East Valley Tribune

Vote now: Best Of Gilbert 2015

Mesa Gilbert Chandler Tempe Queen Creek Arizona Education

  • Looking for a new way to challenge your mind and body? Focus Climbing Center in Mesa has everything you need to get fit and tease your mind. Get a grip on the gym's 30-foot walls. Owner Joe Czerwinski showed us the ropes.Don't forget to mark your calendar for Focus' 2nd anniversary celebration, May 30th. The all-day open house welcomes climbers of all ages and experience levels. Day passes will be only $5 (gear not included). 

    Get a grip at the Focus Climbing Center

    Looking for a new way to challenge your mind and body? Focus Climbing Center in Mesa has everything you need to get fit and tease your mind. Get a grip on the gym's 30-foot walls. Owner Joe Czerwinski showed us the ropes.Don't forget to mark your calendar for Focus' 2nd anniversary celebration, May 30th. The all-day open house welcomes climbers of all ages and experience levels. Day passes will be only $5 (gear not included). 

  • Mesa coloring contest winners announced

    The winners of the Arizona SciTech Festival High-Visibility Art and Coloring Contest were announced and will have their pieces shown at high-visibility venues across the state and published in print and online through August 2015. The winners: John Drury of Scottsdale in the 18 and over division, Yamilex Nieves and Dawn Cruz Phoenix in the ages 12 to 18 division, Vivian Pfleger of Scottsdale in the ages 6 to 11 division and Madeline O’Neill from Phoenix in the 5 and under class.The pieces will be on display April 6 through May 8 at the Mesa Public Library Red Mountain Branch, 635 N. Power Road.

  • Mesa seeks to fill openings on advisory boards, committees

    The city of Mesa is in need of citizens with experience in a variety of fields. Expertise from the community is needed for a host of positions opening up on the Building Board of Appeals, Housing and Community Development Advisory Board and Museum and Cultural Advisory Board, to name a few.Mesa residents are invited to participate in the process of city of Mesa government by serving on one of the city’s 25 citizen advisory boards and committees.For information about advisory board and committee openings along with meeting information and application forms go to www.mesaaz.gov/city-hall/advisory-boards-committees. If you are interested in serving and have questions about a specific board or committee, contact Ian Linssen at (480) 644-3002 or ian.linssen@mesaaz.gov.

  • Adventure awaits with Arizona Outdoor Women

    Kathy Greene crisscrosses the state, dropping into rivers in a canoe, rappelling down canyon walls and climbing trails to mountain summits. And she wants to take you with her.Greene leads Arizona Outdoor Women, a service that connects women 18 and older with activities in the great outdoors.“It’s the chance to get outdoors and do it in a comfortable atmosphere with knowledgeable instructors,” she said.Trips focus on building skills in everything from fly fishing and camping to archery, off-road driving and shooting. Trips are scheduled throughout the year — even in summer.“I try to plan stuff in the White Mountains, in Flagstaff, those higher elevations to get you out of the hot weather,” said Greene, a Tucson native who has been involved with Becoming An Outdoors Woman, a national program for women, for 18 years.Adventures range from day trips to multi-day excursions and typically number six to 12 women. Instruction, gear, meals and often transportation are included in the fee.

