Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was in Springfield, Ill., Wednesday where she sought to use the symbolism of a historic landmark to draw parallels to a present-day America that is in need of repairing deepening racial and cultural divides.

The Old State Capitol — where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous "A house divided" speech in 1858 warning against the ills of slavery and where Barack Obama launched his presidential bid in 2007 — served as the backdrop for Clinton as she spoke of how "America's long struggle with race is far from finished."

Episode 711: Hooked on Heroin

1 hour ago

When we meet the heroin dealer called Bone, he has just shot up. He has a lot to say anyway. He tells us about his career--it pretty much tracks the evolution of drug use in America these past ten years or so. He tells us about his rough past. And he tells us about how he died a week ago. He overdosed on his own supply and his friend took his body to the emergency room, then left.

New British Prime Minister Theresa May announced six members of her Cabinet Wednesday.

Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

4 hours ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Pages

Ancient Jewish Tradition Meets Contemporary Design

Sep 25, 2013

At Georgetown University this week, an outdoor religious display looks more like a public art installation than a commandment from the Torah, Judaism's holy book.

First, the basics: It's called a sukkah, a temporary dwelling — translated from Hebrew as a "booth" — where observant Jews traditionally eat and sleep during the weeklong harvest holiday of Sukkot.

The holiday, which began the night of Sept. 18, also pays homage to the 40 years during which the Israelites wandered in the desert, living in temporary structures.

Nowadays, the structures are often built in backyards or at synagogues. The ones I grew up with were generic pop-up cubes with tarp walls and decorations of plastic fruit and paper chains hanging from the ceiling. They're not necessarily conducive to deeper spiritual experiences.

So there's reason to be excited about the sukkah at Georgetown. Rabbi Rachel Gartner, the director of the D.C. university's Jewish chaplaincy, commissioned Brooklyn-based architects Henry Grosman and Babak Bryan to build a sukkah with flair.

It's sleek, contemporary and — as a Jewish person who's seen dozens of them in her lifetime, I can say this with confidence — really, really cool.

It's a multiplatform structure void of 90-degree angles, with a spider web of tangled string and angular wood planks for walls. It's also fully collapsible, to store away at the end of the holiday and easily reconstruct next fall.

Sitting in the middle of campus, the re-imagined sukkah is part of an effort to prompt conversation about an age-old tradition, Gartner says. "I wanted it to be modern and not something from back in the day that we've all evolved away from," she says.

Three years ago, Grosman and Bryan won the "people's choice" award in a design competition called Sukkah City. About 550 teams responded to the challenge of creating innovative designs within the rigorous constraints of Jewish law.

For example, a sukkah has to have at least two completed walls and one incomplete wall, built to withstand a heavy wind. The roof has to be made out of organic material detached from the ground — often small branches or bamboo reeds — providing more shade than sun during the day and allowing stars to be seen at night. It can be built on a boat. It cannot be built under a tree.

The rules are supposed to evoke feelings of transience by leaving your stable house for a structure that's exposed to the elements. It's a kind of "ritualized homelessness," says Jason Hutt, whose documentary Sukkah City premiered in New York on Sunday. The holiday is about appreciating nature and understanding the impermanence of life.

Sukkah City's judges chose 12 designs that embodied these ideas to be built in New York City's Union Square Park.

The result was stunning.

One structure featured glass walls and a single giant log on top. Another was shaped like a cocoon, large enough to walk in and made out of woven wood, like a basket. Grosman and Bryan had a spherical design made out of an explosion of marsh grass.

And they were all kosher by traditional standards, says Joshua Foer, the competition's co-creator and author of Moonwalking With Einstein.

"This thing has been built every fall for 3,000 years," Foer says, but "there's no blueprint or building plan. Rather, there is a set of rules that is open to interpretation."

The reinterpreted versions are clearly captivating Jews around the country. Washington University in St. Louis held a Sukkah City of its own in 2011. Grosman and Bryan, before signing up with Georgetown, were commissioned to build another one-of-a-kind sukkah for a Brooklyn synagogue two years ago. This week, the Oregon Jewish Museum in Portland is holding an exhibit subtitled "Ancient Tradition + Contemporary Design."

The new sukkah has been a hit among students at Georgetown, Gartner says. "I wanted it to embody the idea that Judaism is alive and evolving and modern."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.