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Forty New Orlinian Christian, Muslim and Jewish Clergy Engage Over Each Other's Texts and the Challenges They Present


March 29, 2011 - NEW ORLEANS, LA

More than 40 New Orleans Muslim, Jewish and Christian clergy from a spectrum of denominations and movements joined the convention of the world's Reform rabbis to engage in a dialogue on potentially divisive texts, utilizing them as an avenue for exploring wider issues.

The goal of the event, which took place at the 122nd annual convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR), was to renew mutual understanding and reach new insights about interreligious approaches to addressing societal problems and advancing civil society.

The New Orleans clergy sat in circles with attendees of the convention, which includes 500 Reform rabbis from all over North America. (CCAR is the professional organization of nearly 2,000 Reform rabbis, the world's largest group of Jewish clergy.) The starting point of each discussion was a critical look at select texts, including Ecclesiastes 12 and 13, Galatians 3, Babylonian Talmud Berkhot 6b, Qur'An 9:5 (Repentance) and Qur'An 3:110 (Family of Imran).

Among the reflections shared:

  • We are not alone in struggling with our own texts. Clergy of different faiths find commonalities in shared struggles.

  • Dialogue is particularly valuable in our divisive era.

  • Religious leaders of different faiths experience the same God, but in distinct ways.

  • Interreligious dialogue elevates a spirit of cooperation, which is especially important, given the destructiveness of intolerance.

  • Openness is extraordinary and brings a deeper appreciation of other denominations and movements.

Event leaders included Rabbi Robert H. Loewy of Congregation Gates of Prayer in Metairie, LA; Imam Omar Suleiman, Imam of Masjid Abu Bakr (Jefferson Muslim Association) in New Orleans; Reverend Don Frampton, Senior Pastor of St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church in New Orleans; Rabbi Denise L. Eger, Rabbi of Congregation Kol Ami in West Hollywood, CA.

This program was made possible by the generous support of the Leichtag Family Foundation as well as Men for Reform Judaism.

Note to Journalists: To attend the CCAR Convention, obtain schedule of events or to arrange a conversation with the leaders of the CCAR, please contact Itay Engelman at Sommerfield Communications at 212-255-8386 or itay@sommerfield.com.

About the Central Conference of American Rabbis 2011 Convention

The 122nd annual Central Conference American Rabbis convention is taking place in New Orleans, Louisiana, through March 30. More than 500 Reform Rabbis have gathered to share plans to build and maintain communities. Highlights include sessions on interfaith dialogue, sustainability and custodianship of the Earth.

About The CCAR

The Central Conference of American Rabbis, founded in 1889, is the oldest and largest rabbinic organization in North America. As the professional organization for Reform Rabbis, the CCAR projects a powerful voice in the religious life of the American and international Jewish communities. The CCAR has a rich history of giving professional and personal support to Reform rabbis, providing them opportunities for study, professional development and spiritual growth throughout their careers, and into retirement. The CCAR is uniquely positioned to meet the ever-changing needs of the Reform Jewish community. For more information please visit the CCAR's website at http://ccarnet.org/.

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Contact:
Itay Engelman
Sommerfield Communications, Inc.
212-255-8386
itay@sommerfield.com

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