  • Party with storybook peccaries at Southwestern soiree to benefit Childsplay

    A grown-up night out with Arizona’s best-known theater company for youngsters will double as a good time and a good cause on May 2.The 2015 Childsplay Celebrates Gala at Tempe Center for the Arts will bring the stage adaptation of the famous Arizona children’s book “The Three Javelinas” to a live audience of adults, complete with a Southwestern-styled cocktail hour and live musical entertainment.“We call it ‘sophisticated fun,’ because it is a major donor event, but it’s themed around the world premiere of ‘The Three Javelinas.’ The book (by Susan Lowell) is so widely known, and we’ve made it into a musical. The show and the music is just so clever and so adorable,” said Jodie Weiss, the gala’s organizer.In the story, a Sonoran Desert spin on the tale of “The Three Little Pigs,” Josefina Javelina is dreaming of a career on stage when she and her brothers, Juan and José, catch the attention of a hungry coyote. Childsplay worked closely with Lowell on the adaptation, which has been nearly three years in the making.“Childsplay works really hard, much like Disney, to orient our shows for the entire family. We put a lot of stuff in there for mom and dad, as much as for the children, because our weekend shows are for family time, for encouraging families to spend time together, participating in the arts,” said Weiss.The gala performance will be presented concert-style, with a live band accompanying the actors on stage. Lowell will attend and personalize copies of her books.

  • Ariz. teachers join national rally to raise minimum wages

    While across the nation people turned in their taxes on April 15, another nation-wide event took place that could help minimum wage workers make Tax Day a lot easier next year.Teachers and minimum-wage workers flocked to the Arizona State University Tempe campus to rally in a national campaign called “Fight for $15.”“Fight for $15” is a national campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour. The movement began in 2012 after fast food workers went on strike in New York. The “Fight for $15” website boasts victories in two states — one in Seattle and one in San Francisco — that raised their minimum wages.Among the protesters at the Tempe campus were teachers and professors from schools in the Valley, many of which were ASU faculty.Though the movement typically is associated with fast food workers and other workers in low paying positions in large corporations, teachers marched to show that they too are affected by low wages.“The main goal is to bring awareness to this national day of action and the worker rights movement,” said Tomas Robles, executive director of Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), who partnered with Faculty First, an organization supported by Service Employees International Union (SEIU). “What we’ve done for today, is incorporate many different workers from many different industries who are paid — many times — unlivable wages.”

  • Looking for a new way to challenge your mind and body? Focus Climbing Center in Mesa has everything you need to get fit and tease your mind. Get a grip on the gym's 30-foot walls. Owner Joe Czerwinski showed us the ropes.Don't forget to mark your calendar for Focus' 2nd anniversary celebration, May 30th. The all-day open house welcomes climbers of all ages and experience levels. Day passes will be only $5 (gear not included). 

    Get a grip at the Focus Climbing Center

    Looking for a new way to challenge your mind and body? Focus Climbing Center in Mesa has everything you need to get fit and tease your mind. Get a grip on the gym's 30-foot walls. Owner Joe Czerwinski showed us the ropes.Don't forget to mark your calendar for Focus' 2nd anniversary celebration, May 30th. The all-day open house welcomes climbers of all ages and experience levels. Day passes will be only $5 (gear not included). 

  • Photos: Focus Climbing Center

  • Art Supply: Info to go on Valley arts

    Hidden Histories in Latin American ArtDive into the missing stories of Latin America at the Phoenix Art Museum. Between May 9 and Aug. 23 “Hidden Histories in Latin American Art” will explore the complex questions of why certain stories are swept under the rug. Artists confront neglected yet important stories such as the marginalization of indigenous communities, missing civilians, and violence against women. This moving exhibit is not to be missed. Come discover all the “Hidden Histories” before they disappear.DETAILS>> “Hidden Histories in Latin American Art,” May 9-Aug. 23. Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. General museum admission $15. phxart.org.ASU MFA students divinely inspired performanceThirty-one ASU Master’s of Fine Arts students invite you to take a journey of virgilian proportions. “[DE/AS]cending,” loosely inspired Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” is an experimental theatrical performance created by students from various disciplines. Choose a path and follow your guide through the museum where you will witness intimate micro-performances. Created as part of a year-long “The Creation Project,” series, “[DE/AS]cending” precedes the culminating performance of Haydn’s “The Creation,” premiering at Gammage later this month.DETAILS >> “[DE/AS]cending,” April 27 and 28, 7 p.m. ASU Art Museum 51 E. 10th St., Tempe. Tickets: Free on a first come first served basis at the event, or can be reserved ahead of time for $5. Contact the Herberger Institute box office at (480) 965-6447, or visit asuevents.asu.edu/deascending.

