The Mahabharata

Dear readers of World Religion Weekly,

This is an epic, which focuses on the story of the Bharates. It was originally passed down by word of mouth until it was transcribed in the first century C.E.

Thanks for reading,

Audrey Cole

Puranas

The Puranas are post-Vedic, and they are a description of the Hindu religious history of the universe. There are seventeen or eighteen Puranas, which were further divided into the Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva Puranas.

Learn more here.

An Attempt to Observe the Principles of Reform Judaism

Hello readers of World religion weekly,

Today is the very important, last day of my study of Judaism. Today is the day where I am supposed to “practice Judaism for a day.” In hindsight, this was not the most realistic idea. However, I will still attempt to observe the main principles and a few rituals of Judaism which I have noticed through reading the Tanakh, attending a Friday service at a local synagogue, and extensive googling. I would like to clear up that I am attempting this in order to help me better understand the daily lives of people with belief systems different than my own. I am trying to further my knowledge and empathy of the Jewish people. I am not attempting to cheapen anyone’s beliefs and I fully understand that I am not a legitimate practitioner. I will be focusing more on Reform Judaism, as this is the form I have had the most interaction with. Also, it has considerably less mandatory rules than other streams of Judaism.

Firstly, I am attempting to observe kashrut. This just means that I am going to try to eat kosher today. I cannot eat meat from animals which don’t have hooves and eat grass, I cannot eat seafood besides fish with scales and fins, and dairy and meat must always be separated. This last one is generally the most difficult to observe because you are not allowed to eat one then the other, lest you have residue in your mouth (or, depending on the strictness, in your stomach), and you have to use different utensils and containers for each. I felt that using disposable utensils and paper plates would be a bit over the top (and bad for the environment), so I am technically not separating dairy and meat completely. I am eating vegetarian today, so I will not be mixing dairy and meat in my ingested food. I already had one scare when I remembered that someone once told me that collagen (an animal byproduct) was an ingredient in Oreos. However a check on OU Kosher showed that not only were Oreos technically Kosher, but they actually contain no dairy. This is worrisome, but I have not yet violated kashrut!

I am also going to spend a good deal of time reading the Tanakh. I am not nearly as close to finishing it as I would like, with less than a day before moving on to Hinduism. Moreover, I will spend time contemplating the content and looking for discussions online, to better understand its many interpretations.

I will recite the Shema tonight. I did not do so this morning, which is unfortunate, as  its recitation in both morning and evening is seen as biblically mandated by many traditional Jews. I will not be reciting the meal prayers as I have already forgotten twice. I really am deeply thankful for the deliciousness of the apparently kosher oreos.  I am actually doing very poorly on this portion of observing the principals of Reform Judaism.

Thank you for reading,

Audrey Cole

Congregation Kol Shalom Interview with Rabbi Strasko

Dear readers of World Religion Weekly,

Please enjoy the following interview.

This interview covered a variety of questions ranging from “What is the most important part of Judaism?” to “What is the ideal relationship between Jews and non-Jews?” I am not going to transcribe it, mainly because that would be time-consuming, and it would probably not significantly help anyone.

Thank you for reading and listening,

Audrey Cole