Sparking Inter-Faith Dialogue – Seeing Commonality

Comment put on Rabbi Brad Hirschfields blog ‘Pope Says No To Inter-Religious Dialogue’

I recently had a chance to read Abraham Joshua Heschel’s treatise called ‘No Religion is an Island’ (published Jan 1966)…and it speaks to this convo.

“”Perhaps it is the will of God that in this aeon there should be diversity in our forms of devotion and commitment to Him. In this aeon diversity of religions is the will of God…It seems that the prophet proclaims that men all over the world, though they confess different conceptions of God, are really worshipping One God, the Father of all men, though they may not be aware of it” (Heschel)

I think religious inter-faith dialogue is not only possible – but something that may very well be the will of God (for this age and time). I do not think we have to put our faith on the back-burner to accept someone of another faith – we just need to start realizing we all want the same thing in this world – guidance from God dedicated to the importance of humanity.

I was very saddened to read Hirschfield’s blog on the massacre in India – now the Pope doesn’t back inter-faith dialogue – these are setbacks but point to the real problem to true dialogue – people holding their beliefs above the value of the human race.

I have no problem with what many of the big world religions across the world believe as their ‘statements of faith’ – there is very little problem with those things. However, they do become problematic when people start to idolize their religion – put their statement of beliefs above human importance.

I have friends from a variety of faith backgrounds (and even non-faiths) and we all understand a very simple thing – what is important in human relations. Respect, treat others how you want to be treated, love people as yourself, etc…the essence of faith is captured in one’s treatment of other people (not in religious statements). I am not saying we all need to be alike – we in some ways – already are…it starts with being human.

Think about those global faiths and what they truly want – divine connection with humanity in some way, shape, or form. Aren’t they all seeking kind of the same thing – the best life for humanity via their religious teachings? The true concern I see in most faiths is for the betterment of the human individual – and this is attested to by each faith’s connection to God…God wants that also.

So, why can’t we start talking about humanity and it’s betterment through our faiths? If we learn to focus on how we treat one another and seeking avenues that better humanity (which I think is most faith’s pivotal role and mission) – we will also learn that we can talk and befriend each other – as friends and equals. We have sooooo much in common but have such closed eyelids.

I think the Pope and these extremist Muslims in the 2 cases serve as a warning to all faiths – no faith is an island anymore – what happens with them will effect all of us now (as global representatives of faith movements). The world got smaller in the last 10 years – thanks to the internet and media. People attacking faith are no longer attacking specific faith systems – but faith in general. The more divisive we remain – the more chance we have of seeing faiths becoming ’empty’ or ‘meaningless’.

Maybe it is God’s will we all speak with one another and that we each start learning one another’s story – to prevent close mindedness in our faiths (or worse violence leading to division) and start showing faith does have a prominent place in the human society.

 

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62 thoughts on “Sparking Inter-Faith Dialogue – Seeing Commonality

  1. This reminds me of a Conversation a friend and I had around Y2K and the paranoia.

    My friend says ” I know whats going to happen”,

    Really I said, what is that?

    “Aliens are going to land”.

    I started laughing, “what does that have to do with anything”.

    He says “its going to unite all of us on planet earth”,

    And why pretell do you think that is going to happen?

    “We will all have a common Enemy”.

  2. ““We will all have a common Enemy”” (John)

    This does rally humanity – but when thought about – its a very low common denominator to swell around (and I would say – anti-gospelic in nature – in that we are not rallying around ‘good news’).

    I think my point is getting at the heart of what is behind faith(s) – our humanity. I think once many faiths can realize they are not ‘islands’ anymore – but in direct dialogue with many other faiths concerning the purpose of their faiths and the betterment of humanity – we can all start working together.

    I am not for people abandoning their religion for unity (mind you) – but that they would be open enough to recognize the commanalities they share.

    I know a few Mormon people – within my own culture – and we have some pretty good talks from time to time. I have good talks with people more traditional in their lifestyle in my culture – why? We can all share the same struggle and hopes. How can I say to them – well ‘My God is better than what you have?’ I tend to think we share God.

    I have been given great direction from within my faith – and I acknowledge this outright. But that does not mean others haven’t as well. I actually tend to think some of my Mormon friends are more moral than I am on some issues – and vice versa. My lone Muslim friend (whom I rarely speak with anymore for some reason) – has made a larger change in his life than I did converting to Christianity. I recognize these things and can celebrate them – with these others. In the end, we are all humans taking on this search for God.

    I guess I have no room for faith that restricts these convo’s – these friendships – this partnership. There is a lot of problems in our regular society as is – last thing we need is faith systems adding to the drama.

  3. “I guess I have no room for faith that restricts these convo’s – these friendships – this partnership. There is a lot of problems in our regular society as is – last thing we need is faith systems adding to the drama.”

    Somebody should’ve mentioned that to Jesus. It would have saved Him a lot of trouble…hanging on the cross and all.

  4. Somebody should’ve mentioned that to Jesus. It would have saved Him a lot of trouble…hanging on the cross and all.(theoldadam)

    What trouble, he got resurrected. Its funny how most religious people seem to forget that he didnt die, he lives forever and ever. Big deal. My wife was watching me write this and she made a good point on the way to bed. “Its like someone stealing your car and you get a better model 3 days later” Whats the problem with that? 😉

  5. “I think religious inter-faith dialogue is not only possible – but something that may very well be the will of God (for this age and time). I do not think we have to put our faith on the back-burner to accept someone of another faith – we just need to start realizing we all want the same thing in this world – guidance from God dedicated to the importance of humanity.” (SocietyVs)

    I can’t agree more. We have spent way too much time trying to convert each other and condemning what the other believes. Open dialogue will go a lot farther to heal humanity. I used to be a rather black and white fundamentalist Christian, and I will say that I think most in that camp come across as intolerant of other faiths because of their belief in an eternal literal hell. I am not so sure as I once was that this exists and am even willing to consider that while Christ says that the only way to the Father is through him, that might not mean that one has to know him by name. It could be that Christ reaches many people in many ways that are unknown to us. Just saying that I am willing to consider it. Not proclaiming that as the truth. I know many Christians will label me a heretic for even entertaining such an idea. Anyway. Well said…

  6. It could be that Christ reaches many people in many ways that are unknown to us.

    No thanks. Although it is really nice that you have found a way to ALLOW me into heaven as well, mighty, mighty nice of you not to relegate me to hell and all, I was already doing just fine on my own. I’m sure your heart is in the right place, but whether a person claims I’m going to hell for not accepting Jesus, or that I’m going to heaven because of Jesus, they’re still claiming their way is the right way and their Jesus is it. No thanks. We Jews have no need for Jesus and in every generation have reiterated our determination to remain true to our own path. Why not just be happy with your path and let your connection to God be just that, your connection rather than insisting that no matter what, your connection will ultimately be mine as well?

