Faith Digest

Faith Digest: Ultra-Orthodox protest military draft law

Ultra-Orthodox protest military draft law. Hundreds of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews took to the streets in Jerusalem to protest a bill that would require many of them to serve in the Israeli military. The rally—part protest, part prayer vigil—was organized by the religious and political leadership of the insular haredi ultra-Orthodox community in Israel, which strongly opposes mandatory conscription on the grounds it would tear yeshiva students from their full-time religious studies. All non-haredi Jewish men in Israel are required to serve three years, and women are required to serve two years. Some non-Jews, mostly Druze and Bedouin, serve, while others perform civilian service.

Married man ordained a Maronite Catholic priest. Wissam Akiki became the first married man in the Maronite Catholic Church ordained to the priesthood in the United States with the blessing of the pope. Bishop Elias Zaidan of the Eparchy of Our maronite priest300Manal Akiki greets her husband Wissam George Akiki after his ordination as a priest at St. Raymond Cathedral in St. Louis. (RNS Photo by J.B. Forbes, courtesy of St. Louis Post-Dispatch)Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles, which is based in St. Louis, led the ordination ceremony held at St. Raymond’s Maronite Cathedral. Manal Kassab, who has been married to Akiki for about a decade, and their daughter, Perla, 8, also were present. Akiki had been a deacon at St. Raymond’s since 2009 and worked as the assistant to the bishop. The Maronite Catholic Church, with roots in Lebanon and the Middle East, is part of a larger group of 22 Catholic churches belonging to the Eastern rite. Unlike the Orthodox Catholic Church, Eastern Catholic churches recognize the authority of the pope and are in communion with Rome.

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