Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 6, 2000
Historic dialogue involves Jews, Christians, Muslims
Special to the WCR
A symposium for Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders and educators this month will be an historic first for Edmonton.
The March 19-21 event will be the first time representatives of the three faiths have come together for a dialogue in the city.
The international event is sponsored by the Centre for Christian Jewish Understanding (CCJU) of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., and the Edmonton Interfaith Centre for Education and Action.
Participants from the three faiths that trace their roots to Abraham will study each others' beliefs and practices and respond in discussion.
The Edmonton symposium is one of four scheduled for 2000 and 2001 focusing on various aspects of the theme What Do I Want Others to Know and Teach About My Faith, with Edmonton's topic looking at the theme from a historical perspective.
The first event took place in Jerusalem last month. Following the Edmonton symposium there will be dialogues in Louisville, Ky., and the Vatican.
The four country symposium is being spearheaded by Rabbi Joseph Ehrenkranz, executive director of the CCJU.
Organizers believe the potential for racial harmony and peace among world nations is enhanced by the development of racial harmony and peace among the followers of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim religions.
The education of religious leaders is an important step toward religious understanding and harmony among the followers of these faiths.
The first program for the symposium will be held in conjunction with the annual interfaith prayer service held to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
The service will take place at 7 p.m., Sunday, March 19 at City Hall. Ehrenkranz will be the keynote speaker.
The dialogues will take place Monday and Tuesday at Beth Shalom Synagogue.
The first presentation will be given at 9 a.m. Monday by Dr. Derek Penslar. Penslar holds the Samuel Zacks Chair in Jewish History at the University of Toronto. An expert in modern Jewish history, Penslar writes about the history of the Zionist movement, the state of Israel, international Jewish philanthropy and Jewish economic history.
Monday afternoon's session is led by Dr. Leonard Swidler, professor of Catholic thought and interreligious dialogue at Temple University, Philadelphia. He is the author or editor of more than 40 books and over 130 articles. Swidler has founded and served on many interreligious dialogues and boards.
On Tuesday morning beginning at 9 a.m. Dr. Jamal Badawi will lead a presentation on behalf of the Muslim faith. Badawi is a professor at Saint Mary's University in Halifax where he teaches a course on Islamic religious tradition for the religious studies department.
He is the author of several works on Islam and has also produced over 350 half-hour TV programs on Islam.
The conference will be of interest to faith leaders, community leaders, and others who have an understanding of their own faith group. Teachers and religious studies students are also encouraged to attend.
For more information contact Rosaleen Zdunich at the Edmonton Interfaith Centre at 413-6159 or Neil Loomer at Beth Shalom Synagogue, 488-6515.