Lauren Markoe, Religion News Service

Lauren Markoe covered government and features as a daily newspaper reporter for 15 years before joining the Religion News Service staff as a national correspondent in 2011.

Posts By This Author

In ‘Turbulent Times,’ 500 Rabbis Look for Ways to Resist and Cope

Image via RNS/CCAR

Anti-Semitic incidents have been rising in the U.S. in the past few years, and many Jews and others fault the Trump administration for only belatedly calling out anti-Semitism, and for failing to explicitly denounce those who have heralded his election as a victory for white people.

And Jewish and Muslim groups have banded together in unprecedented ways, in recent months, as mosques and Jewish institutions have been targeted.

Bomb Threats to Jewish Community Centers May Explain Decline in Preschool Enrollments

Image via RNS

Enrollment has dropped at more than a quarter of Jewish Community Center preschools since a wave of threats against JCCs began in early January.

“I’m starting with the most difficult news, which is simply that more JCCs indicated something of a decline — but the majority have not,” said David Posner of the Jewish Community Center Association of North America, sharing the results of the umbrella group’s latest member survey.

167 House Members Ask Trump to Retain Ambassador to Combat Anti-Semitism

Image via RNS/Reuters/Jim Bourg

Following a report that President Trump is thinking of scrapping the ambassador position assigned to combat global anti-Semitism, a bipartisan group of 167 U.S. House members sent a letter asking him to appoint one soon.

The letter, released on March 13, asks Trump to “maintain and prioritize” the appointment, in a time of rising anti-Semitism.

Bears Ears National Monument, Sacred to Native Tribes, Faces a Challenge to Its Status

Image via RNS 

Now a tribal coalition, which considers many sites within Bears Ears sacred, fears the Trump administration will take the unprecedented step of stripping a national monument of its designation, and leave their ancestral lands vulnerable.

A Battle with Islamophobia

3 Muslim Americans on Their Lives Today

Photo courtesy of Reuters/Nancy Wiechec/ RNS

This wave of Islamophobia has hit hard. Anti-Muslim sentiment was never absent from America. From the time Muslims first came as slaves in the 1600s, there have been times when anti-Muslim attitudes have bubbled over. This is one of those times.

Senators Propose $20 Million Bill to Protect Jewish Centers

Their bill would allot an additional $20 million to improve security at these centers — whether they are Jewish or affiliated with another faith — through an existing Department of Homeland Security grant program.

The funds are not designated for synagogues, mosques, or churches, though attacks against houses of worship and religiously affiliated cemeteries have spiked in recent months — from the burning of mosques to a bullet shot through an Indiana synagogue.

Trump Attempts to Reach Out to Ethnic and Religious Minorities

Image via RNS/Reuters/Jim Lo Scalzo

President Trump, long-chided for failing to address a surge in hate crimes, began his first address to Congress by invoking Black History Month, and condemning recent threats against Jewish institutions and the shooting of Indian men in Kansas City.

Trump ‘Finally’ Speaks Against Anti-Semitism, but ‘Too Little, Too Late’

Image via RNS/Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

The condemnation came too little, too late, Jewish groups said.

On Feb. 21, President Trump condemned anti-Semitism, as Jewish leaders had been asking him to do for months.

“The President’s sudden acknowledgement is a Band-Aid on the cancer of Anti-Semitism that has infected his own Administration,” said Steven Goldstein, executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, in a statement on Feb. 21 after Trump called anti-Semitism “horrible.”

Scientists Ponder How to Talk to the Faithful About Climate Change

After sessions on gravitational waves, nuclear forensics, and artificial intelligence, one of the world’s largest general science conferences invited attendees to hear from an Episcopal priest.

The Rev. Fletcher Harper preached on climate change, and how to get a vast segment of the world’s population to pay better attention to what scientists know but many others doubt: that the problem is worsening and portends disaster.

“My entreaty for scientists is to be able to speak publicly about why you care,” said Harper, executive director of GreenFaith, an interfaith nonprofit that aims to galvanize religious people to safeguard the environment.

Jewish Groups Dismayed by Trump’s Response to Anti-Semitism Question

Image via RNS/Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

The reporter asked President Trump about the rise of anti-Semitism in America. His answer — or seeming lack of one — angered many prominent Jewish Americans.

“Donald Trump’s inability to simply condemn antisemitism boggles the mind,” said Stosh Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc Jewish Action.

Subscribe