Make Friends Across Religions
Elijah Releases the “Make Friends” appeal with the World’s Most Prominent Religious Leaders
Many of our readers will have heard by now of the appeal, released June 14th, by some of the world’s most prominent religious leaders, calling for making friends across religions. Elijah, together with the Havas Lemz advertising agency and letsheal.org, takes great pride in having made this landmark appeal.
Members of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders, along with other prominent religious leaders, issued a call to get to know one another, and to cultivate friendship across religions.
Pope Francis, the Dalai Lama, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Chief Rabbis David Lau and Jonathan Sacks, Sri Sri Ravi Sankar, Amma and many other prominent religious leaders affirm that friendship is the antidote to hatred, fear and violence.
The appeal trailer was released on Twitter as a joint video message, using technology to translate the common purpose and common vision of the religious leaders to a visual of unity.
Click on the image below to see the appeal trailer.
The appeal was launched at a press conference in London. The presentation included sociological analysis of attitudes and values of different religious groups across the world, their expectations and how friendship ranks on their scale of values.
The background to the release of the appeal trailer was a presentation of common attitudes of fear and ignorance, balanced by the recognition of common hopes and aspirations, as studied by Martijn Lampert of the Amsterdam based values research company, Motivaction.
Elijah director, Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein, introduced the project highlighting its theological significance. Values that had previously been preached only to the in-group (friendship) are now being extended by major faith leaders beyond the narrow circle of the faithful. This is not only an important moment of social collaboration. It is a moment of religious teaching, that is carried out jointly by leaders in a collaborative moment of teaching and advancing the spiritual vision of the traditions. Differently put: By signing on this appeal, these leaders are affirming a particular way of practicing their religion, as distinct from other ways that religions are often associated with.
Click on the image below to see an edited version of the key contributions of the presentation of the appeal.
Elijah’s website has been transfigured for the occasion, and our home page is presently dedicated to this appeal (click on the image below to see our new home page).
Please visit our new home page (as well as all parts of the website that were updated and upgraded in the appeal). The home page allows you to view the trailer in 14 languages. The appeal consists of video interviews with 22 prominent leaders. Each interview or message is a gem. These interviews are also available in several languages (English, Spanish and Arabic). The ensemble of interviews amounts to powerful religious teachings on friendship and sharing wisdom, carried out through standardized interviews.
In addition, we have prepared two toolkits for cultivating friendship. One has been designed for every person, the other for religious leaders. By means of these toolkits, along with the advice of participating religious leaders, we hope to equip individuals and religious leaders for practicing friendship across religions and for bringing this practice to their communities. These toolkits may be downloaded directly from our home page.
Finally, on the occasion of the “Make Friends Across Religions” appeal, the Elijah Board of World Religions has reissued its statement on making friends across religions. Click here to read the statement.
This is a landmark project, a true resource for advancing relations between faith communities and practitioners.
Please visit the rich resources available on Youtube/makefriends.
Please share this information broadly through your own networks and social media.
Please report on all activities carried out in the spirit of this appeal using the hashtag #makefriends.
We would also be grateful if you posted to Elijah’s Facebook page reports of your activity – a picture, a story.
Please download the toolkits, use them, share them and disseminate them.
Please join us in “making friends” be the new normal for a divided world and society.
Finally, a word of thanks and appreciation to Mark Woerde and the entire team at Havas Lemz. They dreamt; We dreamt; We dreamt together. Now our joint dreams can become everyone’s reality.
Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein