Monday, December 26, 2011

Haifa's Holiday of Holidays festival embraces differences

Ecumenical News International News Highlights
22 December 2011

Haifa's Holiday of Holidays festival embraces differences

Haifa, Israel (ENInews)--Both Christmas lights and Hanukkah dreidels
(spinning tops) are appearing as decorations as the northern Israeli port
city of Haifa throws a multi-faith party on December weekends. Now in its
18th year, the Holiday of Holidays -- which also includes the
recently-celebrated Muslim Eid al-Adha -- is meant "to share the
differences and honor them," said Assaf Ron, director of the Beit Hageffen
Jewish-Arab Center which organizes the festival along with the Haifa
municipality. "We want to show Jews, Christians, and Muslims that we can
celebrate our holidays together, we can be together in a big open venue, mix
together, and not feel strange or fearful," Ron said. [371 words,

Today, the Magi would have a tough time finding frankincense

(ENInews)--The world may still have gold and myrrh, but it's quite possible
that frankincense could become a thing of the past, given ecological
pressures on the arid lands where it grows in Ethiopia. The storied resin --
known to millions as one of the three gifts of the Magi, the wise men who
visited Jesus after his birth -- is made from gum produced by the boswellia
papyrifera tree. It is used as incense in religious rituals in many
cultures, as well as an ingredient in perfume and Chinese traditional
medicine, reports USA Today via Religion News Service. Dutch and Ethiopian
researchers studying populations of the scraggly, scrublike trees in
northern Ethiopia found that as many as 7 percent of the trees are dying
each year, and seedlings are not surviving into saplings. [731 words,

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