  • Party with storybook peccaries at Southwestern soiree to benefit Childsplay

    A grown-up night out with Arizona’s best-known theater company for youngsters will double as a good time and a good cause on May 2.The 2015 Childsplay Celebrates Gala at Tempe Center for the Arts will bring the stage adaptation of the famous Arizona children’s book “The Three Javelinas” to a live audience of adults, complete with a Southwestern-styled cocktail hour and live musical entertainment.“We call it ‘sophisticated fun,’ because it is a major donor event, but it’s themed around the world premiere of ‘The Three Javelinas.’ The book (by Susan Lowell) is so widely known, and we’ve made it into a musical. The show and the music is just so clever and so adorable,” said Jodie Weiss, the gala’s organizer.In the story, a Sonoran Desert spin on the tale of “The Three Little Pigs,” Josefina Javelina is dreaming of a career on stage when she and her brothers, Juan and José, catch the attention of a hungry coyote. Childsplay worked closely with Lowell on the adaptation, which has been nearly three years in the making.“Childsplay works really hard, much like Disney, to orient our shows for the entire family. We put a lot of stuff in there for mom and dad, as much as for the children, because our weekend shows are for family time, for encouraging families to spend time together, participating in the arts,” said Weiss.The gala performance will be presented concert-style, with a live band accompanying the actors on stage. Lowell will attend and personalize copies of her books.

  • Shop vintage, handmade at May Junk in the Trunk

    Junk in the Trunk Vintage Market is coming back to the Valley.The popular shopping experience, featuring 175 hand-picked artists and vendors, will showcase all things chippy, rusty, vintage and handmade May 2 and 3 at WestWorld of Scottsdale. Local musicians will keep shoppers entertained, and food trucks will supply the calories needed to shop ‘til you drop.Early admission is available 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday for $10 per ticket. General admission begins at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday for $5 per ticket. Children 12 and younger get in free. Parking is $5 per vehicle.Bring cash, as not all vendors accept plastic.For information, visit junkinthetrunkvintagemarket.com.

  • Sausage Fest Saturday in Scottsdale

    A celebration of brats, pretzels, beer and sausage themed games, Sausage Fest coincides with National Pretzel Day and will feature Arizona’s longest brat paired with Arizona’s largest pretzel. Other activities include stein holding contests, sausage making demos, beer garden games, brat eating contests, pretzel toss and a cigar station.DETAILS>> Noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 25. Brat Haus, 3622 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale. $8-$10 admission. brathausaz.com.

Tech Data Doctors Deals

  • Comcast is dropping $45 billion Time Warner Cable bid

    NEW YORK (AP) — Comcast is dropping its $45 billion bid for Time Warner Cable after heavy regulatory pushback.A combination of the No. 1 and No. 2 U.S. cable companies would have put nearly 30 percent of TV and about 55 percent of broadband subscribers under one roof, which would give the resulting behemoth unprecedented power over what Americans watch and download.Competitors, consumer groups, and politicians have criticized the deal, saying it would lead to higher prices and less choice."The proposed merger would have posed an unacceptable risk to competition and innovation, including to the ability of online video providers to reach and serve consumers," Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a written statement.One of the concerns consumer advocates and competitors had with the Comcast deal was that it could undermine the streaming video industry that is reshaping TV. Comcast could, for example, require onerous payments from new online-only video providers for connecting to its network. Dish, the satellite TV company behind the new Web video service Sling TV, and Netflix opposed the deal."We always structured this deal in a way that would enable us to walk away," Comcast chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said in an interview on CNBC."We have to live with it, and respect that, and move on," Roberts said of the government's opposition to the deal.Even with Comcast and Time Warner Cable saying Friday that the deal was off, cable companies are likely to keep combining as costs rise for the shows, sports and movies they pipe to subscribers and video customers decrease.Many analysts expect that Charter Communications Inc., which lost out on its bid for Time Warner Cable Inc. to Comcast Corp., to resurrect its effort.A combined Charter and Time Warner Cable would have 15 million video customers and 16.5 million Internet customers. That's still smaller than Comcast alone, which has 22.4 million video subscribers and 22 million Internet customers.And the $48.5 billion combination of DirecTV and AT&T is still expected to go through.

