Rabbi David Ellenson has been inaugurated as the eighth president of the school that trains clergy, educators and others for service in Judaism's Reform movement.
A ceremony for Ellenson was held Sunday at a synagogue in Cincinnati, where the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion is located. The 127-year-old school has three additional campuses, in Jerusalem, Los Angeles and New York.
Ellenson has written and lectured extensively on modern Jewish history, ethics and thinking, tackling subjects ranging from conversion to Judaism and medical ethics.
Provost Norman J. Cohen has been serving as acting president. Cohen took over when Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman resigned two years ago after an accusation of sexual misconduct dating back several years surfaced while he led the school. No details of the claim were released.
Catholic schools superintendent resigns
The head of Cleveland's Roman Catholic schools, who was a leading proponent of the city's landmark school voucher program, has announced she will step down in June.
Sister Carol Anne Smith, 54, played a key role in the fight for vouchers that culminated in June, with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that state money can go to Cleveland children who want to use vouchers to attend religious schools.
"Her leadership was absolutely essential to the Catholic educational story in Cleveland," said Michael Guerra, president of the National Catholic Education Association in Washington, D.C.
The majority of the 51 schools participating in the city's voucher program are Catholic schools.
Smith, who belongs to the Sisters of Humility of Mary, said she is leaving to seek new challenges. A search committee has been formed to find a new superintendent.
"I will be in dialogue and discernment with my congregation before deciding my next service to the church," Smith said.
Use Harry Potter to spread Christian message, churches are told
He's been attacked by evangelical Christians as glamorizing the occult, but young wizard Harry Potter could be a powerful means of spreading the gospel, an ecumenical church group said.
A new booklet published recently by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland cites J.K. Rowling's best-selling books as a good way of illustrating important themes like the battle between good and evil.
The Harry Potter books "ask people to look again at the selfish material world and the presence within it of Christian values -- truth, love and, supremely, self-giving and sacrifice," says the booklet, which accompanies a book on mission titled "Presence and Prophesy."
"Christianity is not 'vanquished' or irrelevant," said the Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali, bishop of Rochester, who chairs the group which produced the booklet.
'"Presence and Prophecy' shows that we can use everything that we learn to help others recognize that Christianity is a living faith."
Pastor campaigns against New Orleans gay festival
A Jefferson Parish pastor is gathering the support of conservative churches and political candidates in his campaign to ban an annual gay festival in New Orleans.
The Rev. Grant E. Storms has circulated a videotape of men having sex publicly at the Southern Decadence Festival, arguing that police and city officials ignore lewdness at the gathering. Storms bought an advertisement in The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune on Oct. 9 and began a radio campaign urging city leaders to ban the event.
Storms' supporters include officials from a number of small evangelical churches in the New Orleans area and several state legislators.
He said his campaign is not anti-gay, but gay leaders disagree.
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