Dear friends of the Interfaith Movement: In January of 2022, the Rabbi and several members of a synagogue in Houston, Texas, were taken hostage by a gun-wielding British Pakistani, during sabbath services. In the end, the hostages were safely released. But, the incident itself could …
Rev. Dr. Thomas J. Bodie, AAIC Chair of Spiritual Life’s letter in the Akron Beacon Journal: A little more than three years ago, this nation stood transfixed by a senseless act of mass murder at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. Antisemitism had reared its head …
The First One Hundred Days: Promises Made, Promises Kept?
April 6, 13, 20, 27, May 4, 7:00-8:15 pm
Because of the importance of an individual’s religious/spiritual choices in developing his or her values, faith communities can contribute to the development of a more just, humane, and ecologically responsible society. This central organizing principle of the Akron Area Interfaith Council (AAIC) underlies it social justice work in our community. In that spirit, AAIC announces a public discussion series, examining new national policy initiatives in five issue areas identified by the Biden Administration in setting its initial agenda: immigration, healthcare access, racial justice, climate change, and economic justice. We hope to contribute opportunity for education and conversation around new national level policies and on the impact of these changes on the Akron metro region.
These free, virtual gatherings will be held on five successive Tuesday evenings, running April 6-May 4, from 7-8 PM. Moderated by local media personality M.L. Schultze, each evening will feature a presentation on the subject, with two responses out of the Akron Area faith community, followed by a question/answer period for attendees. Please join us for the following evenings:
April 6: Immigration Justice
Dr. Steven Volk, Emeritus Professor of History/Latin American Studies, Oberlin College
Dr. Khalid Madhi, Islamic Society of Akron and Kent
Sr. Juliana Beck, OSU, Catholic Worker Community of Akron
April 13: Healthcare Access
Dr. Kristin Kranz, Metro Health Hospital
Yvonka Marie Hall, Executive Director, NE Ohio Black Health Coalition, Christian
April 20: Racial Justice
Judi Hill, Executive Director, NAACP Akron
Rev. Dr. Joyce Penfield, Episcopal Priest
Pastor David Nelson, New Hope Baptist Church
April 27: Climate Change
William S. Jordan, Retired Associate Dean and Professor, Akron Law School
Sr. Marguerite Chandler, Former Director, Crown Point Ecology Center
Bhakta Rizal, Founder, Shanti Farms
May 4: Economic Justice
Brant T. Lee, Professor of Law, University of Akron School of Law,
Assistant Dean of Diversity and Social Justice Initiatives
Rabbi Joshua Brown, Temple Israel
Rev. Michael Howard, Living Waters United Church of Christ
The Akron Area Interfaith Council and the local interfaith community stand in solidarity with the Asian American community as it grieves the many incidents of racism and bigotry that have increased in the last year. We join with you in combating this bigotry and will …
Interfaith council condemns violence The Akron Area Interfaith Council condemns the invasion into the Capitol building on Jan. 6, putting legislators and all personnel at risk for harm. While protests are appropriate for raising often unheard voices, this was a blatant disregard for property and the …
You are invited to our screening featuring a civil rights advocate and hero named Hesburgh. He is in the hearts of many he fought for and will be the star of this event. Please come and social distancing and masks are required for this event. You can RSVP via event brite https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hesburgh-one-ordinary-man-one-extraordinary-life-tickets-123409431933
and more information on facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/650701892518107/.
We will see you there!
Attend the next Interfaith Vigil Stand Together: Interfaith Vigil Against Racism Sunday August 16 from 2pm-3:30pm. Masks and Social distancing required. Will be broadcasted live on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/secondbaptistchurchakronohio and here: http://www.facebook.com/AkronInterfaith. See flyer for more information! Contact: Rev. Dr. Joyce Penfield, 401-369-1514 or Alan Fortnoff 330-903-0982, firstname.lastname@example.org …
Prayer from the Jewish Faith:
Mi Sheberach in English Translation
May the One who blessed our ancestors —
Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
Matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah —
bless and heal the one who is ill:
________________ son/daughter of ________________ .
May the Holy Blessed One
overflow with compassion upon him/her,
to restore him/her,
to heal him/her,
to strengthen him/her,
to enliven him/her.
The One will send him/her, speedily,
a complete healing —
healing of the soul and healing of the body —
along with all the ill,
among the people of Israel and all humankind,
and let us all say: Amen!
You can also access this prayer for the sick here.
From Steve Cotler, CEO of Bend the Arc:
Before a tsunami hits the coastline, all the water recedes. Where there was, minutes ago, ocean, there is suddenly all that it once covered. The muck and debris, crustaceans scuttling and fish gasping for air all briefly exposed before the wave comes with terrifying ferocity.
