Building bridges while breaking bread: Norfolk temple holds interfaith Ramadan meal

Guests listen to speakers during a community interfaith dinner on Wednesday, June 6, 2018 at Ohef Sholom Temple in Norfolk. Media credit: Kristen Zeis, The Virginia-Pilot.

More than 100 people gathered for an iftar dinner – the evening meal in which Muslims break their fasts during Ramadan – at the temple. Partnered with the Rumi Forum, an interfaith and intercultural organization, the shared meal was meant for people of different faiths to learn more about each other.

Mustafa Akpinar, chief executive officer of the Rumi Forum, said they also host similar events to celebrate holidays like Christmas and Yom Kippur.

“It’s a beautiful way of getting to know our brothers and sisters by experiencing and learning from each other,” Akpinar said.

The temple has held many iftar dinners over the years, said Rabbi Rosalin Mandelberg of Ohef Sholom. Despite the difference in religious beliefs, attendants often find they’re more alike than they would believe.

“Peace has to start in relationships between people, and you can only build those relationships by getting to know each other,” said Mandelberg . “It’s too late to wait until a crisis occurs to come together.”

It’s about building bridges while breaking bread, she said.

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Muslims protect ancient Christian manuscripts, and thrilling archaeological nes

Fr Justin

Fr Justin is helping to share online the historic manuscripts in an ancient Sinai monastery

In 625AD, Mohammed signed a charter “in aid of the Christians” with a gold handprint. A copy of this, guaranteeing the monastery’s protection, hangs in the museum.

The Jebelaya tribe, local Bedouins, who have helped protect and run the monastery since it was built, are Muslim.

St Catherine's monastery

The monastery has had to survive centuries of political upheavals in the Middle East

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Interfaith Iftar- A Great Time to Start Interfaith Dialogue

Contrary to the popular belief, the purpose of Interfaith Iftars and any other form of Interfaith dialogue is not to convert each other. Muslims in the United States are increasingly opening their mosques and Islamic centers to people of other faiths during the month of Ramadan to break their fast (Iftar) together at sunset. The underlying theme is to promote Interfaith understanding and harmony, ultimately leading to peace between people of various faiths.

Breaking bread together is an age-old tradition and a great way to bring people together. These Iftar programs are being held with increasing frequency at other places of worship such as Churches and Synagogues.

These programs often jump start interfaith dialogue between Muslims, Jews and Christians- the three faiths typically represented at these events, though there are representations from other faiths such as Hindus, Sikhs, as well as agnostics. One overarching theme, as spelled out in the Qur’an, is to simply get to know each other.

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Speakers remind graduates to find strength in morals at Interfaith Baccalaureate Service

Reuben Brigety, the dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, speaks at the Interfaith Baccalaureate Service Saturday morning. MEDIA CREDIT: JACK FONSECA | HATCHET PHOTOGRAPHER

About 100 faculty, graduates and families gathered for the Undergraduate Interfaith Baccalaureate Service at the Western Presbyterian Church Saturday morning to reflect on how faith has shaped their lives.

The ceremony included group prayer and musical performances from graduates and introductions from Reverend Lauren Cunningham, the pastor of the Western Presbyterian Church, University President Thomas LeBlanc and former Student Association President Peak Sen Chua.

Here’s some advice from the speakers:

1. Remember your truths

Chaplain Meraj Allahrakha, a professor of economics and adviser to the GW Muslim Student Association, said it is despair and hardship that can lead someone away from their faith. He said “temptations come in many flavors” and students must always remember their own truths.

2. Rely on your faith

Elliott School of International Affairs Dean Reuben Brigety, an elder at Western Presbyterian Church, reminded students they have gone through a series of “hurdles” in their lives, and will likely go through many more, but they should return to their faith when making difficult choices.

3. Find your spark

Student speaker Jenna Friedberg, the former president of the Jewish Student Association, who obtained her master’s degree in American Studies Friday, closed her speech with a line from this week’s Torah reading: “As God sees it, the soul of the man is a spark of his own fire.” She told graduates to find their own spark and never stop searching for their potential.

