• What is necessary for a nation to face its past and begin to heal and move forward? Nelson Mandela responded to this question by establishing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1995 with the purpose of […]

  • By Rachel Shankman — Guest commentary Special to The Commercial Appeal This year, more than 18 million American kids will be bullied, making it the most common form of violence that young people in the United States experience. Bullying — repeated aggressive behavior with an intent to hurt another person physically, socially or mentally — is…[Read more]

  • The tragic mass shooting at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin, coming just a few days after the tragic mass shooting at the theater in Colorado, continues a deeply disturbing American trend. Since 1976, the U.S. has averaged 20 mass shootings a year – including 30 in 2003. Why is America such a violent place? Why are [...]

  • Tell us about The Teacher Who Changed My Life – and why. I have been blessed with many “teachers” in my life–some in formal classrooms and others in less formal settings so it is a challenge to select just one who changed my life. However. if I have to choose, that honor would go to Ruth [...]

  • Religion has been a major and hot topic among Republican presidential contenders. It also was a major topic in the 2008 campaign. What do YOU want to know about a presidential candidate’s faith? What do you NOT want to know? I would like all candidates running for the esteemed position of President to be a person [...]

  • As a member of the community of faith in the Memphis area, what are you thankful for and why – in 50 words or less? I am most grateful for living in a democracy and for those who insure that we continue to enjoy the freedoms inherent in a democracy. I never take for granted living [...]

  • Sunday marks the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. How has America changed since then? How did 9/11 change faith in America? What impact did 9/11 have on the soul of America? Sept. 11 has impacted many of individually and collectively in a variety of ways. Ten years ago, many of the younger generation were children, [...]

  • Given that the Fourth of July has just past and we are now at the height of summer vacation and prime reading season, what are you reading this summer, and what books would you recommend to our Faith in Memphis readers and why? I have just completed reading In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. It [...]

  • President Obama came to Memphis this week and spoke to the 2011 Class of Booker T. Washington High School about the value of education and dedication. What message do you have for this year’s graduates at BTW and other schools across the community? For a shining moment in Memphis, yesterday, politics were set aside and we [...]

  • How should people of faith respond to Osama bin Laden’s death? I can clearly recall where I was as the devastating news of September 11 unfolded and the anguish it brought to so many families. If the death of Osama bin Laden brings them comfort then I am grateful for the easing of their pain. I [...]

  • How can we live responsibly as devout and faithful adherents of one religion in a world (and community) of many religions? While there are many examples of religious intolerance, I’d like to provide a reminder that a deep respect for religious pluralism has also been woven into the history or our country. This is beautifully illustrated [...]

  • The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University published a very useful guide called Finding Common Ground which can serve as an effective tool in providing important information related to the teaching about religion in public schools. An important distinction must be made, as the guide points out, between “teaching religion” to…[Read more]

  • This week’s question is particularly challenging as the magnitude of this tragedy is continuing to unfold.  We cannot begin to comprehend not only the immediate devastation but the long term effects of this natural disaster in Japan and beyond.  I am reminded of, and find solace in, the words of Rabbi Harold Kushner in his [...]

  • As I struggle with this challenging question, first I am compelled to put a personal face on the issue, a face of a Muslim colleague and friend.  It is too easy to make the discussion abstract but knowing that unfolding events could have real consequences for our neighbors and friends keeps it “real” for me. [...]

  • Education, it is said by many, is today’s major civil rights issue.  Understanding the decisions facing our community in that context necessitates we approach the complex decision through a moral lens.  A question we often grapple with in Facing History workshops and institutes with teachers across MCS, SCS and independent schools is who is in [...]

  • As a religious leader in Memphis, what do you want to say to the community about the subject of race? Race is increasingly being understood as a biological myth but clearly remains a social reality. Race as a concept is actually neutral and has the potential to be a source of pride, division and much in between. [...]

  • What tests my faith in Memphis? What gives me faith in Memphis? My faith is tested when individuals bring absolutes to the challenges facing our community, an air of certainty that does not allow for the possibility of perspective taking. Wrapping oneself in the mantle of absolutes seems to negate the very necessary attribute of [...]