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Leslie Hilgeman (RRC, 2013) is spending her one year Multifaith Internship at the Interfaith Center of Philadelphia.
Here are some of her reflections:
Here’s a moment I never expected to encounter when I entered rabbinical school – inviting Jews to come to church!
This year as a rabbinic intern at the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia, I am coordinating a program called Gateway to Religious Communities.
Each Fall and Spring members of the public sign up to visit a series of congregations over a few months’ time. Most recently we visited the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, in Bryn Mawr.
At each congregation we visit, we attend a worship service. We meet with a leader before hand who explains the service, and then afterwards there’s a Q & A where we talk about what we saw and experienced. And we talk about faith.Continue Reading
In the weeks leading up to the House hearings on "the radicalization of American Muslims," anti-Muslim rhetoric continued apace in some segments of the media. At an Islamic Society of North American dinner in Arlington, Virginia last month, over 200 Muslims shared their concerns as panelists discussed the challenges facing the Muslim community. Professor Ingrid Mattson, the immediate past president of the organization, began the program by reminding the audience, "We are not alone -- our interfaith family has our back."
This is not the first time Americans of faith have stood behind a religious group singled out for suspicion. In 1921, at a time of widespread, virulent defamation of Jews, John Spargo, a lay Methodist minister, social critic and activist, said "It should not be left to men and women of the Jewish faith to fight this evil ... Anti-Semitism commands our special attention today ... but my plea is not for pro-Semitism." Rather, he opposed efforts to "divide our citizenship on religious lines." He did so out of "loyalty to American ideals." In a lecture later that year, Spargo called religious hatred "American treason." In his eyes, the "Jews' problem" was actually an American problem.Continue Reading