  7. Yaelbatsarah. I did not mean to offend you. I am perfectly comfortable letting you have whatever connection you want to have with God. And I don’t condemn you to hell or heaven or anywhere else. And any “allowing” that I am doing is an act of breaking away on my part from a rigid belief system. I have to find a way to move away from that, and if this is a path towards that, then I would think that you should want me to take it. Many Christians are coming out of an era where they very firmly believed that those who do not accept Christ by name, are damned for hell. The view that I have expressed above may be a good way for Christians to get away from that black and white thinking and be more tolerant of other faiths. I am not insisting that I am right and that you are wrong and that my connection will ultimately be yours, at least I am not meaning to imply that.

  8. OK. I’m back. Let’s continue this inter-faith dialogue.

    First off, why would I be impressed that you have moved from the point of saying I am destined to hell to saying ‘It could be that Christ reaches many people in many ways that are unknown to us”? Please explain this to me because from where I’m sitting it’s still all about YOUR beliefs. You didn’t say ‘God reaches many people in ways that are unknown to us’, but instead reiterated your faith that it is your guy who is in charge of the whole deal. How is this some wonderful reaching out in acceptance of the rest of us and not just another shell game. Instead of putting Jesus in my face, aren’t you just trying to slide him in the back door?

    BTW, I’m not bothered by the hell fire types. There is no hell in Torah so why should I care if someone claims I’m going to end up there some day?

  9. the only thing we need to spark is the logs under all these heretics and unbelievers! burn them all i say! Jesus said that in… um…. Mark…. 20….. it’s in the 20s. so REPENT AND BELIEVE!!! esp. you Yael!

  10. Had take one of my boys to basketball practice. Haven’t abandoned the conversation. I don’t care if you are impressed or not. It is not my goal to impress you. I am only trying to give you a glimpse of the journey that I have been on. To go from fearing hell myself if I screwed up to being willing to re-examine whether or not a hell even exists is a big step. To go from thinking that everyone who wasn’t from the Nazarene denomination was probably going to hell to thinking that maybe not many people at all if any or going there is doing a near 180 for where I came from. I have been labeled evil and a heretic for even being willing to re-examine my faith. I am not asking for your pity or for you admiration. And I realize that I have a long way to go yet on this journey. I have no desire to convert you or anybody else. All I want to do is live a life of love and to help others to do the same. And all I am trying to say in the end is that maybe, just maybe, the same God is responsible for all our faiths and reaches us all in our own way. I am not at all trying to make it all about MY faith.

  11. Doug

    Kudos to you for examining your faith and having the courage to take steps towards a new perspective. Yael, if I remember correctly there was a time when you called yourself Christian.

  12. John,
    And your point?

    I like how I get all these assumptions made about me. I’m offended. I’m angry. Give me a break. People CAN disagree without being offended or angry. It seems like we went through all of this before?????

    Let’s just review the conversation here:

    Freestyle: I have to find a way to move away from that, and if this is a path towards that, then I would think that you should want me to take it.

    Yael: First off, why would I be impressed that you have moved from the point of saying I am destined to hell to saying ‘It could be that Christ reaches many people in many ways that are unknown to us”?

    He said he thought I should want him to go in this direction and I asked him why. For that I get this response:

    Freestyle: I don’t care if you are impressed or not. It is not my goal to impress you.

    Well, I guess it’s a good thing! I still have no inkling as to why he thought I should want him to move from him thinking I’m going to hell to him thinking Jesus takes care of us all no matter. What difference does this change make in the world of inter-faith dialgoue? If he’s reached the point where he doesn’t think all Christians of other denominations are going to hell, great, but that’s not inter-faith, that’s inter-church.

    If he meant God, he should have said God, because in inter-faith dialogue Jesus and God are not interchangeable!

    So, I’m still left curious. I think you guys would be dead meat in any study at my shul. If you make a statement you’d better be prepared to be questioned. Why would you say that? What do you mean by? How is that different from? We’re really not much into ‘amen brother’ or “I’m in agreement with…”! The neat thing is we can have a lot of arguing and disagreements but still walk away laughing, perhaps having learned a bit more about whatever it was we were studying and ourselves.

    Anyway, you know you love me just the way I am so don’t even try getting on my back at this late date! If you do, I guarantee the Vikings will lose whenever it is you come to visit me next year! 8)

    Luke,
    Yep, I’m always the trouble maker! You bet. I’ve been known to shake up the complacent, stomp on egos, overturn tables, crack the whip…..oh wait. That’s not my story at all! Never mind……

    Anyway, this is merely a blog conversation. Who cares anyway? Life is good.

  13. “Somebody should’ve mentioned that to Jesus. It would have saved Him a lot of trouble…hanging on the cross and all.” the old adam

    Inter faith dialogue doesn’t take away from christianity so your comment is ignorant and fear based.

    Interfaith dialogue hopes to promote peace, unity (socially,politically) and strengthen communities against real enemies like war, poverty and discrimination.

    But obviously jesus didn’t die to help the world (he said sarcastically) he died just for you and your sin, sins that no one cares about.

  14. Yael

    LMFAO…………..My point was, Doug(Freestyle) is going through some growth(change) and his verbiage still reflects his Fundamentalist Leanings. I have a feeling you could have easily been a “Fundy” back in your Christian days. 😉 I am pretty sure he doesnt mean to offend anyone and their “belief” system. And by the way, leave my VIKINGS out of it or you will be slayed by the GODS of VALHALLA. kiss kiss

  15. John,
    See, I was right. You do love me! You’d be so bored without me around, of that I have no doubt.

    I agree with you that Freestyle didn’t mean to offend anyone and I already said that I wasn’t offended, twice I think? Go back and read my first post to him picturing it as tongue in cheek. I mean, come on, we’re allowed to have a little fun around here aren’t we. My second post was only questions. How was that being offended? I was/am curious about his statement. I’m not that thin skinned. If I were offended I would call in the Jewish mafia to take care of business for me. Hey, you know we control like EVERYTHING in the world. Best be careful there, dude.

