Madonna, and entourage (including Marla Trump, Demi Moore, and Donna Karan), are scheduled to arrive in Jerusalem today to celebrate Rosh Hashana and participate in the international congress of the Kabbalah Center. While in Israel, The Jerusalem Post reports, Madonna/Esther will meet with several Israeli politicians and visit Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem — an itinerary stop that will be protested by a women’s group opposed to her presence in “occupied territories.” Also opposed is Israeli peace activist, Angela Godfrey-Goldstein, who wrote an open letter to Madonna on behalf of The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, imploring the singer not to visit and thereby “legitimise the Occupation of Palestine.”
An Orthodox Washington synagogue has caused a small stir, reports The Washington Post’sCaryle Murphy, for declaring itself “Washington’s National Synagogue” — a name, some reform congregation critics claim, which implies that the synagogue is representative of the larger Jewish community.
“The first bumper sticker I saw when I arrived in the United States said ‘Got Jesus?’ So did the second one. And the third.” The BBC’s Richard Allen Greene tours religious America.
Nanette Asimov of The San Francisco Chronicle talks to NPR’s Jennifer Ludden about California’s recent banning of a series of Scientology-based anti-drug lectures. While the program, Narconon, is secular and not officially linked to the church, Asimov says that there are many overlaps between the program and the religious doctrine and that moreover, it taught flawed science.
A Minnesota state employee can continue to post Christian political stickers on his car and in his cubicle, under a settlement agreement reached in his lawsuit.
Turkey’s governing party, A.K.P., abandoned its efforts to criminalize adultery after intense criticism and protest from women’s groups, newspapers, and European Union officials who are considering Turkey’s membership in the E.U. A supporter of the A.K.P. party, many members of which have fundamentalist Muslim leanings, said that perhaps the measure could be presented again, after E.U. membership is settled. Read more.