You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Religion’ category.

consulate-bonhoefferThe Consulate General of Germany in New York hosted an evening of music 10/11 to commemorate the life of German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, killed by the Nazis in the last days of WWII for his role in a plot to assassinate Hitler. The Kleine Choir of Burgdorf, Germany, led by Ilsabe Bartels-Kohl, performed music by Mattias Nagel, with a Dieter Stork libretto based on texts by Bonhoeffer.

“Has the Church merely to gather up those whom the wheel has crushed or has she to prevent the wheel from crushing them?” Bonhoeffer, Ethics (SCM Press, 1955)

“Only in action is freedom.” Bonhoeffer, Ethics

Bonhoeffer also noted in Ethics: “It is the essence of Greek tragedy that a man’s downfall is brought about by the conflict of incompatible laws.” Isn’t that the case today in the US? For Bonhoeffer, the resolution lay in “the unity of God and the reconciliation of the world with God in Jesus Christ; it is not the inescapability of guilt, but the simplicity of life which follows from the reconciliation; it is not fate, but the gospel as the ultimate reality of life; it is not the cruel triumph of the gods over falling man, but it is the election of man to be man as the child of God in the world which is reconciled through grace.”

wines-israel4“…no one pours new wine into old wine skins…but new wine must be put into fresh skins, and both are saved,” Luke 5: 37-38

On the eve of former Israeli president Shimon Peres’s funeral, Temple Emanu-el in NYC held a wine symposium showcasing the leading wines from the Modern State of Israel. The presentation included a talk by Israeli wine ambassador Adam Montefiore and a tasting of some 100 wines. Mr. Peres, an advocate of a the so-called New Middle East, was a strong backer of the Israeli wine industry, and a long time opponent of a two-state solution. (“It was precisely in order to sabotage the option of a territorial compromise with the Palestinians that Mr. Peres lent his support to the settlers movement.” Shlomo Ben-Ami, 2006)

In his remarks, Mr. Montefiore connected wine to the rituals and history of the Jewish people’s biblical past, describing Israeli wine today as coming from a “new world country in an ancient world.”

By clinging to a tradition and Messianism (apart from the true Messiah) Jews of the Modern State of Israel have perpetrated a fraud, undermining themselves and countless others — in effect as old wine skins trying to be new. To be truly ambassadors of the “New” starts with recognizing the Savior who fulfilled and renewed the everlasting Covenant (with wine representing His blood), erecting the Church as the true Israel — People of God. “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another: that as I have loved you, you also love one another.” John 13:34

With 5000 years of winemaking history, numerous microclimates and distinctive terroir, ancient varietals, consultants and monks, the table is being set for serious winemaking going forward from the region. Would that all the neighbors were invited.

We recommend: Margalit Enigma 2011 Shomron (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot), Tura Merlot 2013 Samaria, Clos de Gat Ayalon Valley 2010 Judean Hills.



On September 4, 2016 the Catholic Church will confirm what many have long known — the heroic virtue of Mother Saint Teresa of Calcutta.

One by one, since 1949, I saw young girls arriving. They had been my students. They wanted to give everything to God, and they were in a hurry to do it. They took off their most expensive saris with great satisfaction in order to put on our humble cotton sari. They came fully aware that this was a difficult thing. When a girl who belongs to a very old caste comes to place herself at the service of the outcasts, we are talking about a revolution. The biggest one. the hardest of all: the revolution of love. St. Mother Teresa

Sometime back two young people came to our house and they gave me lots, lots of money. And I said, “Where, where did you get so much money?” And they said, “Two days ago we got married, and before marriage we decided we will buy no wedding clothes, we will have no wedding feast. We will give you the money.” For a Hindu family that’s a big, big, big sacrifice because wedding day is one of the biggest days in their life. And again I offered, “Why, why did you do that?” And they said, “We love each other so much that we wanted to share the joy of loving with the people you serve, and we experience the joy of loving.” St. Mother Teresa, Love: A Fruit Always in Season, (Ignatius, 1987)

Ramadan2016aRamadan2016Muslims in Jackson Heights prepare foods for after-the-fast.

We are reminded that it is easy to find Him, if we are ready for sacrifice and penance — if we have patience, mercy and love for neighbors.

DivineMercy1Today, the Catholic Church celebrated the Feast of Divine Mercy — a Feast intended for the whole world. Christians are reminded, the way to break every darkness is through prayer, love, and trusting the Savior.

“I desire that there be a Feast of Mercy. I want this image, which you will paint with a brush, to be solemnly blessed on the first Sunday after Easter; that Sunday is to be the Feast of Mercy…I desire that the Feast of Mercy be a refuge and shelter for all souls, and especially for poor sinners…souls perish in spite of My bitter Passion, I am giving them the last hope of salvation, that is, recourse to My mercy. If they will not adore My mercy, they will perish for all eternity.” The Lord, Jesus to St. Fuastina Kowalska, 1931

EasterMonday2016Remembering the Easter Monday Irish Rebellion (April 23, 1916).

“On his return, Mr. Asquith approached me with the suggestion that I should take up the task of trying to negotiate a settlement with the Irish revolutionary leaders. My sympathy with their cause was known.” D. LLoyd George, War Memoirs, 1938


ZionismThe German Consulate in New York is presenting an exhibit exploring the “German Roots of Zionism” (through Feb. 26) — this amid reports that the conservative movement’s new siddur (prayer book) removes God as ‘King’. In both cases today’s Jews (secular and religious) are turning away from God — making themselves King (Superman), a far cry from the contrite heart that produced this prayer:

“Heal us, O Lord, and we shall be healed; save us and we shall be saved; for thou art our praise. Vouchsafe a perfect healing to all our wounds; for thou, almighty King, art a faithful and merciful Physician. Blessed art thou, O Lord, who healest the sick of thy people Israel.” The Standard Machsor, 1925

The remnant of Israel (Isaiah 10:22) is not the Modern State of Israel, but rather the Church — People of God — house of the Lord.

“Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.” John 4:21

Photograph: Stephen Wise


BethlehemThe birth of Jesus at Bethlehem is not an event that can be consigned to the past. The whole of human history in fact stands in reference to him; our own time and the future of the world are illuminated by his presence. He is “the Living One” (Rev 1:18), “who is, who was and who is to come” (Rev 1:4). Before him every knee must bend, in the heavens, on earth and under the earth, and every tongue proclaim that he is Lord (Phil 2: 10-11). In the encounter with Christ, every man discovers the majesty of his own life.

Jesus is the genuine newness which surpasses all human expectations and such he remains forever, from age to age. The Incarnation of the Son of God and the salvation which he has accomplished by his death and resurrection are therefore the true criterion for evaluating all that happens in time and every effort to make life more human. Saint John Paul II, The Mystery of Incarnation, 2000

UNPrayerService2015aUNPrayerService2015The traditional Prayer Service, ahead of the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, was held this evening at the Church of the Holy Family in Manhattan. Attendees included Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mogens Lykketoft, President-elect of the Seventieth Session of the General Assembly, and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington.

“Let us join in prayer to give hope to the world.” Ban Ki-Moon

Having been to a number of these prayer services, one senses that Mr. Ban is appealing for greater truth, in and out of the UN, hoping religious leaders will move their communities to a fuller, more faithful, living out of their creeds—which should then lead to greater justice and peace in the world. And yet how often, even in religious circles, materialist ideologies, with their faux liberation, have replaced real theology as the guiding truth — and the refugees pile up.

Photographs: Stephen Wise