Today is January 21, 2020 -

Interfaith learning

Back in July, I offered congratulations to “our” Bishop on his appointment by the Pope as a consultor to the Pontifical Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. This week, our friend, Rev. Fr. James Kane, the director of the Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, sent me his newsletter that featured my congratulatory remarks as the lead article. I’m so happy to be part of our community’s long history of bridge building between our faiths. 

In that vein, we have an exciting new program coming up this week. 

The Saint John’s Bible is a magnificent illuminated and handwritten seven-volume Bible commissioned by Saint John’s Abbey and University. The original resides at the university with very few reproductions on loan around the world. Our own St. Peter’s Health Partners (SPHP) has two such volumes for this year. 

SPHP hosted a program for community leaders to learn about the amazing 11-year process of creating this splendid work of art. We were then asked to brainstorm how the interfaith community could share in the experience. 

As you know, I am a big fan of interfaith dialogue. Without understanding each other, we tend to focus on our differences and think the worst. A challenge, however, is that too often interfaith dialogue produces wonderful kumbaya moments with no real learning. Therefore, I suggested to the group a program where we compare and contrast the making of the Saint John’s Bible with the creation of our own Torah scrolls. Imam Elmi loved the idea and a program was born. 

Please join me, Father James Kane, Imam Abdulkadr Elmi, and Soferet (Scribe) Rabbi Linda Motzkin this Wednesday evening for “Sacred Texts Through the Eyes of the Abrahamic Religions.” Please click here for registration and other information. 

(Note: While we consider the Saint John’s Bible a beautiful work of art, and part of which is based on a book that we consider Holy, we do not consider the Saint John’s Bible itself to be Holy.)

In other news, the Bahamas have been devastated. IsraAID, Chabad, and B’nai B’rith International are on the ground helping. We can help financially. All of these are worthy charities, or our partner, the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) has also opened a mailbox for contributions. We have not been asked yet to help with anything domestically. I’ll keep you posted.

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