  • Financial Focus: Responding to higher interest rates

    If the Federal Reserve (Fed) raises short-term interest rates this year, as many financial professionals predict, what will it mean to you? As an investor, you might quickly feel the impact of a move by the Fed — especially if you own bonds.In fact, the value of your existing bonds might drop noticeably if interest rates were to rise. That’s because no one will give you full price for your lower-paying bonds when new bonds are being issued at a higher interest rate. So if you want to sell your bonds, you might have to take a loss on them.Of course, if you were always planning to hold your bonds until maturity, you might not be overly concerned with falling prices. Assuming your bond issuers don’t default — and defaults are rare among “investment grade” bonds — you will continue collecting regular interest payments until your bonds mature, at which point they will be redeemed at full face value.However, it’s still useful to be aware of the effects of rising interest rates on bonds of different maturities. Typically, when rates rise, long-term bonds will fall in value more than short-term bonds. So if you only owned long-term bonds, your portfolio could take a bigger hit than if you owned both short- and long-term bonds.You can help protect yourself against the potential negative effects of rising interest rates by incorporating a “fixed-income ladder” in your portfolio. You can build this ladder by purchasing fixed-income securities — such as corporate or municipal bonds — in various maturities. With your ladder in place, a portion of your portfolio matures at regular intervals. Consequently, you can benefit from any increase in interest rates by reinvesting your maturing bonds at the higher rate. And if interest rates should fall, you still have your longer-term bonds working for you.Even if the Fed does raise short-term rates in 2015, it doesn’t necessarily signal the start of a trend. Interest rate movements are notoriously hard to predict — and you probably won’t help yourself by trying to “time” your investment decisions based on where rates may be heading. So as you think about how you’ll invest in bonds in the years ahead, keep this type of “all-weather” strategy in mind. It may be able to help you keep the “guesswork” to a minimum.

  • A small victory for fliers: summer domestic fares fall $2.01

    After years of steadily-rising airfare, travelers this summer can expect a tiny bit of relief — $2.01 in savings to be exact.The average roundtrip domestic ticket this summer, including taxes, now stands at $454, down less than a percent from last summer. Vacationers to Europe will fare better with the average ticket down 3 percent to $1,619, about $50 less than last summer.Not all travelers will get to save.Flights to Hawaii, Florida and New Orleans are cheaper, but travelers heading to New York, Denver and San Francisco can expect to pay more.Even in Europe, it depends on the destination. Overall fares are down but it will cost more this summer to fly to cities like Amsterdam; London; Budapest, Hungary; Lisbon, Portugal; Frankfurt, Germany or Reykjavik, Iceland.Prices are coming down because airlines are now saving billions of dollars thanks to lower fuel prices and because more seats have been crammed into planes, spreading out costs over more passengers. European economic troubles are also keeping some seats empty as business travelers stay home.The generally good news about fares comes in a report released Monday by the Airlines Reporting Corp., which processes ticket transactions for airlines and travel agencies such as Expedia, American Express and Carlson Wagonlit. The study looks at 4.1 million tickets purchased before March 31 this year and last year for travel between Memorial Day and Labor Day.Airfare during the first three months of this year was also lower, down 3.7 percent domestically and 8.9 percent internationally.Even with the moderate relief this summer, prices are still higher than just a few years ago. The average domestic roundtrip ticket is still $13, or 3 percent, higher than it was in 2012. European trips are $60, or 3.9 percent, more expensive.Travelers can thank lower oil prices and more seats on planes for keeping this summer's airfare in check.Airlines at the start of the year paid $2.13 for each gallon of jet fuel, down 30 percent from last year's $3.03, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. With U.S. airlines burning through 42 million gallons of fuel a day, that 90-cent savings adds up quickly: $14.7 billion for the entire year if prices remain at these levels.Travelers are only seeing a sliver of those savings. The rest of the money is being used to upgrade airplanes and airports, pay employee bonuses and reward shareholders as airlines continue to post record profits.European economic woes are also keeping some business travelers home, helping lower fares for vacationers. Fares are down to airports in Spain, Italy and France. However, cities in Germany and England, whose economies are stronger, are still higher this summer compared to last year.Part of the savings is also linked to airlines adding extra seats on certain routes.One of the best bargains to Europe right now is between New York and Milan, Italy. That's because four airlines fly that traditional business route nonstop each day including Dubai-based Emirates Airline. Starting in June, Emirates will fly the world's largest jet, the Airbus A380, carrying 489 people between the two cities. That's 129 more passengers a day than it currently carries, helping to bring down prices.The same situation is true for Hawaii.There are 5 percent more seats between Hawaii and the rest of the country this summer, compared to last. That's helping to lower ticket prices to most airports there by about 10 percent.Scott Mayerowitz can be reached at http://twitter.com/GlobeTrotScott

