Sharing Vocations – July 2012

We are pleased to present you with the Sharing Vocations newsletter, July 2012 edition , which is the sharing of wisdom and experiences between members of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders. Thank you to those who have contributed to this edition.

Achievements and Accolades

The Boston Archdiocese’s  Redemptoris Mater Seminary honoured Rabbi David Rosen at its gala dinner on June 24th. Cardinal Sean O’Malley gave the laudation, in which he acknowledged the work of the American Jewish Committee in promoting and supporting Jewish-Christian dialogue. Both the Cardinal and Father Tony Medeiros, the Rector of the Seminary, praised Rabbi Rosen for his exceptional efforts. In his acceptance speech, Rabbi Rosen acknowledged the important steps the Roman Catholic Church has taken to counter antisemitism. He also emphasised the importance of sharing wisdom through formal education programs.

Sayyed Jawad has recently been appointed to several new positions and has received an important interfaith award. He has recently been appointed the Director for Al-Khoei Foundation branch in Iraq, Najaf as well as the Assistant Secretary General of the Ahlulbayt Society in Amman. This month, Sayyed Jawad, along with Sheikh Khalid al Mulla, was awarded a prize from Canon Andrew White, FRRME ( Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East). The event provided a platform for over 120 faith leaders from different communities and religions and also played as host to individuals such as Lord Hylton and Lord Carey, who were amongst the special guests with Canon Andrew White.

Working for Understanding

Swami Amarananda has been very busy in the inter-religious domain in the recent weeks. Last month he addressed an inter-monastic group near Paris and spoke about the converging elements of Hindu and Christian  monasticism; the meeting was attended by Christian nuns and monks, Vedantic monks and a Sufi. Working towards future events, he is active in a working group created by the local Inter-religious Platform, for the observance of the Week of Religions in Geneva. Colleagues in this group are a Rabbi, a Bahai’e, and a Lutheran. The Week of Religions has been observed for the past few years on a national scale in Switzerland. At the same time, he is preparing for the observance of 27th October, the Day of Common Prayer in Assisi , in cooperation with a canon of St. Maurice Monastery (Europe’s oldest Christian monastery), a Tibetan monk, Fransiscans of St. Maurice, and a pastor interested in inter-religious dialogue. Swamiji is also organising a talk on the philosopher, philanthropist and mystic, Simone Weil, who was born into a Jewish family and who intensely practised mysticisms of different religions.

After participating in the March meeting of the Elijah Board of World Religious Leaders, Rabbi Yuval Cherlow published an important article condemning Rabbis who turn a blind eye to religious intolerance. The forcefully written piece, which reflected Rabbi Cherlow’s theological reflection as a result of the meeting, appeared in the May edition of a widely-read religious journal ‘Shabbat’. Entitled ‘We do not live alone’, the article implored Rabbis to recognize the value of dialogue and reminded them of their ethical duty to teach love and peace, not hatred or even indifference. This is a link to the article (in Hebrew).

Shrivatsa Goswami spent the 29th May to 19th June at the Seva festival at Sri Radharamana Temple, Vrindavan, India. The festival was attended by large number of people from all faiths, exploring the theme of ‘seva’ or ‘altruistic service’, through rituals, readings of texts, artistic presentations, music and dance. Sharings focused upon the values of love and service. From 19 July he has been at the Rasalila Festival at Vrindavan. The religious dance dramas, presenting the pastimes of Radha and Krishna in the evening and upon Chaitanya Mahapraphu’s life in the morning again, are great vehicle of presenting values of love and sharing.  Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was not only a great spiritual master and scholar, he had the vision to vigorously promote interreligious dialogue in 16th Century multi-faith India. Due to his and his followers’ dedication, Vrindavan, a Hindu Mecca, was created by the Muslim emperor Akbar and gifted to the Gosvamis of Vrindavan – a rare inter-faith feat.

Sayyed Jawad, in addition to his activities mentioned above, attended a conference at in April at Hamburg University to discuss issues for Arab Germans with the German protestant Church. He also recently attended a conference in Beirut, Lebanon, to discuss the major issues in creating understanding between the adherents of Christianity and Islam.

Making Headlines

“The Task and Responsibility of Religion in a Time of Globalization” was written by Dharma Master Hsin Tao, the founder of the Museum of World Religions, for the 13th Buddhist-Muslim Dialogue held in Indonesia on July 17-18th, 2012. After the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddha Statues and subsequent 911 terrorist attack in 2001, Master Hsin Tao responded by initiating a series of Buddhist-Muslim Dialogue, beginning in 2002. The dialogues seek to further understandings between Buddhists and Muslims in order for both sides to work together on many challenges in the 21th century that they face together. In the context of globalization, the article addresses issues that threaten human being’s survival on the planet. In a time of stress and anxiety, fostering people’s positive attitude towards these challenges and crises has become the task and responsibility of religion in a globalized world.

Request for Prayer

Swami Agnivesh has asked leaders to join him in prayer for the victims of the massacre of 19 poor adivasi boys, girls and men which recently shocked the Indian nation. He asks Elijah leaders to support the demands that the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh take moral responsibility for this gruesome incident, apologise to the Adivasi Community in particular and the nation in general and pay compensation to the family members of those killed.

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