life Form.” These installments run from Jan. 4 through Jan. 8.

With every new day, you struggle for a better tomorrow

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Women: Birthing justice, birthing hope. Part 6 of 12

A 61-year-old Tupi-Guaraní indigenous farmer, Ilda Martins de Souza has been part of the movement for social and economic justice since she was 18. Here she recounts the challenges and satisfactions of her work for a more just Brazil and a more just world.

By Ilda Martins de Souza

Itapeva, Brazil -- My parents lost their plot of rural land in the '60s; the landowner expelled them. After that, we didn’t have anywhere to live. I was young, and I went to São Paulo to try to make money to buy land for my father. I never could, since it was difficult to work and make enough money to buy land.

Schneiders to explore meaning of religious life today

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NCR will publish a five-part essay by Immaculate Heart of Mary Sr. Sandra Schneiders, Professor of New Testament Studies and Christian Spirituality at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, on this site beginning Jan. 4 and running through Jan. 8.

The essay, titled “Religious Life as Prophetic Life Form” explores the meaning of religious life today and comes during a controversial three-year Vatican study of U.S. women religious congregations.

NCR Editor Tom Fox interviewed Schneiders, asking her about the purpose and timing of her five-part essay.

People of the sun

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Women: Birthing justice, birthing hope. Part 5 of 12

Catholic organizer Melody Gonzalez helped win farm worker-led campaigns to force McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Subway and other major fast food chains to guarantee fair wages and rights for those who pick the produce these food giants buy. Whole Foods has come aboard, too. The farm worker-led Coalition of Immokalee Workers is poised to move from sector to sector, corporation to corporation, until the human and labor rights of those who toil in the fields are respected. Only then can we truly have a sustainable food system.

By Melody Gonzalez

IMMOKALEE, Fla. -- Farm work is very dignified work, but people are not getting paid what they deserve or being treated like full human beings.

Water is where everything intersects

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Women: Birthing justice, birthing hope. Part 4 of 12

Around the world, water is being turned into a commodity for sale and for profit. But out of necessity and driven by a different vision, a global counter-trend is growing to assure water as a human right and a precious part of nature. The Bolivian organizer Marcela Olivera is part of this movement, and played a key role in the massive protests in 2000 when residents of the city of Cochabamba forced the Bechtel Corporation to give up control of the municipal water system. This would later be repeated in another city in Bolivia and in other cities around the world. Today Marcela helps coordinate a Latin America-wide coalition of citizen's organizations and women's groups who are winning inventive guarantees that household water be free or cheap, accessible, and safe; and that the earth's water be kept pure and flowing.

By Marcela Olivera

COCHABAMBA, Bolivia -- There have been a series of policies implemented in Bolivia intended to privatize our natural resources. One of these directly impacts people's everyday lives; it's the move to privatize water by giving multinational corporations contracts on municipal and on all sources of water supply. In Bolivia there was a huge public outcry against this in 2000 and 2005, and in the end we were able to reverse the policy. Now that's the official, romanticized version of what happened, but nobody sees what's happened since then.

Veteran Catholic peacemaker reaches out to Muslim women

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Veteran Christian Family Movement national leader, long time peace and justice advocate, Reg Weissert continues on her uncommon journey of example.

I ran into her at the November Call to Action annual gathering in Milwaukee and spoke to her about one of her ongoing projects, a Christian/Muslim women’s dialogue group. She initiated it five years ago.

Weissert, who lives in South Bend, Indiana, decided to form the group after recognizing the number of Muslims were growing in the area. She saw the need to build bonds between these more recent arrivals and some of her own Catholic friends.

Five years later, the women's group continues to meet, drawing together some thirty women each month for about two hours of sharing. About two-thirds are Christian and one-third Muslim, she says.

Weissert told me that nearly all the Christian women are Catholics, but they prefer to keep the group open to all Christians and, thus, call it a Christian/Muslim women's group.

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October 10-23, 2014

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