  • Salvation Army coffee shop important to Tempe area

    It comes as no surprise to hear there are many unique businesses popping up in Tempe, but for one coffee shop on University Drive, money is just a bonus.The mission and the motto for the Salvation Army is “Doing the Most Good,” and the people behind 1865 Coffee are trying to do just that with a little help from the caffeinated drink students survive on.1865 Coffee, the name coming from the year the Salvation Army was founded, opened up two years ago as a way for two Salvation Army pastors, Lieutenants Chris and Latisa Ratliff, to reach out to the younger crowd of students in the area and efficiently use the Salvation Army’s coffee brand, said manager Ruben Cordero.“We’re so close to college, yet we felt we had no impact on the students that walk by our building each day. We regularly have students coming in, wondering how they could get involved, so this is only a small way we can bridge the gap,” Latisa said.Christopher explained that while students are studying or hanging out in the shop, they can learn about what Salvation Army’s mission is and how they can get involved.“We have to make sure we stay focused on our niche,” Christopher said.

  • New home loan program launched in Maricopa County

    A new home loan program, Home Plus, has been launched for Maricopa County renters looking to become homeowners.On behalf of the Arizona Department of Housing, the Arizona Housing Finance Authority is assisting prospective home buyers with a down payment assistance (DPA) grant and 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. The program is aimed toward credit-worthy renters who can afford a mortgage but lack the resources to pay the down payment, Dirk Swift, Arizona Housing Finance Authority homeownership programs administrator, said.“A healthy first-time home buyer market is a precursor to creating strong, stable communities,” Swift said.The Home Plus program has been in existence for a number of years, having previously focused on the 13 rural counties, Swift noted. Last fall, an additional program focusing on mortgages was added which began to incorporate Maricopa County, Swift said.Home Plus is not available in Pima County because they already have a similar program, Swift added.According to the press release, the DPA is a non-repayable grant that may be used for a home’s down payment and closing costs, which is equal to 4 percent of the initial balance of the loan. Prospective home buyers looking to use the program also do not need to be first-time buyers.

  • ‘U-Haul veteran’ opens Friendly Auto Centers in Mesa

    Steve Rozansky, owner of Friendly Auto Centers LLC, faced culture shock when he moved from New York to Mesa.But there was a welcomed member of the family waiting to greet him and his new business in the desert.Rozansky’s automotive shop in New York flourished as a U-Haul neighborhood dealer for 21 years, and he considers himself a seasoned U-Haul veteran. He was eager to renew that partnership once Friendly Auto Centers in Mesa opened in late 2014.Friendly Auto Centers at 5026 E. Main St., Suite 24, is open 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. In addition, they offer after-hours drop-off for U-Haul equipment.Reserve U-Haul trucks, trailers, towing equipment and support rental items at this location by visiting http://www.uhaul.com/Locations/Truck-Rentals-near-Mesa-AZ or calling (480) 924-0171.Friendly Auto Centers provides repairs for any make and model. Rozansky stands behind his work with a guarantee that all repairs include a lifetime warranty.

