Archive for December, 2015

Jon M. Sweeney on “It’s A Wonderful Life” (Encore Presentation)

Who doesn’t love the movie “It’s A Wonderful Life?” Author Jon Sweeney explores the spiritual themes of temptation, resurrection, and salvation that are found in the town of Bedford Falls. We walk through this epic film focusing on certain “turnkey” moments in George Bailey’s life leading up to the second half of the film wherein Jimmy Stewart’s character faces temptation, prays for relief, and experiences a resurrection. Jon Sweeney adds a twist to the familiar story, though, by talking about a little noticed aspect of the final scene involving the character of Sam Wainwright. This is a great primer for those folks who are about to see the film for the first time, and it is allows experienced viewers look at the storyline with fresh eyes. Grab a glass of mulled cider, curl up by the fire, and share this fascinating podcast with a good friend.

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Tara Moore on Christmas Traditions

How has Christmas been celebrated throughout the millennia and in different parts of Europe? Where do traditions such as decorating trees and caroling come from? And what is Krampus? Tara Moore, a part-time instructor in English at Penn State University – York, talks about all of this and more in an exploration of how we celebrate Christmas. Based on her book “Christmas: The Sacred to the Santa,” she provides us with many interesting tidbits that you’ll want to share them with friends and family during Yuletide.

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Darío Fernández-Morera on Andalusian Spain

From approximately 711 A.D. to the end of the 13th century, the majority of Spain was ruled by Muslims, with Christian rule finally unifying the country in the late 15th century . Prof. Darío Fernandez-Morera examines the history of al-Andalus and argues that this historical epoch was not necessarily a time of religious harmony and “convivencia” that many contemporary scholars claim. We examine the political, economic, and social status of Christians and Jews, as well as women, during this time period.

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Elie Estrin on the History and Traditions of Chanukah

With Chanukah season upon us, we invite Rabbi Elie Estrin, director of the University of Washington’s Chabad, to explain the history, meaning, and traditions of the holiday. We cover recent archaeological discoveries in Israel, different ways Chanukah has been celebrated over time, and what it is like celebrating Jewish holidays in a predominately Christian nation. For those not familiar with Chanukah, this is a wonderful introduction and Rabbi Estrin also connects it to the importance of religious liberty in our contemporary world.

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