Today is May 24, 2018 -
By extending their hands in friendship, The Turkish Cultural Center is “dedicated to promote harmony.” Their vision speaks of diversity rather than difference. They educate the communities around them and lead by example. I am so pleased to consider them one of the newest interfaith friends of our Jewish community.
One of the Center’s outreach programs is to host iftars (the evening meals that break the daily fast of Ramadan) in different venues throughout our area. Last night, for example, Center members prepared food and brought it to the Interfaith Center. They offered a brief program about Ramadan and then all participants ate together.
Next Thursday, June 23, the Jewish Federation, Temple Israel, and The Turkish Cultural Center will co-sponsor an iftar with Temple Israel as the host. As a brand new concept, Temple Israel is graciously opening its kitchen, so that the food can be prepared under rabbinic supervision, and allowing our two faith groups not only to dine together, but actually spend time together in the kitchen cooking. If you would like to attend the program, please sign up by Sunday following the instructions on the flyer, here or below. If you are interested in joining us in the kitchen, please let me know.
Interfaith programming is nothing new to our Jewish Community. Our Catholic-Jewish Dialogue is second to one (literally, the Vatican has called our relationship second best in the country). Earlier this year, Federation leadership stood with eight of our community rabbis at the new Latham Mosque in solidarity to combat Islamophobia. We stood with our Sikh friends in solidarity after the 2012 shooting in Wisconsin. In January we joined with the Schenectady Interfaith Community, joining with Muslim and Christian leaders against violence and hate. We stood Wednesday night with the Council of Churches sponsored Interfaith Memorial at the Hubbard Sanctuary at St. Rose after the tragic events in Orlando. All local faith groups stand with us at our annual Kristallnacht commemoration event, now in its 24th year.
Interfaith programs allow us to meet and learn about each other so that when we are called upon to mourn with each other or stand up for each other, we will.
I hope to see many of you this Thursday.