The World Faith Blog

World Faith: The Interfaith Service Network

Being With the Dalai Lama 21 July , 2011

I was honored to be invited to be on a panel with the Dalai Lama this week in Chicago. This is the third time I’ve been invited to be on a panel with him, and by now he recognizes me. His first words when we embraced yesterday were: “Last time your kippah was red, now it’s white — but very nice!” He was referring to the head covering that religious Jews wear on our heads, also known as “yalmekah” or skullcap. He had his usual twinkle in his eye and smile on his face. This great spiritual leader is renowned for his impish qualities, his humility, and his smarts, and all were in full view both Sunday, July 17th, when he addressed some 8,000 people in a huge auditorium in Chicago, and on Monday when we sat together on a panel in a smaller venue of 1,500 seats, every seat filled, and discussed interfaith connections.

Unlike Sunday, when the sound system was imperfect and it was sometimes hard to make out what he was saying, on Monday July 19th, it was impossible to not be astounded by the Dalai Lama’s combination of cleverness and spiritual depth. His themes are well known, and he returned them over and over again: the need for compassion, the importance of recognizing that all religions are pointing to the same realities, the centrality of non-violence in changing the world, and the need to work on one’s own spiritual life simultaneously with any work in changing the world.

 

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How to Use Facebook to Build Friendships Between French Muslims and Jews 19 July , 2011

PARIS (JTA) — At a glance, the Muslim-Jewish picnic at the peace fountain in Yitzhak Rabin Garden, in this city’s Bercy Park, looks like a reunion of old friends.

Middle-aged men and women sit on blankets and laugh together, snacking on carrots and Middle Eastern pastries. A circle of women dances wildly to the tunes of a guitarist and tambourine player.

But many of the 100 or so people there have never met — at least not face to face.

They are part of a groundbreaking group that is trying to build bridges between Muslims and Jews in France by fostering a community on Facebook where members can interact directly online about the issues that divide them, and then meet at occasional social gatherings like the recent picnic in Paris.

 

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WWJD? A Non-Violent Conflict Resolution for Palestine 9 June , 2011

How could a person living under military occupation, experiencing first-hand suffering and humiliation, even think about loving the enemy, let alone urge family, friends and neighbors to do the same? This challenging message came from a young rabbi named Jesus in his “Sermon on the Mount.”

Of course, Jesus could have suggested we make peace with our enemies or negotiate peace agreements or peacefully resolve conflict; those statements would have been as shocking to the suffering Jews of that time. Instead, he entreated them to go further: to “love” them. This was the word he chose — a command to all those who seek to follow him.

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