• Collection reveals Iraq's lost Jewish community

    WASHINGTON — The tattered Torah scroll fragments, Bibles and other religious texts found in a flooded Baghdad basement 10 years ago testify to a once-thriving Jewish population that’s all but disappeared from Iraq.

  • GRACE NOTES 10/26/2013: Who are the church people?

    Recently, someone passed on a bit of gossip to me. This person said, according to reliable sources, a certain person at a certain local church did something that, while doesn’t technically violate the letter of any of the Ten Commandments, is unseemly for, as this person put it, “church people.”

  • A private faith

    Josh Lederman

    Associated Press

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is not an overtly religious man. He and his family rarely attend church, and he almost never elaborates in public about his own relationship to his Christian faith.

  • GRACE NOTES 10/19/2013: Squatter's lament

    In our editorial conference room at the Chronicle, during reporter staff meetings I sit in the end seat nearest the door.

    It doesn’t have my name on it, but that’s my seat. 

    It’s not necessarily the best seat at the table; it’s just mine. It’s where I sit.

    A few weeks ago, I walked into a reporter’s meeting and someone (Mike Wright) was in my seat. 

  • California temple to be repository for sacred Buddhist relics

    John Rogers

    Associated Press

    ROSEMEAD, Calif. — Although he’d been a practicing Buddhist for 20 years, until 10 months ago Dharma Master YongHua hadn’t even seen so much as one of the sacred relics known as shariras that are so important to his faith.

    So it came as quite a surprise to the modest, soft-spoken monk when he learned he was becoming the caretaker of more than 10,000 of them.

  • GRACE NOTES 10/12/2013: Jerks for Jesus

    A few weeks ago, I spent a Sunday afternoon at an outlet center in Orlando.

    I love outlets and malls, even if I’m not interested in buying things (which is a big if, since I’m always searching for that shiny, cozy, silky, whatevery thing that will once and for all completely satisfy my soul. But that’s a topic for another day.)

  • The quotable pope
  • GRACE NOTES 10/5/2013: The pale moon is always round

    For the past month, I have been working on stories for the Chronicle’s month long emphasis on breast cancer.

    I’m up to my eyebrows in breast cancer research and have talked with a number of women who are either actively in treatment for this disease or are counting the months and years of being a survivor.

  • Faith and cancer

    INVERNESS —  Ann Parry is a small woman with a big faith. Since last year, she has been diagnosed with and treated for gall bladder cancer and breast cancer and has undergone a total of 88 radiation treatments and chemotherapy.

    When the doctor first told her, “It’s cancer,” she didn’t hesitate. She said, “OK, let’s get on with it, because I’ve got things to do.”

  • GRACE NOTES 09/28/2013: The message of the front door

    Several weeks ago, one of the top trending stories on the Internet featured an email from a North Carolina church pastor that was sent to her parishioners.

    Pastor Makeda Pennycooke of Freedom House Church in Charlotte, N.C., told church members that she wanted “white greeters only” at the front door before Sunday services. She said she wanted “the best of the best” out front, hoping to draw more people into the church.