Jewish date: 30 Nisan 5770 (Parashath Thazria‘-Meṣora‘).
Today’s holidays: Ro’sh Ḥodhesh (Judaism), Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter (Roman Catholicism), St. Adolph Hitler (Church of the SubGenius; I have no clue what they are thinking).
Worthy causes of the day: “Please Include the Temple Mount in the Heritage Plan - אנא הוסף את הר הבית לרשימת אתרי המורשת Petition”, “Support Universal Subtitles -- Allow Everyone to Watch Online Videos! - The Petition Site”, and “Tell Sen. Kerry: Don't sell out the Clean Air Act”.
Topic 1: “JewWalking”: This video is a demonstration of the problem addressed in Religious Literacy by Stephen Prothero (a book I have previously described), that a lot of people in the United States are severely ignorant of religion. In this instance, someone stood outside a Jewish Community Center and asked Jewish people around basic questions about Judaism—and many got many questions wrong. This may be humorous, but the humor is a very bitter one. Being ignorant about a topic makes it difficult or impossible to make correct decisions about it. In religion, this may include matters of salvation, damnation, afterlife, and reincarnation—no small matters. Even if one comes to the conclusion that no religion can be correct, being ignorant of religion makes for severe trouble in understanding and dealing with religiously knowledgeable and active people, which includes a very sizable fraction of the planet.
Note: Those wishing to know more about Judaism can always talk to me or ask their local Orthodox rabbi. Clergy of all religions should be open to sharing what they know.
Topic 2: “A Fallible Pope, an Imperfect Church”: Rav Shmuely Boteach reflects on the recent scandals from the Roman Catholic Church and argues that the Church has to come to terms with its imperfection and not try to pretend otherwise. Major rule: Reality is what it is, regardless of how we want it to be. Therefore ignoring one’s faults is a sure way to screw up.
Topic 3: “That’s Random! A Look at Viral Self-Assembly”. This article deals with the often-misunderstood notion of randomness and discusses how it is harnessed biologically, specifically in the assembly of viruses from their basic components. Videos are included showing this actually works.
Topic 4: For today’s religious humor: “Mecca Cat”: