Studying Islam has come at a price. Old friends see me as a traitor; family members see me as "strange," and Muslims see me as someone who will never be good enough. These developments make me think deeply about the issues of loyalty, love, and knowledge.
We cannot tell the future of Paganism any more that one can tell the future of a small child. Traces of that child's future may be evident through their budding personality and family resources, but the world has a lot of things it will eventually offer the child--both beautiful and harmful.
This week I talked with Rabbi Jack Moline, Executive Director of Interfaith Alliance about an inspirational campaign launched by Interfaith Alliance called the "Everyone Only" project.
The world is in need of people of moral and ethical courage -- the time is now for interfaith leaders to claim their prophetic voice and lead.
Every time I officiate at a wedding ceremony I am awed by the extraordinary energy that becomes available when two people in love literally step up to commit themselves to sacred union.
Recently I taught a group of engaged interfaith couples about the Jewish holidays. After the lecture, I changed the topic, turned the tables, and asked them a question--What's been the biggest interfaith challenge in your relationship so far?
I am struck by the different lenses through which identical events unfold and the challenges involved in unification.
Christianity and Islam are often painted as mortal enemies that will be forever fighting in a war for religious supremacy. Christians and Muslims would be wise to remember that Jesus Christ and Prophet Muhammad are kindred spirits.
I met Cardinal George at a Sabbath dinner at the home of a local Jewish leader. It was during the height of the clergy sex scandal, and I did notice he drank a few extra glasses of the Sabbath wine.
Andalusia at its height shows us clearly that associating a group like ISIS with Islam and calling its leader a "caliph" is a travesty. And there is no lesson greater for everyone than to recall that there was a time, however brief, when people of different cultures and faiths lived together, worked together and prospered together.
Sometimes, all immigrants are lumped together as a threat to the national and financial security of these United States. I am saddened that we are all characterized as such, but I want you to know that the majority of immigrants are not only law-abiding citizens and residents, but we have a great love of this country and much to contribute.
I look forward to the sermons, which remind me of my Chumash and Talmud classes, where hidden meaning behind the scriptures and stories are revealed. I get excited when the pastor references the Old Testament, or a passage that I recognize, and imbues it with a new perspective.
Last year I wrote about how the Hindu/Sikh teacher-training workshops in Montgomery County Public Schools could be a template for teacher education across the country. Since then the program has grown, galvanizing the two communities while allowing teachers to become more comfortable and empowered in teaching about Hinduism and Sikhism.
But is Mehnaz Afridi scalable? Can we hope that her example will spread interfaith understanding, trust and tolerance here and abroad? There may soon be a test: Her next book, "Shoah Through Muslim Eyes (The Holocaust History Literature Ethics and Philosophy)" will be published in July.
Some might suggest that it is the charisma, success or personalities of my Muslim friends that draws me to their words. Yet, I think this understates the meaning of the progressive and distinctively American form of Islam that they articulate and live out.
Becoming a Green Sanctuary is how my church chose to uphold the values of our green principle.