    Me a fundy? No way. My family was/is, however. My father told me I was the worst kid and a daughter of the devil. He wasn’t very happy, BTW, when I responded with perhaps that was indeed true. I was ever the misfit in religion until I found my way to Judaism. I went to a Christian college for one term after high school until the dean called me in to his office and suggested that I leave school so that they wouldn’t have to throw me out. Hell, I used to skip going to church even when I was in seminary. I was born to be a Yid, that’s all there is to it, but a fundy, no way! I only went to seminary because I was fascinated with God but I quickly learned, Fundies aren’t fascinated with God, they’re only fascinated with themselves. Boring.

    Don’t even think of calling the Viking gods down on me (is that your idea of inter-faith dialogue?) My younger son loves Norse mythology! He has an inside track in Valhalla which makes me totally, totally immune to your curses. 😛

  16. are any of y’all on facebook?

    two reasons… 1. we can start our own group of something like “Blogger Buddies” or some such and

    2, There’s a group called COEXIST (the very one Bono touts) and there’s a great many resources on there…

    oh.. and i have some unidactyl’s coming up with more COEXIST stuff on them.. if only i can find the time to scan them in! eeek!

  17. “Somebody should’ve mentioned that to Jesus. It would have saved Him a lot of trouble…hanging on the cross and all.” (Steve)

    I don’t think Jesus would be against inter-faith dialogue – do you?

    “And all I am trying to say in the end is that maybe, just maybe, the same God is responsible for all our faiths and reaches us all in our own way. I am not at all trying to make it all about MY faith.” (Doug)

    I think this is the premise if Heschel’s treatise from 1966 – that maybe this is the will of God – that He be known amongst all the the planet. It’s the ‘how God is known’ part that seems to throw most religions for the loop. I think this is the real ‘stumbling block’ for people entering inter-religious dialogues…personally – I gain a lot from them.

    “If he meant God, he should have said God, because in inter-faith dialogue Jesus and God are not interchangeable!” (Yael)

    This is where I won’t have any problems with you Yael – I don’t see Jesus as God. But outside the Christian realm, amongst the big 3 montheistic faiths in the world, only Christianity see’s Jesus with a some deity form (even Islam denies this tenet).

    “Interfaith dialogue hopes to promote peace, unity (socially,politically) and strengthen communities against real enemies like war, poverty and discrimination. But obviously jesus didn’t die to help the world (he said sarcastically) he died just for you and your sin, sins that no one cares about.” (Wolf amongst Sheep)

    It’s the real Christian conundrum this idea of inter-faith dialogue – almost as if we are betraying some tenet of our faith to do such things…yet I see no teaching against ‘inter-faith’ dialogue. Most dialogues I have had with people of other faiths have always been quite gracious – and I find I learn a lot. I also tend to think the Christian teachings do lend themselves to inter-faith dialogue (blessed are the peacemakers idea). My faith gives me no reason to ‘hate’ another person’s faith (although I am aware the gospels can be read this way concerning Judaism and other faith systems).

  18. Don’t have time to comment much again yet. I am working nights for the next two so will be back later on to leave some more thoughts. I like the discussion. Sorry if I came off with a bad attitude. I do feel a bit worn thin these last couple days as I finish up 2 weeks of call that including working through the Thanksgiving holiday. I might not be approaching life with the uttermost gentleness right now because I am tired. Talk to you later tonight.

  19. “Sorry if I came off with a bad attitude. I do feel a bit worn thin these last couple days as I finish up 2 weeks of call that including working through the Thanksgiving holiday.” (Doug)

    One might say ‘you are human’? I know how it feels Doug – I have been a little grouchy with my wife lately for no good reason (letting life wear on me and being impatient) – life kind of gets to us all. Feel free to comment away whenever you have time – and I will continue the talks with your crew at your site (which I also enjoy).

  20. OK. I’m back to try and offer a more kind picture of myself. Just as Yael has said, I love to argue and discuss and challenge and leave the table laughing. I fear that I have been a bit too biting, or at least come have come across that way. Let me try and mend some fences.

    Yael has given me a glimpse into something that I never have thought about. That is the idea that even when I say that Christ may reach out to all of us in very different ways, even while I see that as an extremely liberal and open-minded and even heretical opinion coming from where I have come, it is still a statement about my faith. It is not validating to Yael’s as a Jew. It still basically says that I think mine is right and Yael’s is wrong and she is just lucky that nothing bad is going to happen to her. I never have seen that side of it. It would be much better for me to say “God” instead of “Christ.” I see that, and in reality, I do think that this is what I mean, but my Fundy language is still slipping in as TFT has so graciously pointed out. Let me try to explain myself a bit more completely.

    As I have moved away from extreme fundamentalism, there has been one thought that has returned to me many times. If God is a god of love and grace, how could he allow someone to go to hell? Am I supposed to really believe, as I was taught, that American Indians for example, who were alive well before Christ ever appeared on this earth and had no opportunity to know him by name even after he was here ( I guess Mormonism has come up with a solution for that problem however ), are in a hell because of that unfortunate problem of being born into the wrong race, the wrong body, at the wrong time in history. That just seems ridiculous to me. If God is like that, he is not loving and grace offering in my book. So I began to wonder if God is reaching out to all of us through our various religious beliefs. The Great Spirit. YHWH. Jesus. Mohammed. Why am I limiting him to only Christianity? And why do I even believe in hell in the first place?

    My Fundy friends would say that Jesus said that the only way to the Father is through him. And he did in fact say that. But that can be interpreted in a number of ways. Of course it can be a black and white, you have to know and accept Jesus by name which along with the Great Commision is where Fundy’s get the idea that they have to force feed Jesus to everyone, tell them that their current belief system is a lie, and get them to accept Jesus into their hearts during a revival-style altar call. But I am looking at this statement a bit differently now. And this is where my original statement about Christ reaching others in various ways comes into play. It is certainly possible that Jesus could still be the only way to the Father and people be on that path and not know it. I believe that the work on the cross was not a legal transaction of punishment for sin. It was God redeeming all of creation to himself to restore it to wholeness again. With that belief, I can see that all people will know him in the way he desires to be known eventually. I can’t very well be a Christian and not believe that Jesus is the only way. But this interpretation of Jesus’ own statements about himself allows me to not judge other religions as wrong, but allows me to accept them wholeheartedly. And I realize that this is still all about my faith and not Yael’s. I’m not really very sure how to get around that other than to say that I do not condemn Yael’s faith at all. In fact, I love the fact that she has found what she feels like completes her, and I support her in that.

