Reflections from a Religion Writing Conference, Plus Major Award for Faith Ed

Greetings new and old subscribers,

Faith Ed Wins National Recognition:
This month has been a momentous one for Faith Ed. It placed second in the nonfiction religion book category of the 2016 Religion News Association awards, an honor I was thrilled to receive. The judges wrote of Faith Ed: “This intrepid author wades hip deep into waters often considered too choppy to chart with a look at the controversial topic of what to teach public school children about religion and how. She never backs away from a thorny issue, but works hard to bring diverse, even strident, voices to the table. A fearless look at topic that often inspires fear.

I’m pictured above sitting by the first place winner, Diana Butler Bass, who won for her book, Grounded: Finding God in the World. I’m now inspired to read Diana’s book and check out more of her work. She has already written 11 books about religion and has a fascinating story of her own to tell about finding her voice as an evangelical Christian. You can see the full list of the 2016 Religion News Association award winners at this link. Congrats to all of the winners.

How well does the media cover Muslims?: I attended a session at the national Religion News Association conference about the media’s coverage of Muslims. Are journalists biased, uninformed in their coverage? The panelists raised many valid questions. You can find out more at this Storify recap I did of the session, called Islamophobia in Focus.

Chatting with Montgomery County’s Interfaith Leaders and Teachers: Many thanks to Montgomery County teacher Chris Murray for setting up a talk for me on Sept. 21 before Montgomery County’s interfaith working committee. Chris helped moderate the discussion and the interfaith leaders, who represented a variety of faiths, including Sikhism, Islam, Judaism and Christianity, asked numerous questions. It was great to see such an engaged community working to improve religious literacy not just of children but of adults. Some photos from the talk. The group photo includes a few college friends who attended.

Tips for Teachers As School Year Progresses: TIME magazine recently ran my commentary with tips for teachers on how to teach about the world’s religions in this contentious time in our country. You can find the TIME Ideas article here.

Upcoming Events:

NJ/NYC area: Oct. 15: Moderator, panelist with other authors, in a literary interfaith dialogue, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Montclair, NJ. 7 p.m. Sponsored by the Tiferet Journal and The Writer’s Circle Workshops.

Chicago area: Two talks on Oct. 21.
1) 10 a.m., talk for Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism students & faculty (but open to the public, too); location,McCormick Foundation Center, Room 3-119, Northwestern University campus, Evanston, Ill.
2) 7:30 p.m., Shabbat service speaker, Congregation Or Shalom, 21 Hawthorn Parkway, Vernon Hills, Ill. (Open to public.)

Boston area:
Oct. 30: Speaker and moderator of a panel, including a rabbi, a Muslim chaplain, a pastor and middle school teacher, for the Weston-Wayland Interfaith Council annual program. 3:30 p.m. at the Islamic Center of Boston, Wayland.

Oct. 31: Workshop leader and keynote speaker, Facing History & Ourselves conference for independent school educators, in Belmont, Mass.(Registration required, through Facing History & Ourselves.)

Check my events page on my website for future listings. I’m now working through the Read On Speakers Bureau to set up my events. Find more information here.

Closing note: One of my highlights on my recent D.C. trip was to tour the Newseum and see exhibits on the First Amendment, on journalists who covered wars, and so much more. While I was there, President Obama was just nearby in the Mall giving a talk at the opening of the new African American History Museum. I stood with dozens of people watching him on a large screen at the Newseum. It was one of those ‘almost there’ kind of moments. I hope to see the museum on my next trip to D.C. (Below: Front entrance of the Newseum).

As always, thanks for reading! L’shana tova to those of you who celebrate the Jewish New Year.


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