Pets Food Health TV Travel

  • Wilmot: We all have many questions throughout life

    The little girl who lived across the street was probably about 4 or 5 years old when she wandered over while we were gardening. “What you doin’?” she asked. After we answered her, she quickly retorted with the classic line, “Why?” Any parent will tell you how familiar the “Why?” phase of growing up is. Apparently we learn early in our lives that this is the really big question and that whatever the response is we can continue to ask, and not be satisfied with the answer. Is it a thirst for knowledge or wisdom? Or is it a plea from the heart?Many of us have a strong curiosity quotient. New ideas and new perspectives have a way of capturing our imagination. Personally speaking, I’m still one of those people who’ll read the last chapter of the book when I’m only at chapter 3. Why? Well for those of you who’re incredulous at the thought, believe it or not, for some of us, reading the end of a book doesn’t usually detract from the pleasure of reading the rest of the book in sequence. Books, like the work of other artists and manufacturers, usually have a name, signature or mark somewhere on their completed work. I think that one of God’s signature marks is that eternal question, “Why?”When we finally exhaust all human answers the question remains, and its purpose may well be an invitation to turn to God for some answers in our prayers. It’s usually in prayer that a greater truth is revealed: We realize that in faith we don’t always need to know the answer to the question why? Sometimes God blesses us with insight anyway. But more often the blessing comes in the form of God’s peace, and a deeper sense of trust. Paul expresses this peace in his letter to the Philippians 4:7: “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” As Paul notes, God’s peace guards our hearts and minds. At times when we desperately want the answer to our questions, if we’re willing to lean on the Lord in faith, the answer is God’s peace. Peace that doesn’t just fill us, but actually guards our hearts and our minds: Protecting us, calming us, comforting us, and preparing us to move forward in hope.As Christians, we’re all part of Christ’s body, and we all have an important role to play in achieving God’s purposes. God welcomes our questions, big and small. It’s what we do after we ask the question that reflects faithful living. Realistically, God gives us what we need, not always what we want. The same is true for answers to our questions. It’s all about God’s timing, not ours. So the Spiritual fruit of patience is part of the package, as well putting our trust in the Lord.As we acknowledge our limitations and weaknesses, we humble ourselves, becoming ever more vulnerable and available to God. That process is like opening the door of our hearts and minds to receive the guest of honor. That process positions us to say “Yes” to God’s plan. It shapes our hearts and minds to willingly seek the grace of the great I AM, the One beyond our imagination, who helps us to cut through our overly self-directed way of life. Again Paul shows us the way through his own physical struggle. He asks God three times to take away the so-called thorn in his flesh, but the only answer he gets is, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).God’s grace is enough. That doesn’t mean we stop asking the question, but as theologian, Søren Kierkegaard taught, we begin to experience how much prayer changes us. In the same way, putting our faith and trust in the Lord changes how we see and respond to life’s challenges. In life’s garden, there’s always weeding and pruning to do, but it’s faithfully tapping into Living water and soul food feeding that makes the difference between a blooming and fruitful life, and whole lot of dust.

