Wisdom November 2012 Issue
1. Response to fighting in Gaza and Israel
Many “Wisdom” readers have contacted us, expressing concern over the recent violence in Israel and Gaza. While violence is raging in other parts of the Middle East, particularly in Syria, there has been a request for some inspiration that will address the present situation. As you all know, Elijah is not a political organization and we do not have much to offer by way of political suggestions or solutions, or even in terms of specific policies of how to handle conflict in the Middle East, other than the affirmation that we seek peace and support all activities and policies that will lead to peace. But as an organization that brings together people of faith, there is always room for a faith response, in particular in the form of prayer. We therefore would like to once again share a prayer, composed by the steering committee of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders, during a previous round of fighting in Gaza. It is as relevant today as it was a few years ago, and it is as relevant for this particular situation as it is for other situations in which violence rages.
Feel free to share it with any other religious group, interfaith organization or friends. Some have told us they have put it on their facebook page. In whatever way you chose, join us in prayer and in helping spread this prayer. We would be grateful if you would acknowledge Elijah as you share this prayer with others.
With prayers for peace
Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein
Source of all grace, love and compassion
We, the leaders and faithful of all World Religions, are pained at the situation of our humanity,
We are pained by our global conflicts,
We are pained, in particular today, by the suffering experienced by the Israeli and Palestinian people, who are caught in a violent conflict in Gaza and Israel.
We offer our pain in prayer and in aspiration, appealing to the goodness of humanity, without taking sides,
We recognize we are powerless to change events on the ground, yet we believe in the power of prayer to change hearts, to effect a spiritual change that can ultimately bring about peace in the world.
For this we pray:
Inspire us with your divine mercy so
That our hearts may be full of compassion, not of anger and the desire for retaliation,
That our hearts may be instruments of forgiveness, not of revenge
That we may experience genuine love, not hate.
Whatever action we undertake, let it not be guided by hate or revenge, but by concern for the greater good of all.
May we always recall the preciousness of every life and minimize unneeded hurt
May we always appreciate our deep interconnectedness, as common citizens of one earth.
May we always recall the unity of the family of humankind and realize that in some way every attack on the other is an attack on our very selves
We ask for protection for all.
We ask that women, children and non-combatants not be drawn into the conflict, through the willful or unwillful actions of either side
We ask for protection for our hearts, lest they become hardened at the sight of suffering,
In all our actions, we ask for compassion for the suffering that surrounds us.
We pray that all are endowed with wise judgment and a compassionate heart, as they undertake their duties.
We pray that those who hold powerful tools in their hands have the wisdom when to use them and when to refrain from using them.
We pray that we may have the wisdom to use the opportunities provided by technology for human welfare and wellbeing
Grant us leaders who may be inspired by you to lead us towards love and peace, and not increase hate and violence.
May our own words, as leaders of the faithful, arise from the depth of prayer.
May they never incite or be the source of suffering and violence.
May our words have the power to heal and soothe rather than to incite and inflame.
Source of grace, love and compassion, grant us, here on earth, your peace, your Salam, your Shalom
The Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders Steering Committee
2. Invitation: Evening in honor of Jewish Theology and World Religions
Following the publication of Jewish Theology and World Religions, an evening will be held in honor of the book, in which contributing authors will share their (Jewish) theological perspectives on world religions. The evening is hosted by our partner, The David Cardozo Academy, and we are grateful to them for hosting this event. Following is the Academy’s invitation.
The public is invited to attend the Jerusalem Lecture Series on Jewish Philosophy
JUDAISM LOOKS AT WORLD RELIGIONS
Jewish Theology taking a Fresh Look at the Other
- Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo – Introduction
- Professor Yehuda Gellman – Buddhism
- Rabbi Dr. Alon Goshen-Gottstein – Hinduism
- Professor Raphael Jospe – Christianity
- Dr. Dov Maimon – Islam
Yad HaRav Nissim, 44 Jabotinsky Street, Jerusalem
Wednesday November 28, 2012 at 8.00 PM
Free admission | Refreshments served | Panel in English
For more information contact Avital Macales: 054-768-5849 firstname.lastname@example.org
Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Dean
DCA Academy can be contacted at 02-642-7272
3. Religious Genius – Responses and Challenges
In the previous edition of Wisdom we shared with our readers the Religious Genius project, sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. The response rate to this newsletter was the highest of any issue of Wisdom ever, suggesting how relevant and important our readership finds this topic. We would like to bring to your attention one response in particular, one that highlights the challenges that this project faces. Bhai Sahib Bhai Mohinder Singh, co-chair of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders’ steering committee, has raised the question of the appropriateness of including Guru Nanak Dev’s image in the previous edition, suggesting he is a candidate for study in the future project. Bhai Sahib Ji asks why other founders of religions were not included. This raises the interesting, and complicated, question of how to consider religious genius and how to relate it to other categories, both categories that are external to the religions (saints, founders, reformers) and those that are internal to it (in this case, Guru or Satguru). In working through the contours of the project, we seek to develop a language that is broad and that allows for engagement across traditions, while at the same time maintaining respect for the internal perspectives of each of the traditions studied. Finding the balances in working out the category is one of the challenges, and joys, that lies ahead.
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