Religion News Briefs

Posted: November 11, 2017 at 1:54 a.m.

Reconciliation topic of assembly

Interfaith Arkansas will host its Interfaith Arkansas Annual Assembly at Arkansas Baptist College, 1621 Martin Luther King Drive in Little Rock, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday.

The theme of the event is "Religion and Minorities, with racial reconciliation as the topic. Speaking at the assembly will be Lecia Brooks, the Southern Poverty Law Center's outreach director and director of the Civil Rights Memorial Center in Montgomery, Ala.; and Terrell Jermaine Starr, senior reporter for Foxtrot Alpha, a blog centered on issues related to military, technology and policy; will be speaking at the event, the theme of which is "Religion and Minorities."Racial reconciliation will be the topic of focus at the assembly.

"In recent months, we have witness rhetoric and actions that have divided our culture," Interfaith Arkansas said in a statement Thursday. " ... We call on Arkansans to unify with one another and to embrace the spirit of Arkansas by choosing to stand with your neighbors and to show a spirit of love by embracing them as friends."

-- Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

First Sihk elected as a mayor in N.J.

Councilman Ravi Bhalla on Tuesday became the first Sikh elected mayor in New Jersey, and one of only a few Sikhs to become mayor of an American city.

"I feel exhilarated," said Bhalla, 44, on being elected mayor of Hoboken, N.J. "I didn't have any expectations one way or another of victory or defeat; I was prepared for both. And I feel very grateful to have the opportunity to serve Hoboken."

The mayor-elect, a 17-year resident of the city, had won elections in 2009 and 2013 to the city council and twice served as its president. He was endorsed for mayor by the incumbent, Dawn Zimmer, who did not seek re-election. Bhalla and Zimmer are both Democrats, though Hoboken's mayoral elections are nonpartisan.

Bhalla won with 34 percent of the vote in a six-way race. Of the 14,000 votes cast, he received 4,781, according to the Hudson County Board of Elections. There are no runoffs so a plurality was enough to win.

"Is there something special about his victory? Without a doubt," said Chief Kenneth Ferrante of the Hoboken Police Department. "This is already an exciting city. His victory just gives it more character."

Bhalla, the child of Indian immigrants who was born and raised in New Jersey, said that his victory was because of his stance on the issues: pushing for more open space, holding the line on taxes and working to solve the flooding problem.

-- The New York Times

Muslim funding Jewish texts work

JERUSALEM -- A Russian Muslim billionaire is funding an Israeli project to digitize a major collection of Jewish manuscripts seized by the Soviets a century ago and held by the Russian state library, Israeli officials said Tuesday.

On the 100th anniversary of Russia's October Revolution, Israel's National Library and the Russian State Library announced an agreement to digitize the Gunzburg collection's 2,000 manuscripts.

The project was made possible by an undisclosed donation from Russian oligarch Ziyavudin Magomedov's Peri Foundation, which has financed heritage projects across Russia, particularly in his native Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim republic.

The Russian State Library's Gunzburg collection includes over 2,000 manuscripts and thousands of printed volumes, including biblical texts, Talmuds, rabbinic interpretations, and philosophical treatises by Aristotle, Averroes, Maimonides, Al-Ghazali and others.

Once digitized, the Gunzburg collection's books will be available online at the National Library of Israel's digital manuscript archive, which was launched earlier this year.

-- The Associated Press

Religion on 11/11/2017