    In the end, I hope I have pointed out that I do not intend to make it all about my faith. I think Yael’s faith is every bit as important and precious and valuable as mine. I hope also that I have redeemed myself to the conversation a bit. Sorry for the length. As for the Facebook issue from Luke…I used to be on Facebook but got tired of all the movie likeness quizes and pokes and all that stuff which took a ton of time to keep with and didn’t really excite me all that much. That being said, if you are suggesting that it would be a better place to carry on such discussion, and if you are including me (I would be honored by the way because I am certain that Yael could nail me to the wall at her shul), I would be willing to sign back up.

  21. Freestyle,
    First off, I’m not sure about that joke of a Jew nailing someone to a surface… but, no I won’t nail you to the wall of my shul. I am learning to mellow out more as time goes on. These days I have put away the nails and only use the hammer. o:)

    I consider it to have been worthwhile to tangle a bit since it is clear you understood exactly the point I was trying to make.

    On the surface inter-faith dialogue sounds really wonderful, but is it truly possible? I don’t think many people would disagree that it can be fun to chat with a diverse group of people about non-religious topics and even do some surface God talk, but can the conversation go much deeper than that without each party losing something of great value to them? I’m not sure.

    We can come together to work on social justice causes, but would limiting our joint efforts to this arena be forcing Jewish priorities on other religions? It’s not that others don’t care, it’s just that we’re the ones who put the greatest emphasis on social justice since our view is that life is to be lived now rather than waiting for things to be made right by God or in a future world. For us, social justice is a HUGE concern. If inter-faith is all about social justice, isn’t inter-faith then being slanted in our direction? Would Christians feel their concerns for evangelism and saving souls were being ignored? And if Christian concerns are allowed to be included in the mix, how could I as a Jew be involved? This is just two religions. What happens if we start mixing in more?

    Here on this blog we do have a sort of inter-faith dialogue but I freely admit, I’m here because of Jason. He invited me here and has always made me feel welcome. I like the guy. I’ve always studied Judaism, but meeting Jason inspired me to dig in even more. He has always treated me with trust and respect and I have tried not to betray either; I have learned much from him as a result. Is this truly inter-faith? I don’t know. Usually I feel like I’m chatting with a kinsman here; we have many commonalities that is for sure.

    As far as your comment about not being sure how to get around speaking only in terms of your faith, we all do so. How can we do anything but? Now for some of us it is a bit easier because our religions speak in terms of boundaries. I can say that the righteous of all the nations have a place in the world to come and walk away still being true to the teachings of Judaism. But, if it makes you feel any better, I also struggle with a similar dilemma. DaGoods is an atheist. I don’t hold that anyone has to believe in God at all, sometimes I don’t myself. However, if I spout off my standard phrase I just stated about the righteous and olam haba, aren’t I also doing the same thing to him? Oh, that’s OK you don’t believe in God. God will take care of you anyway. I hate it when others do this to me with Jesus, so I refuse to do this to him with God. Yet, where does this leave me? In the same spot as you it seems! How do I live out an authentic religious life according to the dictates of my respective religion while respecting the choices of others, both religious and non-religious so that I’m not implying my beliefs will prevail in the end? I don’t have an answer, but this is something I’m pondering. I’m glad I met DaGoods; otherwise I may never have looked in that mirror.

    Who knows? Perhaps in the end you are greeted by Jesus, me by God, DaGoods by his fellow atheists, and we all feel vindicated? Perhaps we all cease to exist? Perhaps we’re all in for one big surprise? Perhaps?????

    I’m enjoying the conversation as well. Thanks for your honesty and sharing some of your story. For myself, it seems I found my way back to the faith of my ancestors. Before my mother died she told me her mother was raised Jewish. I was dumbfounded. No hint of this had ever come out before other than that my family was very pro-Israel, not an uncommon thing in the fundy world. By this time I’d already decided to convert to Judaism but no one knew. My mother was an astute woman, however, and I wonder if she didn’t suspect. Years before she had given me, one of six children, Rosh Hashanah plates from her mother’s mother, but I didn’t know what they were until after I converted. Just over six years ago I began studying Judaism in earnest, after many years of just learning Jewish history; soon it will be five years since I walked into our synagogue for the first time. It’s now over three years since my sons and I went before a Beit Din and converted and one year since I started working in our shul. My dream is to one day become a Rabbi, but in the meantime I study and read constantly. When I’m not spending too much time blogging, that is!

    Again, thanks for the conversation. See, I’m not so bad after all. Well, except when I’m bad.

  22. Yael and Doug

    Wonderful discussion, and as per usually I think I will add my 2 cents. I find it interesting how this group of people have come together and in the spirit of growth have tried(successfully mostly) to discuss our different faiths. Now a little while back when chatting on De Con someone labeled me as a Deist. I didnt know the exact meaning, so when I looked it up, I felt that it fit me relatively well. I believe rather than just being an inter-faith dialogue that were having, were actually just a bunch of Humans sharing our opinions. And you know the old saying.

    “Opinions are like a..h……, we all have one.”

    I do think(from my opinion) that of all the faiths I have been looking at, Judaism seems to be on the right track with its emphasis on Social Justice. I dont believe that I need to be saved and in fact, I think the Creator of all just threw us all together, set up a system(format) and then lets us try to figure the best way to work within its confines. After we die, we may or may not find out the reason for it, but its fun contemplating the reasons. Thanks for everyone sharing a piece of who they are, it has enriched my world. 🙂

  23. Yael. Thanks for your gracious response. Again, you have pointed out something that did not occur to me. The Jew association with nailing went completely over my head when I wrote it, but I can certainly see your side of it now. Of course, I meant it in complete fun. I should have said you could “pin” me to the wall. I actually meant that as a compliment to you because you obviously have studied scripture very diligently, and I am sure you know it better than I. Thanks again. I have been up most of the night working so am going to get some sleep. I will check back tonight.

  24. “First off, I’m not sure about that joke of a Jew nailing someone to a surface… but, no I won’t nail you to the wall of my shul” (Yael)

    Bad taste joke maybe? In light of the fact the gospels can be used to make Jews responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus? But that’s inter-faith dialogue – we will make these slip-ups. Although I must say – I kinda laughed when I read it – I knew it was an honest mistake or joke.

    “On the surface inter-faith dialogue sounds really wonderful, but is it truly possible?…but can the conversation go much deeper than that without each party losing something of great value to them? I’m not sure.” (Yael)

    I think so – what is the most valuable thing to you? That is the core question I am looking at with regards to faith.

