Thursday, November 12, 2009

Spreading the faith, not the flu

AP reported that the number of Colorado swine flu cases has gone down this week, but that hasn't stopped congregations worldwide from tweaking their religious rituals to stop the spread of germs. Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail wrote a great story about some techniques.
One idea came from an Italian inventor, who made an electronic holy water dispenser that squirts a little onto worshippers' hands so they don't have to put their fingers in communal bowls swimming in germs. Then there's the church who passed out communion bread on toothpicks. A Rabbi in Montreal gives visitors an elbow bump instead of a handshake and asks them not to touch or kiss the Torah as it is carried through the temple. Some imams ask worshippers to take extra care when carrying out their ritual hand and face cleaning.

Get weirded out when shaking a ton of hands after mass? (I did too-- I was a blossoming germaphobe as a kid in church.) What do your churches, mosques, temples or meditation areas do to keep germs at bay as you pray?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

On my book list

To add to my overflowing reading list: "My Jesus Year" by Benyamin Cohen. Cohen writes about how his struggle to keep the oomph in his Jewish faith leads him to spend a year exploring the pull of Christianity. According to descriptions I've read, he takes it to the limit by jumping into the mosh pit in a Christian rock concert, seeing himself on the jumbotron at a megachurch and attending a Christian wrestling match. What does the son of an Orthodox rabbi learn from his Christian excursions? Well, you can ask him yourself when he visits Boulder 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7 at the JCC, 3800 Kalmia Ave in Boulder.

Miss his talk but want more one-on-one time with rad Jewish authors? Cohen's talk is just one of the many the JCC will host as part of 2009 Festival of Books and Culture. See the whole schedule here.

My sale-rack bedside table is literally buckling from being piled with books, but I just gotta ask anyway: any suggestions for other books I should be adding to the stack? I'm on a humorous-memoir-about-faith kick, apparently.