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Rabbi accused of spying on women took students to his mikvah

WASHINGTON (RNS) New allegations against a prominent Washington rabbi involve him bringing students from his class at a Maryland university to his synagogue’s ritual bath, the same place where prosecutors say he spied on naked congregants. Prosecutors charged Rabbi Barry Freundel...
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Mormons try to demystify temple ‘garments’

Eds: A version of this story originally appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune in Salt Lake City. It is available for use by RNS subscribers. Please use the Salt Lake Tribune byline. SALT LAKE CITY (RNS) Mormon temple “garments” have been maligned, mocked and misunderstood by outsiders...
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Ohio municipal worker unlikely pawn in US-North Korea chess game

Eds: A version of this story originally appeared in USA Today. It is available for use by RNS subscribers. Please use the USA Today byline. (RNS) Jeffrey Fowle, released by North Korea on Tuesday (Oct. 21), is an unlikely figure to find himself at the center of diplomatic tensions...
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Now you can eat with Pope Francis ... or at least cook his favorite dishes

VATICAN CITY (RNS) They say you can feast like a king, and now you can eat like a pope after a young chef from the Vatican’s Swiss Guards published a cookbook featuring the favorite recipes of Pope Francis and his predecessors. David Geisser, 24, who joined the elite Vatican secur...
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In evangelical nonprofits, women leaders lag behind peers in general market

(RNS) At an organization where 45 percent of U.S. senior leaders are women, Romanita Hairston’s gender is mostly a nonissue as she oversees children’s welfare programs at World Vision, the giant evangelical relief agency. But in the larger evangelical universe, high-ranking women...
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Mark Driscoll speaks for first time after resigning Seattle megachurch

(RNS) Mark Driscoll is back. Sort of. Days after stepping down as head of Seattle’s Mars Hill megachurch, Driscoll spoke briefly Monday (Oct. 20) at the Gateway Conference in suburban Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. Initially, he and conference organizers agreed that he would not give a...
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Archbishop Chaput blasts Vatican debate on family, says ‘confusion is of the devil’

NEW YORK (RNS) Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, a leading culture warrior in the U.S. hierarchy, says he was “very disturbed” by the debate over church teachings on gays and remarried Catholics at this month’s Vatican summit, saying it sent a confusing message and “confusion...
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Israeli rabbis say accused rabbi’s conversions are kosher

JERUSALEM (RNS) A major crisis between American and Israeli rabbis was averted Tuesday (Oct. 21) when Israel’s Chief Rabbinate said it will not question the validity of conversions performed under the auspices of a modern Orthodox rabbi in Washington who was arrested on charges of s...
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Italy’s ‘singing nun’ Sister Cristina covers Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’

ROME (RNS) Italy’s singing nun Sister Cristina Scuccia, who became a global sensation after winning a TV reality show, has chosen Madonna’s controversial classic “Like a Virgin” as the first single from her debut album. Sister Cristina, 26, says her version of the salacious pop so...
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5 ways churches can help stop the Ebola hysteria (COMMENTARY)

(RNS) Once the first person in America died from Ebola, the usual bigots and ideologues blamed it on President Obama, whom they loathe. Some suggested Obama deliberately allowed the virus into the U.S. for nefarious purposes. “He wants us to be just like everybody else, and if Afr...
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