On November 23, Imam Shamsi Ali of the Islamic Cultural Center of New York joined with Rabbi Klein in a dialogue that took place at the Merrick Jewish Centre in Merrick NY. It was an important evening as a conjoint effort to begin to build bridges of understanding between the Jewish and Islamic communities began in our little place in the world. The discussion touched on many important issues. Please check out the follow link for other clips from this meeting.
This dialog, I believe was a hopeful thing. Often I have felt some discomfort when politics of religion have come up at synagogue. Often there is open hostility expressed about Islam from some, and perhaps less open but still there is strong distrust from others. In fact my husband is fond of telling me I live in an Utopian world...but that the rest of the world isn't there with me. Of course I am aware of the vast difficulties, pain and suffering that abounds in the world, and in particular in relationship to the Israeli /Arab situation. Yet I hold strongly to my beliefs that hope and peace are the only way. Hatred begets hatred, aggression begets aggression. Growing understand is a way of watering the seeds of hope.
I was happy to see the Rabbi go down this path. Often his very vocal and consistent support for Israel, an Israel right or wrong stance, can feel anti Islamic at times.....this just might be my perception. I too support Israel, but sometimes feel extremely frustrated by some of the actions taken there. This meeting of religious leaders has helped to calm my judging mind and water my seeds of hope that even more change is possible.
Hoping for hope is a good thing!