Local Religion News in Brief

Saturday December 29, 2012

Presentation on Rabbis for Human Rights

BENNINGTON -- "A Rabbinic View of Human Rights in Israel," a presentation by Rabbi Arik Ascherman, will be held at Congregation Beth El on Wednesday, Jan 16, at 6:30 p.m.

Ascherman is co-founder, director of special projects and former executive director for Rabbis for Human Rights. Rabbis for Human Rights is the rabbinic voice of conscience in Israel. It was established with the purpose of giving voice to the Zionist ideal and the Jewish religious tradition of human rights.

Since its inception in 1988, Rabbis for Human Rights has championed the cause of the poor in Israel, supported the rights of Israel's minorities and Palestinians, worked to stop the abuse of foreign workers, endeavored to guarantee the upkeep of Israel's public health care system, promoted the equal status of women, helped Ethiopian Jews, battled trafficking in women, and more.

Rabbi Ascherman will address a variety of RHR's recent efforts such as reversing land takeovers, appealing Israeli Supreme Court legislation which perpetuates home demolitions, and raising consciousness about how settlement outposts affect the lives of Palestinians.

Rabbis for Human Rights has no affiliation with any political party or ideology. It is the only Israeli rabbinical organization comprised of Reform, Orthodox, Conservative, Reconstructionist and Renewal rabbis and students. Rabbis for Human Rights' members are Israeli citizens who are rabbis in national leadership positions, as well as educators and congregational rabbis capable of influencing change from the grassroots.

Rabbi Michael Cohen on the path to peace

BENNINGTON -- Rabbi Michael Cohen will present a talk, "Israelis and Palestinians Seeking Peace: A Path to Get Us Closer," at Congregation Beth El on Saturday, Jan. 26, at 7 p.m.

Cohen is director of strategic partnerships of the Arava Institute. He is a part of the Alliance for Middle East Peace and has contributed content to speeches made by President Obama in regards to the Middle East. He is also the Rabbi Emeritus of the Israel Congregation in Manchester Center.

He served as president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association and co-founded the Green Zionist Alliance. Since 1996 he has divided his time between Vermont and Arava Institute for Environmental Stidies Kibbutz Ketura campus. He is the author of "Einstein's Rabbi: A Tale of Science and the Soul" and numerous articles on religion, the Middle East peace process, politics and the environment.

Bring a dessert to share.

Sunday, Dec. 30

Worship in North Bennington

NORTH BENNINGTON -- The North Bennington Congregational Church welcomes all to its 11 a.m. worship service, led by the Rev. Penny Rich Smith on this first Sunday after Christmas. This is an informal worship service held in fellowship hall, with the sharing of poems, stories, reflections and the ringing of bells with the songs. No Sunday School this day.

First Sunday

after Christmas observed

BENNINGTON -- Second Congregational Church welcomes everyone to celebrate the First Sunday after Christmas at the 10 a.m. worship service, full of carols of the season. Following A Time for Children in Us All, children through fifth grade are invited to Godly Play, and nursery care is provided throughout worship.

Refreshments are served in Webster Hall during a time of fellowship following service.

On Wednesday, Jan. 2, at noon the church will gather for its monthly Fellowship Luncheon. Come and join your friends for lunch, conversation and companionship in Webster Hall.

Second Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, welcomes all people of faith or in search of faith, without regard to age, race, sex, economic condition, disability, or sexual orientation. Its building on Hillside Street is wheelchair-accessible, and hearing-assistance devices are available. For more information, call the church office at 442-2559 or visit www.bennscc.org. Annual ‘Messiah' sing-along

ARLINGTON -- The community is invited to join in the ninth annual community-wide "Messiah" sing-along on Sunday, Dec. 30, at 3 p.m. at St. James Episcopal Church in Arlington. This year's event is once again under the direction of Scott Smedinghoff.

Singers of all levels and abilities are invited to participate in the informal sing-along which will include the Advent and Christmas section of Handel's choral masterpiece, as well as the "Hallelujah Chorus." There will be several soloists including Kerry Ryer-Parke, soprano; Katie Beck as alto, the Rev. Scott Neal as tenor and Mark Madison as bass. The chorus/audience will be accompanied by a chamber orchestra comprised of talented local musicians. Bring your voice, enthusiasm and holiday spirit as we usher in the New Year with this popular event. A limited number of copies of the score will be available to singers, and those who have their own copy are encouraged to bring it. St. James Episcopal Church is located on Route 7A in the center of Arlington. For directions or additional information, visit www.stjamesarlingtonvt.org or call 375-9952.


Author at Congregation Beth El

BENNINGTON -- Douglas J. Gladstone, the author of the controversial "A Bitter Cup of Coffee; How MLB & The Players Association Threw 874 Retirees A Curve," will appear at Congregation Beth El on Saturday, Feb. 9, beginning at 6 p.m.

"A Bitter Cup of Coffee" tells the true story about a group of former big-league ballplayers denied pensions as a result of the failure of both the league and the union to retroactively amend the vesting requirement change that granted instant pension eligibility to ballplayers in 1980. Before that year, ballplayers had to have four years service credit to earn an annuity and medical benefits. Since 1980, however, all you have needed is one day of service credit for health insurance and 43 days of service credit for a pension.

Gladstone is an assistant public information specialist for the New York State Retirement System in Albany, N.Y. Congregation Beth El is located at 107 Adams St.



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