    If someone says ‘God is’ – then we are going to have a bunch of assertions about God that enter the mix and have some serious contentions about ‘who, what, where, when, why, and how’ God exists. That is problematic – for sure.

    If someone says ‘Humans’ – then we are all on the same exact track. I don’t think I love my neighbor more (or better) than someone from Judaism…nor compared to someone from Mormonism – the fact we all care about such an idea is proof positive human relations are the primary focus of the faiths we are all in.

    I thought about this last night (with my wife) and figured out – what do most faiths have in common? Humanity! I can even include atheists in that concern – they care about society and humanity as well. The core of faith is that God spoke to HUMANS – not to animals or fish – but HUMANS…and every faith kind of starts from there. But what is the core recipient in each faith (or non-faith) – HUMANS.

    I think if we each approach the table – one with another – sharing our personal religious experiences – as diverse as they may be – we will all arrive at the same place – HUMANITY. I don’t see how someone has to lose their place at the table or lose anything they hold dear in their faith because of diversity. Is God not that great?

    I watched a thing last night on the ‘White Buffalo Prophecy’ from the Lakota First Nations traditional lifestyles/religion. The prophecy is concering the return of the white buffalo calf and the idea that when this happens – peace will also accompany it – the world will work together. That calf was born 3 years ago (my wife thinks it gives off a very soothing feeling – lol).

    I liked the idea behind that prophecy – the world working together. What it inspired some people in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to do was develop a conference of all faiths, traditions, and social systems together to discuss peace and ‘work together’. That premise is the same prophetic muttering I hear from Heschel in 1966 (No Religion is an Island). I think this truly is the future of faith relations – learning to work together and ‘share God’.

    I would even go one step further – based on my own First Nations tradition and a movement I have seen in recent years. I think faiths will become more accompanying to a person’s cultural background – in that they won’t have to shelf their cultural background anymore to be a part of a certain faith. This seems to be the wave of the future of faith. I have seen this in Judaism, I have seen this in Christianity, and I think I am starting to see this in Islam (quite slowly). So much so – I am not a Christian – I am a First Nations Christian (culture and faith bound together).

  25. “If it’s commonality that I’m looking for I can always go to the Elk’s club” (Steve)

    That’s true. But if it’s addressing the commonality that exists amongst relgiions – an Elk’s club is virtually useless.

    I am not sure why you would be against such an idea – enlighten me? I think it is a very sound idea to meet with other faiths and work together as partners.

  26. It’s not the commonalities that are important…but rather the differences.

    That Muslims believe that I am an infidel that must be converted (the Qur’an) , or subdued, or even done away with…leaves no room for anything else that we might have in common such as we all love our families, we love good food, we enjoy the theater…etc.

    I can be friends with a Muslim. I can work with a Muslim. But I can find no common ground with respect to the religion of Islam that is worth anything.

    The same goes for the other religions. They deny Christ Jesus as God’s revealed Word to a lost world. What else are we to discuss? The beautiful way they decorate their places of worship?

    I’ve got better things to do.

  27. I’ve got better things to do.(theoldadam)

    I see youre no better than any other extremist. The only difference is you try to convert the world with your “love”, its easy to see that is just a veil to hide your intolerance of others. But hey, who am I to say you cant be intolerant, thats the great thing about freedom of choice, because in reality Im not very tolerant of your intolerance. 😉

  28. TitforTat,

    I’m no better than any other extremist?

    I tolerate other religions. I don’t think you know the definition of the word.

    I don’t try and stop anyone from practicing their religion. I don’t run around telling people that they are going to hell. I have Muslim friends. Do I go to their mosque? No. What for?

    No…where I worship, we don’t burn down mosques or synagogues. We, do (however) speak out against people blowing other people up in the name of their religion. If that’s intolerant to you…then so be it.

  29. “I can be friends with a Muslim. I can work with a Muslim. But I can find no common ground with respect to the religion of Islam that is worth anything.” (Steve)

    This almost makes Islam seem like it doesn’t care about humanity – is this what you think this faith is all about? I know they have some extreme forms of faith – I won’t deny that – but not all forms are on the extremes.

    Fact is, I find lots of common ground with Islam and people of that faith – so much so I admire a man like Malcolm X. I would have no problem attending a mosque and praying with the people there – I wouldn’t like the fact the women are seperated (but that’s not my issue to fight) – still I wouldn’t mind spending time with them. They aren’t all that bad of people – granted some are extreme in their views – but that’s some. Another person I love, even bought her book, was Irshad Manji.

    “The same goes for the other religions. They deny Christ Jesus as God’s revealed Word to a lost world. What else are we to discuss?” (Steve)

    Lots. We all have to share this planet – and living in ‘peace’ is the essence we all seek. How do we get there? Having the attitude we are not alike is not going to help – at all. I think having discussions with people of other faiths will help do awy with the divide that currently exists – from East to West – on this planet.

    Our faith is not helping the cause with ideas like “What else are we to discuss?”. We are closing the door of ‘peace’ for the division – and I am not surprised – our faith has the most division on this planet (what’s one more?).

    To me, that doesn’t sound like the same Jesus that bridged that gap for many cultures in his ‘news’ – which was ‘good’. What right do we have to tell someone else we will not ‘eat with them’ – which is ‘bad news’? How great is God’s love?

    “No…where I worship, we don’t burn down mosques or synagogues. We, do (however) speak out against people blowing other people up in the name of their religion. If that’s intolerant to you…then so be it.” (Steve)

    Those are also extreme views of a few faiths. That would be like painting all us Christians with the brush of Fred Phelps – its not fair to do. I speak out against extremism also – no problem there – all injustice should be addressed. But – how can you say anything worth a dime to someone Muslim if you have no discussion with them? To have those kind of discussions that mean something – that’s gonna take some time on your part.

    If you think your church is doing anything to help with the problems in the Middle East by some ‘preaching over a pulpit’ – you are sadly mistaken. No Muslim truly hears what is being said and not conversation is set up to discuss those ‘difficult’ things. I am pushing for the idea – lets get together in the name of God – and start seeing these things being bridged and having some rather ‘tough’ conversations.

    I don’t propose inter-faith dialogue is always going to be easy – likely won’t. But if you want to hold to the fact your faith is right to everyone else’s being wrong – you will find even water that sticks to it’s own puddle gets stale after a while. I think Christianity is a lot bigger than ‘sticking to its own kind’ – we have much more to offer than that on a more global scene. I also fail to believe that every other religion that does not accept our messiah is ‘wrong’ (on what basis – they don’t confess what we do?)

