So I attended my first interfaith event today at Temple Shalom in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
The first lady that I spoke to said that she wasn’t any one religion.
When I asked more about this, she said:
The core to all religions is Rachamim (mercy, compassion) and Ahavah (love).
Pictured above are the table seating cards that directed people to sit next to people of other religions: Jewish, Muslim, Other.
The event was led by the One America Movement, and the Director, Andrew Hanauer spoke very well about bridging what divides us.
Here are some of the take-a-ways:
– We need to address the divisiveness, polarization, and conflict.
– Remember that we are talking with other human beings and not with labels.
– Polarization is not just issues, but devolves into identity–“I hate your stupid face!”
– But we are all human beings (and children of G-d).
– Republicans and Democrats each say that the other is 20% less human than they are.
– We all have our own “facts”: My facts vs. Your Facts.
– We attribute good that happens to us as being because of “us,” but bad that happens to us because of “them.”
– Similarly, we believe that we act out of love, but they act out of hate–and:
– We interpret threats to our viewpoints (political and otherwise), as threats to our groups and to ourselves.
– Try to remove binary thinking (right and wrong, left and right, etc.), critique your own point of view, and share doubts
– Reconciliation: If we can cross the divide, have open dialogue, and positive interactions with each others, and develop cross-cutting identities then we will make it easier to counter divisive narratives, solve problems, and reduce violence.
(Source Photos: Andy Blumenthal)