The World Faith Blog

World Faith: The Interfaith Service Network

A panel discussion: Justice, Tzedek, Sadaqah: Pursuing Social Justice in Multi-faith Communities 14 January , 2013

Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
Jewish Theological Seminary
3080 Broadway (at 122nd St)
New York City

 
This multi-faith panel of “elders” will discuss how multi-faith communities have influenced social justice over the past two decades, what are the current issues being addressed, and what is still to be accomplished. They offer insight as to how young activists can play a pivotal role in accomplishing some of these key objectives and what it will mean for the future of this country and our place in a global society.
Joshua Stanton, moderator, has solicited questions via the Journal of Interreligious Dialogue and State of Formation. Come add your voice to the conversation with these renowned leaders in multi-faith social justice.

 
Panelists:
Rev. Julie Johnson Staples (Interim Minister with Education, Riverside Church, NY; Moderator of the New York-New Jersey Regional Association of the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches),
Rabbi David Saperstein (Director and Counsel, Religious Action Center, Union for Reform Judaism)
Dr. Azizah Y. al-Hibri (Professor Emerita, University of Richmond School of Law; Founder and President of Karamah: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights)

 
Moderator:
Joshua Stanton (Associate Director, Center for Global Judaism at Hebrew College, and Director of Communications: Coexist Foundation; Founding co-Editor, Journal of Inter-Religious Dialogue).
Admission is free with reservations. A photo ID is required. Please plan to arrive 15 minutes early to clear security.
To reserve a seat, please click: http://www.jtsa.edu/socialjustice
Co-sponsors: Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue at the
Jewish Theological Seminary and the Nelson Mandela Center at the
Museum for African Art.

Check this link for more details: JEWISH THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY PANEL

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Hindu Community Makes Its White House Debut 1 August , 2011

Hinduism is hardly new to the United States. Swami Vivekenanda is thought to have first introduced it when he visited as part of the World’s Parliament of Religions at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. He received a standing ovation from the 7,000 people in audience, whom he declared his “Sisters and Brothers of America.”

In spite of Vivekenanda’s reception, subsequent series of lectures, and ultimately the establishment of the Vedantic Society of New York, with satellites in Boston and San Francisco, Hinduism remained a tiny presence in the United States for decades. It was but a demographic trickle. Only after 1965, with the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which eased immigration from India and the rest of Asia to the United States, did the population of Hindus begin to grow. They now comprise a reputed .4 percent of the U.S. Population or, depending on whose arithmetic, 1.2 million people.

And what a population it is! According to the Pew Forum’s U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, nearly half of Hindus living in the United States in 2009 had a post-graduate degree, by far the highest percentage of any community and five times the national average. As a population, they appear to be socially mobile and rising quickly within American society.

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World Faith Board Member Joshua Stanton Featured in the Huff Post: The Religious Must Stand Up for Atheists 25 January , 2011

The interfaith movement is beginning to rack up successes. While outbursts of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia (among other expressions of prejudice against religious communities) are nothing new, the growing and remarkably diverse chorus of voices trying to drown bigots out certainly is.

To take but one recent example, when the Park51 Muslim community center in Lower Manhattan was subjected to undue criticism this past summer, the groups that gathered behind closed doors to support its besmirched but beloved leaders included atheists, Jews, Christians, Muslims and more. It was heartening — as were the rallies led by Religious Freedom USA and New York Neighbors for American Values, which drew thousands to the streets to support the rights of all religious communities to assemble on private property. You could feel the interfaith movement surging forward on its remarkable course.

But I am uncertain, if not outright skeptical, that members of the interfaith movement would equally protect non-religious communities that come under similar scrutiny. To take a personal (and rather confessional) example, when a friend was excluded from an interfaith peace-building initiative because of being non-religious, people told him they were sorry. But nobody refused to continue participating in the group. It just didn’t seem like a reason to protest the decision or leave the group altogether.

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WF Board Member Featured in the HuffPost: Jews and the Need For God: Modern Lessons from Moses Maimonides 3 January , 2011

Judaism is an action-oriented religion. We have, according to the Talmud, 613 Commandments — not just a top-10 list. In rabbinic courts, your actions can be praised or punished. Faith is a means to achieve just ends, prayer as a way of connecting to the Source of Creation so that we can better play our part in its ongoing unfolding.

But what if you can achieve those same just, creative, Jewish ends without faith as a means or a motivation? Do you need God if you observe the 613 Commandments (or reinterpret and reapply them as so many modern Jews do)? Do you need God if you consider prayer an act of introspection — one that changes the way you understand your actions, much as your believing counterparts do? Do you need God if you love the Torah as a national treasure of the Jewish people — but one written and conceived of by our ancestors rather than the Divine?

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Talks Should go Beyond Mideast Crisis: Scholar 21 October , 2010

Inter-religious conferences should go beyond issues linked to the decades-old crisis in the Middle East, says a Jewish scholar attending a meeting being hosted by the Doha International Center for Inter-Faith Dialogue.
Speaking on the sidelines of the 8th Doha Conference on Inter-Faith Dialogue at the Doha Sheraton Hotel yesterday, 24-year-old Joshua Stanton said some of the participants seemed to be wholly overlooking issues identified by panels for discussions at the three-day meeting.
“There is no doubt that the Middle East is an issue for those staying closer to the areas of physical conflict and others closely watching the developments for several years. However, it is doubtful if the linking of discussions here to Jerusalem is of any use to the conference participants,” said Stanton, one of  the youngest participants at this year’s meeting.
The conference has already shortlisted some key topics having a bearing on the next generation, he added.
The Doha conference would go a long way in promoting mutual faith and understanding between people of different cultures and faiths, he said.
“However, some speakers seem to be too Jerusalem-focused and are overlooking issues chosen by the panels like the roles of family, media, educational institutions and places of worship in shaping the fortunes of the next generation,” Stanton said.

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Can Interfaith Dialogue Make a Difference in the Face of Middle East Setbacks? 7 October , 2010

Filed under: Interfaith Issues,Press — Administrator @ 8:09 am
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For many, the end of the moratorium on settlement construction in the West Bank feels devastating. Could it mean the end of the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians? Could it lead to another round of violence?

But for one rabbi, it is just another day of work. He has been making peace longer than most diplomats — and arguably with greater success.

Rabbi Ron Kronish, Executive Director of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI), has been living in Israel for 31 years and carries himself with the assuredness of someone who has experienced a great deal and will find a way, somehow, to overcome new obstacles.



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Announcing Religious Freedom USA 3 August , 2010

We are happy to announce the launch of a new initiative called Religious Freedom USA.  RFUSA is a campaign to protect the heritage of religious freedom in America.  Namely, we are address the mounting concerns around Park51, the proposed Muslim community center in Lower Manhattan.  See the story in the Huffington Post, and please be sure to sign the petition.  We are looking for people to make videos of support, and aiming to get campus groups involved.  Please contact us for more information.