    I see all faith like this – God spoke to HUMANS. I used to capitalize God in that sentence – but I realized that what is important to God is US. God cares about the direction humanity takes and our success. I think if all faiths can recognize that within their own faiths – then we really have something here. We might find WE are important after all – and we need take due dilligence cleaning up our planet – together.

    Christianity is really funny in its focus on God – even to the hurt of humanity. We are no better than anyone else – we need to get that straight. Sure we have a great faith – no doubts – but to think we cannot develop connections with other faiths because of that is just ‘religiocentric’.

    On this site I would invite people from all faith backgrounds to speak their point of views – because they all matter – somewhere and in someone’s house. I should understand that – and learn to speak with another concerning their needs – and they concerning mine. Why can’t we learn to share?

  30. I think if we each approach the table – one with another – sharing our personal religious experiences – as diverse as they may be – we will all arrive at the same place – HUMANITY. I don’t see how someone has to lose their place at the table or lose anything they hold dear in their faith because of diversity. Is God not that great?

    In all our interactions with others we compromise by letting go of parts of things important to us in order to be able to interact, either that or you try to shut everyone up by insisting its all your way or the highway! Why should religious interactions be any different?

    Humanity is the most basic level. Upon it are many layers which make us uniquely ourselves. To realize we are all human is a great thing, but we don’t exist at that level nor do we wish to exist at the level. We can work from our common humanity, that is a great thing, but we are much more complex than we are simple. Does that make any sense?

    In order to participate here I can’t just lay everything out for all to read. I have to consider who is here and at least try to come across in ways that don’t totally alienate the person to whom I am speaking because otherwise we’ll have no conversation. So, is it worth it to me to leave out some things? Is it worth it to overlook some things said here, to suppress some of my thoughts and reactions, to accept some things I might not otherwise, to consider ideas that might seem heretical at least at first glance? Obviously I have decided it is worth it, at least to a certain extent or I wouldn’t be here at all. Do I feel like a traitor at times? Yes. Do I feel inauthentic at times? Sure. Am I a traitor? Am I inauthentic? I can’t answer those questions yet because I’m still thinking about them. What does it mean to be a traitor or to be inauthentic?

    And I think that was some of my most recent conversation with Freestyle, both of us trying to figure things out from our respective points of view.

    For theoldadam, there can be no compromise, glad I’m not his wife(!!), but for the rest of us who do try to speak TO each other rather than AT each other, we have to leave some things off the table. I don’t see how it can be otherwise. It’s like the tefillin, we can think what we want, but we must act in certain ways. So, how do we decide what those ways should be?

    Can we pass out soup without Jesus? Can we fight religious intolerance without calling people Pharisees? Can we work for freedom without speaking of the Exodus? Can we avoid talk of Jerusalem, the Promised Land, Chosen People? And if we do so, in the end are we left with nothing? Or is it possible to learn to talk in ways that avoid hot buttons yet still allow us to be who we are? I don’t know.

    Sorry if this is rambling, I’m just thinking as I type. Oh, and BTW, I found the reference to nailing Freestyle to the wall amusing. That’s why I responded about only using a hammer these days.

  31. This is quick, ’cause I’ve got to run.

    Compromise? Yes, in many areas…but not in the area of faith, for cryin’ out loud!

    I wouldn’t ask you to remove two of the plagues and in exchange I’ll say Jesus wasn’t crucified, he was strangled!

    If I went to a mosque and participated in their worship I would be giving tacit approval to what they are doing there. I don’t believe in doing that.

    Jesus said, “Go into all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit …” He said that if they accept what you teach about me great…if they reject you…split!

    Anywho, that’s it for now….

  32. So…..if everyone here rejects what you have to say do you promise to split?

    Considering that thousands of Jews were crucified by the Romans you sure like to make a big deal about one.

  33. Hey, you’re the one who quoted your text saying if everyone rejects your message you’re supposed to split. Since I haven’t met anyone here who accepts your message, except for you and perhaps Jim, I was just curious as to why you quoted it if you’re still hanging around! Nothing like pointing out words you claim were spoken by God which you use to justify your actions with Muslims but that you’re ignoring here. Shame, shame. Methinks it has nothing to do with what you claim God taught, but is instead merely about personal preference.

    How about a hypothetical question, let’s say you were my cousin and we grew up together. It’s my kid’s Bar Mitzvah and I send you an invitation to come to synagogue on that day. Would you come?

    Or how about this one that is real: A year ago my father died and I went to his funeral in a church. Should I have gone? Or was I showing support for something in which I don’t believe?

    You say you won’t compromise on your faith. So, in your church if everything doesn’t go your way do you leave? Or do you compromise on some things but not others?

    Kind of interesting that as Jews we’ve always had to compromise on some things right along since we’re not the majority religion and have suffered much persecution at various times. We were told what prayers we could say and not say, our rabbis weren’t allowed to teach Torah, our books were burned, our children forcibly baptized, yet we survived and figured out ways to continue by realizing all or nothing Judaism wasn’t the way to do so.

    My take is that only those in power can boast they will never compromise. The rest of us never have that choice. And that isn’t to whine or anything, since I’m so often accorded only those nice NEGATIVE emotions I feel the need to clarify, it’s just something I thought about that interests me. Anyway, it seems to me when it was your era of being persecuted, people hid underground and used fish symbols to identify each other. Surely that, too, is a compromise? No open proclaimations or arrogant shaking the dust off their feet?

    Anyway, I’m sure you have seen from my posts that I’m not totally sold on this inter-faith stuff either. I enjoy chatting with MOST of the people I’ve met here, however, so I’m willing to consider there could be some merit.

  34. “On the surface inter-faith dialogue sounds really wonderful, but is it truly possible? I don’t think many people would disagree that it can be fun to chat with a diverse group of people about non-religious topics and even do some surface God talk, but can the conversation go much deeper than that without each party losing something of great value to them? I’m not sure.” (Yael)

    Well I am back to work for the last night of this 2 week stretch. I will be glad to get some rest this weekend.