One week into the first significant efforts to flatten the curve of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, and it feels like we are waiting for the full force of the wave.
As the water recedes, as society is reshaped by physical distancing, as schools close and millions lose their jobs, we can see with startling clarity what may have been previously obscured. A healthcare system designed for profit, not care. Historic levels of wealth inequality, economic insecurity, personal debt, and homelessness. Corruption and profiteering at the highest levels of our democratic institutions. Growing authoritarianism powered by bigotry and xenophobia, paired with incompetence. The costs of unchecked capitalism. Centuries of structural racial inequalities.
These chronic dangers were all present before the pandemic — millions of families have been living with their consequences for years. With incredible urgency, the pandemic has revealed their interconnectedness, as well as our collective ability to solve them.
In the face of the coming wave we can see with new clarity that our fates are intertwined. Even our current physical isolation is an act of social solidarity. We can see that none of us are safe until all of us are safe. None of us are free until all of us are free.
In our Jewish tradition, water is often fundamental to new beginnings: the flood before a reborn world; a baby Moses floats down the Nile to his safety and ultimately the liberation of an entire people; a sea splits, opening the way towards the promised land; new Jews are welcomed into klal yisrael, our peoplehood, through an immersion in the ritual bath. Another world is possible, and this moment is revealing exactly how necessary it is.
We can build it together.
The wave is coming, and we have a choice to make. Will we advance an inclusive and vibrant vision for our country, where we are all free and safe, no matter where we come from or what we look like? Or will we allow ourselves to be further divided by fear, bigotry, and lies, and overtaken by the authoritarianism and greed of politicians who want to create a country that’s only for themselves?
Covid-19 has laid bare the dangerous incompetencies, insufficiencies, and misplaced priorities of this administration, which puts both our health, and our democracy, at grave risk. They’ve wasted time, downplayed risk, stoked racism against Asian Americans, and peddled false hope. They are responsible for a lack of preparation and insufficient testing that has exacerbated the crisis. We cannot let an administration that would trade public health for the performance of the stock market exploit this moment of uncertainty to clamp down on our rights, further concentrate wealth and power, and push extremist policies that harm targeted communities. There is no question that their choices will cost lives — the question is how many.
The wave is coming, but we can unite together to shape the world that follows. Our collective actions in the coming weeks will determine the long-term impact that the current public health, political, and moral crises will have on our society. Our decisions as American Jews will shape the character of our community for generations to come.
It is precisely in moments of acute crisis and threats to our immediate well-being that we must also look beyond the here and now, and envision the tomorrow we wish to create. While we make sure that everyone afflicted with Covid-19 receives the care they need, let us also commit to healthcare for all. While we work to suspend mortgage payments for those recently unemployed, let us also address the crushing debt that shackles communities. While we make sure that those suffering on the front lines of economic collapse can endure, let us also look to ensuring living wages for every worker in this country. Let us not only survive in the present, but build for the future of a just economy, an inclusive democracy and a compassionate society.
Ultimately, this new virus isn’t about a “foreign” invasion, the stock market, or a re-election campaign. It’s about us. As humans, we are each a potential carrier of this virus. Like bigotry, racism, and xenophobia, we are capable of spreading it. But we can also be agents for change. We can spread hope, inspiration, and solidarity, too. The choice is ours.
The wave is coming, and it will knock us down. The only way we rise back up is together, as one.
P.S. This moment calls for our solidarity, our compassion, our resilience.
From Green Faith Interfaith Partners in Action for the Earth:
As people of faith and spirit, we are thinking about and praying for all the people across the world whose health and economic situation is affected by COVID-19.
In a moment like this, our faith and spiritual practice give us the moral courage to turn towards great challenges–not away from them–and to profoundly change our societies. People of faith have done so before, and we do so now.
This is the time for bold transformation.
This is the time to connect with each other, to build relationships with our neighbors, and to use our collective power and resources to support our entire communities.
Already, we are seeing places of worship step up to support their members and communities. We are seeing individuals reach out to their neighbors, and offer support.
As people of faith and spirit, we commit to:
• Continuing to check in with and support our neighbors;
• Providing as much spiritual, emotional, and material support as we can;
• Sharing with each other and only taking what we need.
We call on decision makers to:
• Implement policies that ensure love, justice, and compassion for the most vulnerable among us;
• Ensure healthcare, paid sick leave, and food and shelter for all;
• Protect everyone’s human rights and dignity.
We have a moral responsibility to build that healthy society together–a society rooted in love, justice, and compassion.
Let’s join together across the world.
As people of faith and spirit, we believe that the measurement of a healthy society is how we treat those who are the most vulnerable.