Michelle Anne Schingler has religion degrees from the University of Georgia and Harvard Divinity School. She currently works in a public library, as a Hebrew school teacher, and as a freelance writer for Book Riot and ForeWord Reviews.
No one wants to see their hometown in the news for unsavory reasons. But I was not shocked when I learned that my hometown, Newnan, Georgia — a small city near Atlanta — would…host a neo-Nazi rally. Instead, I was shocked that so many Newnan folks were shocked. As the white supremacists — mostly from out-of-town — prepared to gather in Newnan last weekend, there were public declarations from the city’s residents and leaders that the hatred exemplified by the neo-Nazis was not welcome. And yet, as the two… >> Read More
I examine the grainy photograph from Charlottesville closely, trying to peer beneath the beard, hoping against hope that the faint resemblance is incidental. Hoping that it’s not the face I know.…The person I once loved. The person I have come to fear. It isn’t. Not this time. It’s scanty comfort, though. These obscure faces at a Virginia rally aren’t so separate from any number of the people I grew up with: proud of their “Southern heritage,” flying flags that they claimed meant freedom, but that… >> Read More
They came for the First Amendment on Shabbat. It was the first Shabbat following a full week of the new administration, and I was exhausted. The new president was proving to be at least as terrible…as a lot of us had feared. I needed the rest. I turned away from the news--just for the evening, just for dinner with friends. I didn't hear about the ban until the next morning, when I found out that citizens of seven Muslim-majority countries were being held at airports across the United States, green… >> Read More
A Sikh, a rabbi, a priest, and a Muslim leader walk into a room.
Sounds like the beginning of a cheesy joke, right? But one such convergence last Shabbat morning was not the occasion for a…punchline. Ours was a coalition of believers who had heard about a protest at Al-Farooq Masjid, a beautiful Atlanta mosque, and who wanted to stand against hostile actions aimed at our neighbors. READ: The Amazing Event That Was My Son’s Gay Jewish Wedding The proposed demonstrations were foreboding. Their arguments seemed to center on a sense… >> Read More
I attended my goddaughters’ baptisms while I was still mid-conversion. Though unable to say the whole of the Our Father prayer during their ceremonies, I stood beside their parents and promised to…help guide them spiritually. I don’t have qualms about doing that, though they’re Lutheran, Episcopalian, and Catholic, and I’m a Reform Jew. This is the epitome of interfaith life: promising to nurture those you love while they travel down paths that you opted not to take. I’m honored that my cousins and best friend have… >> Read More
Two years past my official conversion to Judaism, I am informed, by a stranger who’s taken notice of the religious symbol around my neck, that Baptists here in Hall County, Georgia are good friends…to Israel. Her church took a tour in Jerusalem, and their Jewish guide was so nice. Don’t I just love Bibi? She adores my people and oh, she does hope that we accept our messiah someday. My Magen David, the Jewish star on my necklace, prompts a stranger to ask if anyone in my family died in… >> Read More