    I think that you are right on here, Yael. Inter-faith dialogue on the deepest levels is very difficult. Is it possible? I think so. All of our faith’s seem to have some non-negotiables that seem to invalidate the other faiths at the table. But if we come with the attitude that we are going to learn from each other, I think deep conversation is certainly possible. It takes a bunch of well differentiated people at that table though for it to work. I am a firm believer that each one of us holds at least a bit of truth. None of us holds all of it. And I kind of see myself as a truth collector. How can I gain and understand more truth unless I am willing to hear whatever you have to say to me about my faith or about your faith. From a Christian standpoint, I don’t see that Christ was intolerant at all. In fact, the harshest words he had were for those who thought they were very religious and used it as a tool of power. With that in mind, I think the words of theoldadam seem a bit intolerant. I would be happy and eager to participate in a worship service at a mosque. What better way is there to learn something new about people whom I don’t completely understand and a culture I don’t completely understand? For certain there is some truth there to be gained by that experience.

  35. Somewhere on this blog is something about when Rabbi Hirschfield davened in a Mosque. He wrote a fantastic piece about it which was included in that book Jason and I both have. Maybe I’ll look it up sometime this weekend. It is worth sharing, IMO of course.

    But if we come with the attitude that we are going to learn from each other, I think deep conversation is certainly possible. It takes a bunch of well differentiated people at that table though for it to work.

    I think what we learn from each other is mostly unexpected. Others might think I would learn from Christians about Jesus and how to be a Christian, yet that isn’t what I’ve learned from interacting with Jason. I’m not at all interested in learning about Jesus or how to be a Christian, but I am interested in his views of various teachings, or how he reconciles this piece with that, or how he understands his faith’s place in the scheme of things. I’m interested in how he integrates all these parts of his life into one whole. So, mostly what I’ve learned from him has nothing to do with any doctrines but does have to do with wisdom and finding meaning in living. Now I can’t speak for him as to what he’s learned from me but I kind of doubt he would say he’s learned from me how to be a Jew.

    I think some people view any inter-faith dialogue as a way to prove their way is superior and so they see success measured only in terms of did everyone else become like me and if not it was a waste of time. Or perhaps these things are viewed as if I’m not 100% me than I must be 100% not me? And some I’ve known seem to think inter-faith dialogue means making sure everyone else gets to express 100% of themselves while this person is 100% the smiling doormat! But perhaps if someone like you searches for truth, someone like me searches for wisdom, then these other things would easily be seen as what is lacking value rather than our interactions.

    Ah well, need to be going here. Enjoy your rest this weekend. Tomorrow is my father’s first yahrzeit. Hard to believe.

  36. “So, is it worth it to me to leave out some things? Is it worth it to overlook some things said here, to suppress some of my thoughts and reactions, to accept some things I might not otherwise, to consider ideas that might seem heretical at least at first glance? Obviously I have decided it is worth it” (Yael)

    I get where you are going with this – and yes that is true – sometimes we have to veil some of the deeper beliefs within our faith for the diplomatic exchange. However, I am very sure I can handle the most difficult things a faith can discuss with another faith – as long as both sides are open to the critique and discussion (some people just cannot do that). I challenge my own faith – why should I be bothered if someone else does?

    “And if we do so, in the end are we left with nothing? Or is it possible to learn to talk in ways that avoid hot buttons yet still allow us to be who we are? I don’t know.” (Yael)

    I think so. I have found in my personal journey that I share a lot in common with people of the ‘book’ (ex: Judaism) and people not of the ‘book’ (ex: my own First Nations traditions). I do not think I need to limit myself to my own community to find knowledge about God or life – I actually think that works against me to do that.

    For example, I watch a lot of tv (usually documentaries but sometimes whatever else is on). I could limit myself to the local channels for my area (about 7 or so). I could limit myself to local channels in Western Canada (like 20 or so). I could limit myself to channels in Canada (like 120+ or so). I could limit myself to just North American channels (like 170+). Where do I limit myself in the quest for more knowledge and a well rounded worldview?

    I see religious dialogue in a similar light. I am not sure what I have to lose by dialoguing with other faiths? Do I intentionally limit what I say and where I say it – sometimes I pull it back – unless it is relevant to the convo. For example, I know you do not accept my messiah – and you know what – I have no problem with that – you have good ‘reasons’ not to. I don’t accept Joseph Smith as a prophet – but I can also give good ‘reasons’ for that stand. I would also state – how relevant is it to inter-faith dialogue anyways (unless we about confession only)?

    But I know, we have to shelf some stuff for inter-faith dialogue – here is the idealist in me – wouldn’t it be great if we could all ‘speak freely’?

  37. “Now I can’t speak for him as to what he’s learned from me but I kind of doubt he would say he’s learned from me how to be a Jew. ” (Yael)

    I learn plenty – every time I stop and read the Jewish literature and blog with Yael – and everything I learn is ‘good’. I understand the conversion process and now – a lot of the Jewish perspective – and and it has enlightened me to know these things (of the which i was absolutely ignorant of before). I understand where Yael is coming from – and I can also value the teachings she lives by – because I see how they work and what they mean to her community of faith. I respect every piece of that – it is all ‘good’ (also it is usually very practical and teaches me new things).

    It really is inter-faith dialogue that exists there – but I wouldn’t have that any other way.

  38. “Compromise? Yes, in many areas…but not in the area of faith, for cryin’ out loud!” (Steve)

    I wouldn’t ask you to compromise your faith values at all – nor your beliefs Steve – but in all honesty – we should be open for that discussion (and I think we are to some degree). I have bantered with you about some of my values and you have bantered with me about some of your values – and the exchange continues on and on. Inter-faith dialogue is not about conversion – it’s about ‘dialogue’.

    “If I went to a mosque and participated in their worship I would be giving tacit approval to what they are doing there. I don’t believe in doing that.” (Steve)

    I’ll let you in on a little secret – I attend all kind of First Nations traditional activites (I am even in charge of the ‘offering’ sometimes) – but you know what – it doesn’t offend me in the least. Its not about ‘my approval’ anyways – but about my sharing with the community (I also know there is One God anyways – and I feel we ‘share’ Him). I find this opens conversations about what I believe and I am allowed to exchange ideas (freely) – isn’t that what you want for your faith?

    I have been invtited to a mosque to pray with my friend – I didn’t go because I wasn’t prepared at the time to do so nor did I want him to believe I would convert (he was just a new convert himself). But I told him I would support him on anything he wanted – because I believed in what he was doing (and in the change he was experiencing). He doesn’t need my approval for what he does – he needs my friendship – and frankly – so does the inner-city community I come from.

    “He said that if they accept what you teach about me great…if they reject you…split!” (Steve)

    That is some ‘loose’ paraphrasing on your part. If Jesus truly believed that advice (and his disciples after him) – then why did Jesus stay and die where he was ‘rejected’? The disciples – they also stayed where they were ‘rejected’. Paul – gets rejected so many times I quit counting – yet he stayed and died in Rome – the country that did not accept his faith system. You cannot outrun things all the time.

