Elijah takes pride in the projects it has achieved to date and seeks to build upon them in the future. Following is a list of 8 projects, four global and four local to Jerusalem with global outreach and involvement.
The Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders (EBWRL) brings together some of the world’s most prominent religious leaders in ongoing personal encounter, study, development of friendship and modeling of interfaith relations for the broader community. EBWRL includes such luminaries as H.H. the Dalai Lama, Patriarch Bartholomew, Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Sri Sri Ravi Sankar, Grand Mufti Mustafa Ceric and many others. The Dalai Lama has described this group as the most intimate and profound group working in the field of interfaith, on account of the special methodology that combines scholarship with encounter of leaders, and that privileges intimate exchanges and building of personal relations. EBWRL has been meeting bi-annually for 14 years and has engaged in projects of response to contemporary issues between meetings. Elijah leaders seek to take their example to their community and the reach to the community is the heart of the development plan they, and the Elijah Institute, seek to implement.
- Convening of Regional leaders
Elijah’s leaders have decided to replicate the successful formula that has served them for many years on a regional level, thereby generating a movement of religious leaders worldwide under the slogan “Sharing Wisdom – Fostering Peace”. Accordingly, they will be working in various locations globally to replicate the successes of Elijah in developing bonds across religious diversity based on learning, understanding, spirituality and friendship, all with an eye to serving the community at large and extending the message of friendship and collaboration to their communities. Several pilot projects are being planned in different regions, that will implement Elijah methodology, in conjunction with local religious leaders, academic institutions and civil bodies. As the pilots prove successful, Elijah plans to scale its work to become a global movement, that it calls “The global hope movement”.
- Research projects
A key to Elijah’s success and its unique methodology is the bringing together of the finest scholarship with highest leadership. Elijah scholars have undertaken multiple common research and reflection projects, through collaborative interreligious think tanks. These have led to a series of academic publications. Research lies at the heart of teaching activities and of facilitated dialogue activities at the various levels at which it is applied. Elijah seeks to continue developing these research projects. Specific projects at the heart of our program to date, and that we seek to further develop include:
- Religious Genius – The study of outstanding individuals, who can be inspiring across religious traditions. This is an original area of study and defines new areas for interfaith engagement.
- Theologies of religions – The study of the root attitudes of diverse religions to other religions, in an attempt to identify the root causes of violence and intolerance and to develop from within the religious and theological resources needed for advancing harmony between religions on internal religious grounds.
- Study of mystical and spiritual life – the spiritual life is where religions come closest and where they can inspire each other most. Collaborative research into the mystical and spiritual life anchors interfaith engagement in the depth of religions’ spiritual experience.
- The Global Study and Dialogue Program
Elijah has established an extensive network of relationships with scholars, religious leaders and religious communities globally. Study and dialogue lie at the heart of this network. Elijah seeks to regularly convene this network through an online platform that enables study, dissemination, dialogue across parts of the network and interactive learning. The platform will bring together different parts of Elijah’s network, and will allow the network to grow further into a global movement, through adding new partners to this study initiative. Elijah leaders and scholars will offer regular teachings to the entire network, and members of the network will cement relations of exchange and dialogue across the network. The proposed theme for the launch is “affirming unity in a world torn by separatism”. The theme will apply religious and theological resources to contemporary social concerns.
Jerusalem Based Projects
The unity and mutual enrichment established through Elijah’s 20 years of activity require a visible sign in order to deliver the message globally and to help it spread and become a norm. The Center of HOPE in Jerusalem seeks to achieve this goal. It is a novel concept – a House of Prayer and Education. Locating it in Jerusalem, a city holy to more believers than any other but also one that symbolizes religious competition and conflict, has the power to change the narrative of Jerusalem itself as well as the narrative of relationships between religions globally. Drawing on a Biblical prophecy – “My house will be a house of prayer for all peoples” – Elijah seeks to construct the Center of HOPE, as a joint project, owned by all participating faiths, Abrahamic as well as dharmic (Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikh) and others. The Center of HOPE will include: interreligious educational activities for the public and for scholars; a hospitality center for interreligious pilgrimage, creating an immersion experience in interfaith presence in Jerusalem; spaces and programs for cultural sharing; a museological experience of the prayer and spiritual life in different religions, affirming their deeper spiritual commonalities, and prayer spaces for the different religions, alongside one another. It seeks to be a living spiritual center, where prayer for the peace of Jerusalem and the world will be an ongoing reality. Continual prayer and ongoing encounter between local and international faith communities will lead to common activities in service of the common good, across religious traditions. Until there is a physical centre, Elijah, along with partner organizations, convenes monthly gatherings of prayer and study in Jerusalem, of members of different faiths, in the spirit of HOPE. These are known as “Praying Together in Jerusalem”.
- Hope Fellows
In advance of the creation of the Center of HOPE, we envision a cadre of interfaith activists and scholars from all traditions, working together in Jerusalem, to help cultivate an interreligious culture. The Hope fellows will come from all over the world and will engage in joint study, prayer, work with religious communities, pilgrims and outreach to their own communities. The program will engage youth and young adults as the religious voices of the next generation, along with the wisdom and guidance of more experienced religious leaders and interfaith practitioners.
- Hope from Jerusalem
As one further expression of the local (Jerusalem)/global interplay that is fundamental to Elijah, we seek to offer a regular dynamic and interactive interreligious talk show titled “Hope from Jerusalem”. At present there is no major interfaith talk show, and certainly not one that engages important religious leaders. Featuring such a program in Jerusalem will not only be of interest to faith practitioners the world over but also help spread further a message of interfaith harmony and understanding in the Holy Land. The regular talk show will allow for audience participation and for exchange between different locations at which the show is watched. It is thus one more method for developing a global interfaith community using contemporary technology and communication techniques.
Elijah has been running a summer school program for the past 20 years. The summer school program allows students of religion, religious leaders and interfaith activists to deepen their interreligious experience, to discover its theological roots, and to receive a training in the theoretical and practical dimensions of interreligious relations in Jerusalem, a location that features unparalleled opportunities for historical and spiritual encounter with religious communities, their memory, and hopes. The summer school brings together different members of the Elijah network. It draws on members of the EBWRL and on Elijah scholars, thus making available to the next generation of interfaith students and activists all the riches that Elijah has been blessed with. It is thus the concrete training ground that ties Elijah’s different bodies, and that unites Jerusalem and various global localities in a vision of sharing wisdom and generating hope.