  • Keeping the Faith: I know it when I see it

    Some concepts are almost impossible to define; words like hope, love, happiness, or faith. And while these are terms we are all familiar with – we use these words every day – we sometimes struggle to say what they really mean. They are simply too intangible and abstract to communicate properly.It is easy to find ourselves in the shoes of Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart. Fifty years ago Justice Stewart famously said of pornography: “I could never succeed in defining it, but I know it when I see it.” Such a characterization applies to much more than obscenity.Take another word as an example: Forgiveness. It is far more than an idea, more than a theoretical concept or a definition inside a dictionary. It is nothing less than a miracle best understood by seeing and experiencing it, not simply talking about it.I first “saw” forgiveness in a woman named Corrie Ten Boom. No, I never met her, but as a child I heard about her at least once a month in my Sunday School class. She and her family were Dutch Christians who hid Jews in their home during the Second World War. Corrie’s memoir, The Hiding Place, records those events.Eventually the Nazis discovered the Ten Boom’s secret and the family was arrested. Corrie and her sister Betsie were sent to Ravensbruck. By the end of the war, only Corrie had survived. Corrie came out of that awful experience saying, “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still” and “God will give us the love to be able to forgive our enemies.”  Those words were put to the test a few years later.After the war Corrie Ten Boom began traveling around Europe speaking to faith groups about her experience. She was in a Munich church sharing her message of forgiveness when she recognized a man in the crowd. He was a balding heavy-set German in a gray overcoat, clutching a brown felt hat in his hands. Corrie knew immediately that this man had been a guard at the Ravensbruck concentration camp.

  • Shapiro: Judaism is an open culture, walk on in

    Holy Week has ended; Passover is through. There was no anti-Semitic violence tied to Holy Week this year, thank God — at least not to my knowledge. But that hasn’t always been true. In centuries and decades past, Jews feared Holy Week. It was a time of pogroms and attacks against our communities as Christians grieved Jesus’ death.Quite the opposite is true now. This month, I’ve had a Christian family ask me how to install a mezuzah (Jewish blessing box) on their home, a new father sought a tallit (Jewish prayer shawl) in which to wrap his son for baptism, and a Christian mom told me that her young son had made a yarmulke (Jewish head covering) for play. A local pastor proclaimed at the East Valley Mayors’ Prayer Breakfast that the Last Supper was a Passover seder — despite the fact that the seder, as we understand it, wasn’t practiced during Jesus’ lifetime. We live in a time – 2015 – and a place – the Southeast Valley of Greater Phoenix – marked by philo-Semitism, a love of Jewish things and people.I once attended the installation of an Episcopalian bishop. The lay leader who greeted me told me that he had asked to be assigned to me, because he “loved all things Jewish.” “Please tell me,” he asked, “what’s happened in Judaism since the death of Christ?” He loved Judaism because Jesus was Jewish. He didn’t love Jews as living, breathing human beings. He didn’t love Judaism as a dynamic culture and belief system that gives life meaning. To him, my nation was significant only as the parent of his.I prefer philo-Semitism to anti-Semitism. But when “love of all things Jewish” erases Judaism, it goes too far.Jewish spiritual “technologies” — ritual items like tallitot, yamulkes and mezuzot, or attending a seder — are effective. They transform mundane experiences into holy ones. They connect us with God, with each other, and with our inner selves. I understand other people wanting to access them. But I hope they will be sensitive in doing so. Our objects, texts, prayers and ceremonies exist within a cultural context and suite of meanings. Those who claim and redefine our culture demean us, even when their intentions are loving. You wouldn’t use an authentic Hopi mask even if it fascinated you. You wouldn’t change the meanings of a Japanese tea ceremony. Please don’t do the same with contemporary Jewish spirituality. It’s cultural piracy.When borrowing from another culture, ask first whether there is any such technology that’s indigenous to your culture or religion. Realize now that Judaism has evolved greatly in the last 2,000 years. The Judaism of today is not the Judaism practiced in Jesus’ time. If you want to put a piece of scripture on your home’s entrance, why not take the time to decide which text is most meaningful to you? Decide for yourself what the case should look like, and where to place it. If you want to wrap your baby in love, use cloth that’s meaningful in your culture.

