The World Faith Blog

World Faith: The Interfaith Service Network

Muslim, Jewish, Chaldean docs team up in Detroit 20 July , 2011

DETROIT (AP) – Muslim, Jewish and Chaldean health care professionals are teaming up to offer free medical screenings for Detroit residents.

The Interfaith Health Fair runs from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the Muslim Center in Detroit. The goal is to provide screenings for the working poor who don’t qualify for government-provided health care or other discounted programs.

Organizers say patient referrals and urgent treatment will be provided as needed. The clinic also will feature education stations and social workers will be available to help with referrals to direct service agencies.

The fair marks the second health care collaboration of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan and the Jewish Community Relations Council.

Detroit area Muslims also have joined Jews on Christmas for Mitzvah Day, their largest annual day of volunteering.



Passover: a Seder invitation to all 18 April , 2011

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Passover is not simply a Jewish holiday; it is an invitation to be free and a method for achieving freedom.

The holiday of Passover takes it’s name, according to the Hebrew Bible, from the ancient Israelites last night in Egypt. On that night, some 3,200 years ago if the story is historically accurate, God “passed over” the houses of those leaving Egypt, sparing them from the last of the ten plagues: the death of the first born Egyptians. The Hebrew name for Passover is Pesach, from the word meaning to pass over.

Passover celebrates more than a one-time liberation though, inviting each succeeding generation to confront the oppression and slavery of it’s own era. Passover celebrates freedom — past, present and future, both national and personal. And it’s surely not limited to Jews as both the Bible and later rabbinic commentaries portray as much as 20 percent of those participating in the exodus as having been non-Israelites.  READ MORE


At BYU Seder, Mormons Dip, Eat, Sing Their Own ‘Dayenu’

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Inside the student center, the tables were set with all of the Passover staples: bitter herbs, haroset, parsley sprigs and salt water, a Haggadah at each place setting. By 6:15 on a recent Friday evening, the hall had filled up with college and graduate students, alumni, faculty and a smattering of “townies” — more than 160 people in total. It was a scene reminiscent of the Seders that so many Jewish campus centers host at Passover time.

But this was no Hillel-sponsored event, a fact that would become apparent as soon as the invocation was given “in the name of Jesus Christ.” Rather, this Seder was hosted by Brigham Young University, the flagship school of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Seders have become a tradition at BYU, where nearly 99% of its 33,000 students identify as Mormon, and where, according to a university spokeswoman, there are only three Jewish students.

This year, BYU is sponsoring seven springtime Seders. Each of them is capped at 165 people, and all are sold-out affairs with long waiting lists, said Victor Ludlow, a BYU religion professor who has been organizing campus Seders for almost four decades.  READ MORE


Religious Peace between Jews and Muslims

In Palestine, the Wasatia movement envisions a struggle that brings moderate Israelis together with moderate Palestinians in an effort to end the occupation, says Mohammed Daoudi.

Middle East Online

JERUSALEM – In this interview with Talya Ezrahi, editor at Search for Common Ground, Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi, founder of the Wasatia movement and Professor of Political Science at Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, talks about an interfaith event in February that brought together 150 Jews, Muslims and Christians to Auschwitz in Poland, the site of the largest Nazi extermination camp.

Why was it important for you to join other religious leaders in this visit to Auschwitz?

Mohammed Daoudi: The purpose of the event was to disseminate information to Muslims and Christians who live in a world where there is Holocaust denial, or a scarcity of information about the Holocaust. In the Muslim world, for example, the Holocaust is linked to the establishment of Israel – and the Palestinian Nakba, or catastrophe. As a result, there is a scarcity of literature that adequately describes the genocide of the Jews during World War II.

We were invited as Muslim and Christians to witness for ourselves the horror that Jews experienced just for being Jews. I think it would be very important to arrange such visits for Palestinian students as part of their education. The Arab-Israeli conflict has shaped the way we Palestinians perceive and interpret historical events and I would like my students to arrive at a point where they can extricate their understanding of what happened during the Holocaust from the controversial context of the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is a tragic chapter in human history that we cannot keep ignoring.


Jewish, Christian speakers bridge interfaith ‘divides’

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BY ROBERT A. COHN, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus

Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon, general secretary of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, and Rabbi Steve Gutow, president and CEO of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, became close friends when each worked in St. Louis before assuming their present posts. Gutow had been the rabbi for the Reconstructionist Minyan in St. Louis and Kinnamon was the Allen and Dottie Miller Professor of Mission, Peace and Ecumenical Studies at Eden Theological Seminary, where they worked with Christian, Jewish, Muslim and other groups on interfaith projects. That friendship, according to both leaders, has continued to serve them well in their interfaith work at the national level.

