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Israeli leader seeks solution to women’s wall complaint

JERUSALEM — Israel’s prime minister has instructed a quasi-governmental Jewish organization to find a solution for non-Orthodox Jewish female groups wishing to pray at one of Judaism’s holiest sites.

An official said Tuesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Natan Sharansky, chairman of the Jewish Agency, to look into the matter. The official spoke anonymously because of regulations.

Last week Israeli police detained women from a liberal Jewish group who approached the Western Wall in Jerusalem carrying prayer shawls. Orthodox Jews insist those are for men only. The women seek to worship at the site without such restrictions.

Jewish Agency spokesman Benjamin Rutland said Netanyahu told Sharansky that the Western Wall “must remain a source of Jewish unity rather than division.” The wall is a remnant of the biblical Jewish Temple compound.

Homeowners oppose church that uses hallucinogenic tea

SANTA FE, N.M. — A group of Taos-area homeowners is appealing Santa Fe County’s decision to allow construction of a church where members drink a hallucinogenic tea as a sacrament.

The six Arroyo Hondo homeowners object to the county spending about $400,000 to extend a waterline and build a sewage-treatment system there.

The notice of appeal filed in state court Wednesday argues using taxpayer money violates New Mexico’s anti-donation clause and the U.S. Constitution’s separation of church and state.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reports the church known as the UDV has been involved in legal battles for a decade and consistently declined comment.

The church sued after the county rejected its building plan. The county agreed last month to let it build a temple and to put in the water line.

Bible is returned to church from where it was stolen

ST. LOUIS — A 19th-century Bible stolen from a St. Louis church several days before Christmas has turned up at an antiques shop and a suspect has been arrested.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that a man hawked the Bible for $30 Sunday. But after conducting an Internet search Wednesday, the store that bought the nearly 15-pound Bible learned it had been stolen from St. Johns Lutheran Church. Police were called and the Bible returned.

The church has been the target of repeated burglaries. Thieves have stolen property, ruined food for the poor and damaged the building itself.

Police believe the man who’s been arrested may be responsible for six burglaries at the church since September. Now, an anonymous donor is contributing money so the church can buy a security system.

Hasidic man indicted for throwing bleach on rabbi

NEW YORK — A Satmar Hasidic man has been indicted on charges he tossed bleach into the face of a New York rabbi who publicizes claims of child sexual abuse in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes announced Wednesday that Meilech Schnitzler was indicted on two counts of attempted assault, two counts of assault and criminal possession of a weapon. The top charge carries a potential prison sentence of 15 years. A lawyer for Schnitzler did not immediately return a message for comment.

Prosecutors say Schnitzler threw a cup of bleach in the face and eye of Rabbi Nathan Rosenberg on Dec. 11. The government says both men live in Williamsburg and knew each other. Hynes says such “an act of thuggery in broad daylight” cannot be tolerated.

Colorado Springs pastor punched during burglary

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. — Police say a Colorado Springs pastor was punched in the face while trying to stop a Christmas Day robbery at a neighbor’s house.

The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that Jim Stevens, youth pastor at Central Church of the Nazarene, called police and went to investigate after another neighbor saw movement inside the house and an unfamiliar car parked outside.

The residents weren’t home.

As Stevens was outside, a man and a woman walked out with their arms filled with items they had taken. Police say the man rushed at Stevens, threw the stolen goods at him and punched him before running away.

The man escaped but the woman and a second woman who had been waiting outside the house were arrested.


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