  • Keeping the Faith: Now that's a different story

    The Hasidic philosopher Martin Buber told the tale of a Jewish grandfather who was a master storyteller. Though limited physically, confined to his wheelchair, this did not constrict his mind or his imagination. One day the old man's grandchildren gathered eagerly around his chair and asked him to tell a story about his life.Happy to oblige, the grandfather began telling a story from his childhood, how his rabbi would leap and dance during his recitation of the Psalms at the synagogue. The more into it the old man got, the more he seemed to incarnate his rabbi, until unexpectedly the grandfather jumped from his wheelchair!In telling the story - and acting it out - it gave new life to the old man, and his grandchildren needed no further explanation. Martin Buber concludes his tale by saying: "Now, that's the way to tell a story!" And, I would add, that's how to live a life, particularly a life of faith.People of faith, and I include myself in this assessment, often fall back on hardened dogma or cascading Scripture references to explain our way of life. This is fine for as far as it goes, but it doesn't go far enough. Frozen facts and biblical sound bites do very little to inspire life or to invite others to explore faith. These do even less to heal a fractured world.But if we become so immersed in the story of a gracious God, so connected to his powerful narrative of redemption, so skilled in incarnating Christ that we are animated and enlivened by it, then others just might be attracted to it. It just might do some good in the world. Faith just might become a story worth telling; a story worth believing; and a story worth living.The Apostle Paul said it like this in 2 Corinthians:"Your very lives are a letter that anyone can read by just looking at you. Christ himself wrote it - not with ink, but with God's living Spirit; not chiseled into stone, but carved into human lives!"

  • 27th Annual Crozier Gala set for April 18

    Chaired by Lisa and Ed Staren. Proceeds from the Crozier Gala will fund a comprehensive program for Catholic school teachers who cannot afford to send their own children to Catholic schoolDETAILS>> Saturday, April 18; Xavier College Preparatory, 4710 N. 5th St., Phoenix, For more information, visit ccfphx.org/crozier.

  • Keeping the Faith: A Hollywood Revival

    When I was a young college student I had the opportunity to go with a friend to a “revival” in the town of Hollywood, Georgia. That’s right, there is such a place: Hollywood, Georgia. “On a clear night you can see all the stars,” the locals say (Go ahead and groan). In reality, Hollywood is more of a county crossroads than a mecca for the rich and famous. It has a diner, a church, and not much else.In the South a “revival” has at least two very different things. First, it is a spiritual awakening, a holy renewal where those who have wandered from the straight and narrow return to the fold. Second, it is a church event, a scheduled series of meetings. So a “revival” can be something deeply spiritual that people pray for, and it is a traditional ceremony placed on the congregational calendar. Whether or not the two different meanings of this word cross paths is always up for debate.This revival was the typical affair. It was a week-long gathering when people of the community crammed their families into the pews to sing rousing gospel songs, to hear the pleadings, exhortations, and condemnations of the best visiting evangelist the church could afford, and for everyone to have an annual time of repentance whether they needed it or not.As I made my way to the front door I passed by a long line of Harley Davidson motorcycles. These were not the Baby Boomer playthings so many graying men and women ride today as a hobby or youthful escape. No, these were hardcore, gang-style cycles.And just inside the church, occupying the back pew, lo and behold, there sat the gang. Leather, studs, rippling arms, ponytails, tattoos: It was the complete Hell’s Angels package, sitting in a Baptist church in Hollywood, Georgia. Being a young, eager revivalist myself, I said to my friend, “Good. Maybe these heathen will get saved tonight.” And I meant it.I sat several pews away from them and found myself piously praying for their salvation because I just knew they were seconds from splitting hell wide open. After the service got started, the pastor called on one of the deacons of the church to come forward and offer a prayer and word of introduction. One of those wicked bikers rose from his seat and started down the aisle.

Facebook

EastValleyTribune.com on Facebook

Twitter

EastValleyTribune.com on Twitter

Google+

EastValleyTribune.com on Google+

RSS

Subscribe to EastValleyTribune.com via RSS

RSS Feeds

Spacer4px
Your Az Jobs
Loading…