Gutow and Kinnamon were the keynote presenters at a program last Wednesday titled “Bridging Divides through Interfaith Initiatives,” which was jointly sponsored by the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University; the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis, the public affairs arm of the Jewish community, and its Michael and Barbara Newmark Institute for Human Relations. About 200 people attended the program in the Anheuser Busch Law School Bryan Cave Moot Courtroom of Washington University.  READ MORE


On This We Can Agree: 3 Rabbis, an Apostle, and a Prime Minister on Tolerance 21 February , 2011

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“Derech Eretz Kadma L’Torah” [Good character comes before Torah] – Orthodox Rabbi Elazar Muskin

“I am here to contend for religious freedom.” – Elder Dallin H. Oaks

“It is therefore our job at this moment to reach out … to show that respect and equality between people of all faiths and none, is a purpose shared. This change can be managed over time and with care, but come it must.” – Former British PM Tony Blair

Tolerance for diverse religious and political views was the theme of presentations made this month by several rabbis, an LDS apostle, and a former prime minister. This is clearly a topic that preoccupies serious thinkers in many faith communities, many of whom are using their prophetic voice to encourage more civility and decency in the public square. While the presentations did not address identical topics, it was heartening to see Jewish, Mormon and Catholic leaders speak out on an issue that transcends theological and political boundaries. READ MORE


Interfaith forum tackles economy and morality

february 21 2011

Progressive people of faith share the concerns of progressives everywhere about the devastating impact of the current economic crisis. At a recent interfaith event hosted by Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest, Illinois, 80 people from Muslim, Jewish and Christian traditions gathered to focus on the ethical and moral dimensions of our economy. An economist and a leader from each of the three Abrahamic faiths served as presenters.

Professor James Halteman, an economist, described how “dog-eat-dog” individualism has taken precedence over the common good, resulting in the powerful few who control and manipulate information for their own benefit, with resultant abuse and fraud. He challenged people of faith to address three questions: How is suffering to be shared in our time? Does the present lay claim on the future? Can public and private interests be brought into balance?




Jewish Chaplain Leaves His Mark at a Catholic University 14 February , 2011

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Rabbi Harold S. White, who’s been described as “a Jesuit at heart,” made history in 1968 when he became the first full-time rabbi hired by a Catholic university in the United States, and since then he has continued to defy convention.

In his four decades as a faculty member and Jewish chaplain at Georgetown University in Washington, White has promoted interfaith dialogue, found links between Judaism and Jesuit values, sought common ground between blacks and Jews and between Jews and Muslims, and, for the last five years, presided over gay and lesbian marriages.

“One of my objectives is to bring people together through the reality that we are all the children of the same higher being,” he says about his life’s work. READ MORE



Muslims and Jews: Serving Together 7 February , 2011

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It sounds like a dream: a Muslim woman wearing a full head covering, laughing and joking with an orthodox rabbi as they paint a mural of Run-DMC for Brooklyn schoolchildren. But on Martin Luther King Day, 2011, that dream was real.

On that day, over 50 Muslims and Jews gathered together in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn to participate in the kickoff event for United in Service: The Jewish Muslim Volunteer Alliance (JMVA). They came came from the Council for the Advancement of Muslim Professionals New York Chapter, Uri L’Tzedek: Orthodox Social Justice, and Yeshivat Chovevei Torah Rabbinical School, or because they heard about the groundbreaking event from family or friends. Together, they painted several large murals inside IS 292 junior high school.” READ MORE


NapervilleSun: Naperville man to be honored for interfaith activities 31 January , 2011

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Metaphorically speaking, Bernie Newman is a bridge builder.

A longtime member of Congregation Beth Shalom in Naperville, Newman, 56, said one of his main focuses is promoting interfaith understanding in the local community. Each year, he hosts about 25 groups from schools, colleges and other religious faiths that come to the synagogue to learn more about Judaism. He also takes Jewish students to other religious institutions including the Islamic Center of Naperville so they can learn more about other faiths as well.

Newman gives lectures at churches and colleges and represents the Jewish community in interfaith panel discussions. He is a member of the Naperville Interfaith Leaders Association which meets monthly to discuss common issues of concern.

The DuPage-Will Hadassah, a chapter of the international women’s Zionist organization, has named Newman its 2011 “Person of Valor,” an annual award given to someone who has contributed time and effort to Hadassah, the Jewish community and the community at large. Newman, who is an associate life member of Hadassah, is one of the first men to receive the honor from the local group. READ MORE