UA-130573019-1 2020 January

Archive for January 2020

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the arrival in America of Paramahansa Yogananda – widely considered to be the father of yoga in the West. Yogananda devoted his life to traveling and speaking across America, bringing a message of spirituality and unity between religions.

He introduced millions to the practice of meditation and Kriya Yoga. His influence was vast. His book, Autobiography of a Yogi was deeply influential in the lives of figures from George Harrison to Elvis Presley.

Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Computers arranged for every attendee at his funeral to receive a copy – a book he is said to have read every year.  

To learn more about Paramahansa Yogananda, Beliefs producer Jay Woodward went to the Self Realization Fellowship International Headquarters on top of Mount Washington overlooking downtown Los Angeles.  Our guests were Sister Draupadi, Brother Prafullananda, Brother Bhumananda, and Brahmachari Andy of the Self-Realization Fellowship. 

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Around 9am on January 27th, 1945, the Red Army liberated the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz in south-western Poland.  Over 1 million Jews and tens of thousands of others were killed at this sprawling complex of 48 concentration and extermination camps.  

The Museum of Jewish Heritage - A Living Memorial to the Holocaust has mounted a groundbreaking exhibition  - bringing together more than 700 original objects and 400 photographs from around the world.  

Beliefs Producer Jay Woodward visited the exhibit - “Auschwitz. Not long ago. Not far away” and spoke with Museum president Jack Kliger.  

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India: a nation of 1.3 billion souls in an area a third the size of America.

An ancient civilization with ancient traditions, deities, and beliefs. Often, amid the Western media political stories of Hindu nationalism and anti-Muslim discrimination in India, a background picture of Hinduphobia and anti-Hindu bias lurks. Many Hindu-Americans are caught between narratives, feeling themselves misunderstood or poorly depicted in these stories.

To understand this dynamic, Beliefs producer Jay Woodward talked with Hindu-American scholar, activist and writer Indu Viswanathan. Viswanathan is a doctoral candidate at Teachers College. Her research focuses on the transnational consciousness of second-generation Indian-American teachers.indu-Americans are caught between narratives – both emotionally fraught.

To understand this dynamic from absolute square one, Beliefs producer Jay Woodward talked with second generation Hindu-American scholar-activist and writer, Indu Viswanathan. She is a doctoral candidate at Teachers College. Her research focuses on the transnational consciousness of second-generation Indian-American teachers.

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Observations on religion and faith on an international stage.

Finding the ways that religion has served people through history, but also finding ways that religion makes itself irrelevant. That's what our guest is exploring this week.

Since retiring from a career in international financial consulting based in New York City, Robert Henrey has devoted time to writing and travel in Asia and the Near East, as well as to community involvement. An ordained Catholic deacon, he served over a decade as a hospital chaplain. More recently he has embarked on a series of lectures sharing his experiences and reflections with community groups on a number of his lifelong interests. These include the richly paradoxical histories of the major religious traditions and the impact of different languages on culture.

His most recent book Bloodshot Mountain published in the UK recounts the profound social and economic impact on early colonial Latin America of the discovery in the remote Andes of the world’s richest silver mine. He is currently working on a writing project involving early linguists who set out to explore and find common ground with faraway cultures.


He is a graduate of Oxford University where he studied language, history and literature.

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The practice of circumcision is as ancient as Abraham himself. Established as Covenant between God and Abraham, it is mandatory for Jews, almost universally practiced by Muslims, and adopted as common practice in many other communities, both religious and secular.

In the Jewish tradition, circumcisions are performed by a Mohel. To discuss the ritual and significance of circumcision, Beliefs producer Jay Woodward spoke with Dr. Leslie Solomon. In addition to being an Emergency Room doctor, he is both a rabbi and mohel. This interview was recorded on New Year’s Eve of 2019.

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