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Interfaith Ramadan celebration calls for togetherness, unity

Bishop Robert McElroy speaks to Imam Taha Hassane during the Islamic Center of San Diego 2018 Interfaith Iftar at the Sufi Mediterranean Cuisine restaurant in San Diego on Thursday. (Hayne Palmour IV / San Diego Union-Tribune)

An iftar is the meal eaten after the sun sets during Ramadan, a holy month for Muslims that represents when the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed. The Islamic Center of San Diego has hosted an interfaith iftar for over a decade,

The interfaith iftar strengthens friendships and promotes unity, Hassane said, emphasizing this year’s theme of “moving forward together.”

He said interfaith iftars are becoming more common across the U.S.

Muslims fast from dawn to dusk during Ramadan. On Thursday, the 16th day of Ramadan, that meant not eating or drinking anything between 4:21 a.m. and 7:51 p.m.

“Fasting is about more than just depriving ourselves from food and water. Fasting is showing restraint and that we have control of our bodies,” Hassane explained to the crowd. “Fasting is all about showing the goodness that we have.”

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Interfaith Ministries Will Distribute Supplies To 4,300 Seniors Because Of Hurricane Season

Around 400 volunteers will participate in Operation IMpact, which will be carried out in Harris and Galveston counties

Photo courtesy of Interfaith Ministries Interfaith Ministries will distribute non-perishable food, water and hurricane kits to more than 4,000 senior citizens that live in Harris and Galveston counties Saturday, June 2, to help them be better prepared for the 2018 hurricane season.

Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston will distribute non-perishable food, water and hurricane kits to more than 4,000 senior citizens that live in Harris and Galveston counties this Saturday, June 2, to help them be better prepared for the 2018 hurricane season, which started on Friday.

Martin Cominsky, president and CEO, said approximately 400 volunteers will participate in Operation IMpact, which will deliver the supplies to 4,300 seniors and disabled citizens who participate in the ‘Meals on Wheels’ program.

This is the third year Interfaith Ministries is carrying out this initiative and Cominsky detailed that some of the foods that will be distributed are canned pasta, crackers, cereal bars and instant dry milk, namely products that can last in good condition for weeks without refrigeration.

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Transcending Event-Interfaith: Brief Address Offered at the 10th Annual InterFaith Run for a United World

ING Night Marathon, Luxembourg
Brief Address Offered at the 10th Annual InterFaith Run for a United World

European Rabbis lead interfaith dialogue in Tunisia

Rabbi Goldschmidt with the Grand Mufti

Rabbi Goldschmidt with the Grand MuftiEli Usman Battykh — Itkin

President Chief Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt led a delegation of senior rabbis to discuss interfaith in the Tunisian island of Djerba, following an invitation from the Tunisia’s President Beji Caid Essebsi and Tourism Minister Salma Elloumi.

The delegation also met with senior government officials, Tunisia’s Mufti Usman Battykh, and other Muslim leaders.

They also visited Jewish sites of interest in both Djerba and Tunisia, including synagogues and cemeteries.

Commenting on the importance of interfaith dialogue, Rabbi Goldschmidt said: “The internet destroys the walls between countries, religions, different layers of society. Much more needs to them be done to establish other channels of communication and bring together religious leaders internationally. We need to establish a dialogue between Muslims and Jews. And our visit to Tunisia is proof that the Muslim community is also prioritizing this.”

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Al Azhar workshop to encourage interfaith dialogue opens Tuesday, May 7, 2018

FILE: Al-Azhar Sheikdom

FILE: Al-Azhar Sheikdom

CAIRO – 7 May 2018: Al Azhar Fatwa Global Center in coordination with Al Azhar Translation Center will organize on Tuesday an expanded workshop for Egyptian university students to encourage interfaith dialogue.

The workshop, to be held under the theme “Youth and Religious Institutions .. Listen before you Talk” will take place at Al Azhar Center for Conferences under the aegis of Al Azhar Grand Imam Ahmed el Tayyeb.

Among officials to attend the opening session are Abbas Shuman, Deputy of Al Azhar and Yousef Amer, Vice President of Al Azhar University and General Supervisor of Al Azhar Fatwa Global Center.

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