Our September newsletter focused on Muslim-Jewish relations, and if you've not had the chance to see it yet, it's definitely worth checking out. It gives an overview of our sources on topics from Muslim antisemitism in Sweden, to Jewish-Muslim cooperation, Jewish opposition to the proposed WTC mosque, the ongoing impact of 9/11 on Jewish-Muslim relations in America, memoirs of Jews from Muslim lands, and, of course, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict - and much more.
On a related note - the following public statement, written by Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer and cosigned by a group of Rabbis and Jewish educators, was recently released:
As inter-religious educators who work with rabbinical students from all denominations, we are deeply dismayed by some of the ignorance and confusion we have heard expressed in the national conversation surrounding the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque.” We are especially concerned when we hear such ignorance and confusion coming from within the Jewish community. Whatever happens with the proposed community center in lower Manhattan, the controversy has highlighted a question that, in the post 9/11 world, comes enmeshed in strong emotion: Is the American ideal of religious liberty—an ideal fundamental to the health of our democracy—expansive enough to include Muslim Americans? We urge rabbis across the country to speak out against the bigotry that has been unleashed by this controversy, and to assert leadership on the issue of religious pluralism. As Jews, we know all too well the destructive power of hate speech. We should be in the forefront of efforts to ensure that religious minorities can practice their traditions freely.
We encourage our students and colleagues in the rabbinate—Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist, Renewal, and independent—to consider using this September 11th, also Shabbat Shuva, as a time to reflect with our communities on our own fears and prejudices, on the need to educate ourselves about Islam, and on the role Jews might play in helping to create a more inclusive and just society. Of course, this is not to preclude any memorial prayers or other ways of remembering those who were killed on 9/11.
We are posting resources of general interest on www.multifaithworld.com. We are also developing a collection of sample sermons. Please be in touch with one of us if you have a contribution you would like to share.
We look forward to hearing your responses.
Rabbi Justus Baird Director, Center for Multifaith Education, Auburn Theological Seminary
Rabbi Reuven Firestone Professor of Medieval Jewish and Islamic Studies, HUC-JIR/Los Angeles Senior Fellow, Center for Religion and Civic Culture, University of Southern California
Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer Director, Department of Multifaith Studies and Initiatives and Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
Rabbi Or Rose Associate Dean, Rabbinical School of Hebrew College Co-Director, Center for Interreligious Leadership Education
Raquel Ukeles, PhD Golda Meir Fellow, Hebrew University of Jerusalem Academic Director, World Leadership Program Jewish Scholar, Luce Retreat for Emerging Muslim and Jewish Religious Leaders
Rabbi Burton Visotsky Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies and Director, Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies, Jewish Theological Seminary of America