    I know we live in a ‘free country’ – but you should thank God for your freedoms – and moreso – you have the freedom of religion to discuss with others anytime and any place. You know this is not so planet wide? We should take advantage of our rights – I see no need to limit ourselves? Also, where does Jesus teach us to be against inter-faith dialogue?

  39. I know we live in a ‘free country’ – but you should thank God for your freedoms(Societyvs)

    I think we should be thanking are fore fathers for our freedom, afterall it was they who died for it. They showed us what true interfaith unity is all about, because they were not only Christian, but Muslim, Jewish, Atheist, Humanist and so on. God may have created us, but it is we who create freedom or persecution. The format is set. Our perceptions of that format will determine how we live together. That is the one reason why I think of myself as Human first. And if I remember correctly this is exactly what Jesus wanted us to realize. Treat each other Humanely.

    Check this vid out. And thank Master LUKE for this.

  40. “I think we should be thanking are fore fathers for our freedom,” (John)

    As much as I hate what our forefathers did to my people (Indian peoples in America’s) – I also have to admire their tenacity to develop a society that has become all we see before us now. In some ways I am thankful for the path they set – they were careful in their appeals for this country and with the issue of freedom – left us something we can ‘work with and develop’. I thank God for the development – I also thank the people (if they were alive) that made it possible (I am starting to sound like PBS – lol).

    “And thank Master LUKE for this.” (John)

    I have written Master Luke on a very important matter to the jedi movement – a possible 4th candidate for the high gospel/jedi order – here is what I sent the master:

    SVS – Mark
    Doug – Matthew (new kindred spirit)
    Luke – Luke
    John T – John

    The matter has been sent to the master’s desk.

  41. I think this….

    “SVS – Mark
    Doug – Matthew (new kindred spirit)
    Luke – Luke
    John T – John”

    and this…..

    ““You forgot one. Yael, I think she would like to be the Anti Christ. Lmao”

    is hilarious. And I am honored just to be included. Thanks.

  42. ““You forgot one. Yael, I think she would like to be the Anti Christ. Lmao” (John)

    I will have to consult the high jedi order on this one – of which Master Luke is over-seeing this era. I am not sure about what title she can be given due to the ‘anti-Christ’ status – and she’s a woman – and I am not sure about woman taking places of power (Luke knows more about this – these are his rulings for this era). There seems to be a few options:

    Revelations – Yael
    1 or 2 Maccabee’s – Yael

    Or we could go with something even more iconic:

    The minor or major prohets – maybe Malachi (it’s just prior to the NT in our bibles – and she is kind of close to us?).

    Or maybe something a little more cryptic:

    Something from the Nag Hammadi collection like:

    Thomas the Contender, The Great Seth, Paraphrase of Shem, or even The Thunder/Perfect Mind.

    As for Doug – the ruling has not been made yet – we are not sure if he is the 4th piece of the gospelic chain – it seems he is likely the candidate – but he must past a series of tests first – which include card tricks to walking on water. Master Luke will advise.

  43. I think we need to put Yael as the ENTIRE TaNaK! 😉

    Or if not the the whole thing, maybe the T or the K part/s.

    mainly because one woman is equal to four men, so it balances out. 😉

    oh and she can’t be the anti-Christ unless we can trace her lineage back to Nero or some high ranking Roman official based on how i read the letters of John and Revelation.

    RAWK!

  44. Master Luke has offered his benediction – Yael will now be known secretly as TK in our order. I will still call her Yael – but secretly – we will know.

    As for Doug – Master Luke – what is your verdict?

  45. I just realized something, I think if Im supposed to be John then I should get cracking and go read what Ive supposedly written. So tonight I begin the Gospel of me. 😉

  46. Doug as Matthew really works because Matt has a high view of church, talks about sin, and is esp. interested in the future escatology of Christ coming back… Luke isn’t so much and Mark is but takes a different view… so as an allegory for our little group, i gotta say it’s a near-perfect fit!

    John T better get crack’n on his double-meaning puns! John is chalked full of that when read in the Greek, so that is very fitting as well! However the interpretation of John by the church doesn’t fit what the text actually says. I used to hate John, but now I love it! For example, the Word/LOGIC is made Flesh in Jesus” that’s pretty kick ass.

    I think we got a rawk’n group here with the Synoptics + John + TK. Love it, love it, love it!

  47. mainly because one woman is equal to four men, so it balances out.

    Are you saying I’m fat?

    Anyway, I’m only sort of in on this whole thing since I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT ANY OF YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT!! But, hey, great to be included anyway! Well, maybe……

  48. Oops. Somehow that got submitted before I was done. Yes, I know it’s Shabbat and I usually don’t do any posting, but yesterday was a bad day and today is my father’s yahrzeit so I’m feeling pretty low and stopped by to escape it all for a bit. I guess if my worst sin is writing on Shabbat I’m not going to be too bothered. Not that I ever fret about such things anyway. Sin is your guys obsession, not mine. 8)

  49. but yesterday was a bad day and today is my father’s yahrzeit so I’m feeling pretty low and stopped by to escape it all for a bit. (Yael)

    I share in your loss, and acknowledge those who go before us. Hopefully we carry on with the best they gave us.

  50. Just to make my day complete, earlier this morning I dropped a ten pound chunk of metal on my foot! So now I have one very sore foot to go along with the rest. I went to shul early so I could say kaddish right away and hung around until I had my aliyah in honor of my father’s memory. Now it’s time to pack the foot in ice and elevate it for awhile.

    You also have lost your parents and a sibling haven’t you? May their memories be only for blessings.

  51. “May their memories be only for blessings.” (Yael)

    I hope the same for you also – sometimes going through memories can be a little tough and emotional – I hope it all can be a blessing for you as well.

    This is a good get-away isn’t it? I feel the same way also – I feel rather encouraged by the group we blog with.

  52. That is ever my response to the hell-fire types. I look at who they relegate to hell and who they claim will be in heaven and I have to say, based on that one fact alone, heaven would be hell and hell would be heaven for me! Which actually fits quite nicely with a Jewish teaching that in the world to come things will be opposite from what people think here.

    Flattery, smattery….I’d be a rich woman by now if only I had a different fascination…. Instead I am an underachieving dreamer who lives in a world filled with books and questions, more books and more questions. Woe is me.

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