Insights from Interfaith Youth Core on Violence at the Tree of Life Synagogue

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A Message from IFYC 

On Saturday morning, a hate-filled gunman entered the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA and killed eleven people as they celebrated Shabbat. Many others were gravely wounded, including four police officers. Since then, this act of anti-Semitic terrorism has been described as the worst attack on the Jewish community in U.S. history. 

Elsewhere in America this weekend, two African-Americans were killed merely for the color of their skin after a failed church shooting in Kentucky, and a Florida man sat in custody accused of sending at least thirty-one bombs to people with whom he disagreed politically. 

IFYC extends our deepest sympathy to those people and communities devastated by these recent acts. We stand with them in solidarity and in grief. 

Terrorism, racism, and anti-Semitism are outrageous. Yet they persist today in 2018. What is to be done? Who will do it? 

To those who want to do something: this is a time for interfaith leaders to act. 

  • Interfaith leaders see the other side, defending The Other and standing up to ensure their safety and right to thrive. 

  • Interfaith leaders work to educate others about the inspiring aspects of different faiths and worldviews. 

  • Interfaith leaders convene those in their communities, finding shared values and common concerns as a basis for working together. 

  • Interfaith leaders build and strengthen relationships across the kinds of lines that others refuse to cross through dialogue, service, and, sometimes, by sharing in others' grief or fear. 

Interfaith leaders build where others destroy. Today, we ask you to practice your interfaith leadership wherever you are. To help you, we've compiled a list of resources from IFYC and other organizations committed to pluralism to kickstart your outreach, guide your conversations and activities, and help you educate yourself, your friends, and your neighbors. 

In the coming days and weeks, we hope you will join us and others across the U.S. in acts of interfaith leadership big or small. 

Perhaps, as you face these challenges, you might contemplate this passage from the Jewish Mishnah: 

"It is not your responsibility to finish the work, but neither are you free to refrain from it." -Pirkei Avot 
 

List of Resources, Guides, and Other Media:

Interfaith Leadership in Times of Crisis - a discussion guide 

Responding to Hateful Incidents on Campus - constructive ways to respond to destructive acts 

Texts on the Shared Value of Hospitality - a workshop guide 

Identity: Moving Through the World in Challenging Times - from the Common Knowledge podcast 

Intersections: Race, Religion, and the Conversation after Charleston - from the Common Knowledge podcast 

Interfaith Cooperation in Judaism - from the Common Knowledge podcast 

The Case for Pluralism in a Divided Democracy - from the Common Knowledge podcast 

Incoming Jewish Students - findings from the Interfaith Diversity Experiences & Attitudes Longitudinal Survey (IDEALS) 

Elections and Interfaith Leadership Skills - a guide for campus and beyond 

Hillel International's list of vigils and remembrances for Pittsburgh happening on campuses across the U.S. 

Facing History and Ourselves offers excellent resources related to anti-Semitism, racism, and religious intolerance. 

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has published resources to help educators and parents discuss the Pittsburgh attack. 

Teaching Tolerance provides educators with powerful classroom resources focusing on religious and other forms of diversity in the U.S. 

We will be adding to this list as we learn more. Visit IFYC's Facebook and Twitterstreams for more information, including vigils and other events being held across the country. We also encourage you to follow our friends at HillelFacing History and OurselvesTeaching Tolerance, and the Anti-Defamation League for their continuing updates and opportunities. 

Thank you, 

The IFYC Team

Creating Peace in the Face of Hate - Kids4Peace

Creating Peace in the Face of Hate

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This has been a painful week for those of us who seek peace. 

Across the USA, Kids4Peace has joined rallies and vigils to stand up against hate and recommit to creating a world of understanding and justice.  

We mourn the eleven people killed at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, targeted because of their Jewish religion.   Kids4Peace members have relatives and friends in this synagogue, so the violence hits close to home.  In our anger and sadness, we are reaching out to support one another.  

We know, too, that this was not the only act of hate last week.  Maurice Stallard and Vickie Lee Jones were murdered in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, because of the color of their skin.  Public leaders were targeted with pipe bombs, because of their politics.  And the US government took steps to eliminate protections for trans people, risking their safety and threatening to erase their identity. 

Kids4Peace exists because we live in a broken, unjust, and violent world. We feel the anger, frustration and pain in our own communities and others. And still we believe, deep in our hearts and spirits, that a better reality is possible … if we build it together.  This is our mission: to create the more peaceful communities that we long to see.  

Every day, through dialogue and activism, Kids4Peace youth are creating more safe, just, and inclusive communities.   We celebrate our individual differences – religion, race, gender identity, political beliefs, and more – and work to create a world where these are seen not as a threat, but as a source of strength.  And where the dignity of all people is respected and honored. 

We will not allow hate and violence to win.  We will continue to stand together, to speak up, and to take action. 

Resources for Speaking with Youth  

Dialogue about Acts of Hate & Violence
Download a PDF dialogue guide to help youth process the events of this week.  

  • Create space to acknowledge emotions.  

  • Give and receive care – for self and others.

  • Take steps to continue working for peace. 

Help a Food Pantry Out - Be a secret Angel for CAIN

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Churches Active in Northside (CAIN)-

YOU can be a CAIN "Secret Angel" and make a brighter Christmas season for those most in need.  

You will light up a child's life when she reads her new book, bring a smile to teenager as he uses his new bath and body items, and encourage a family gathered around a table enjoying a wonderful meal!

Donation
Drop-Off
times:
CAIN: 4230 Hamilton Ave.
Mondays @ 6-8 p.m.Tuesdays & Thursdays @ 10 a.m.-1 p.m.Saturday, Dec. 1st @ 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
 OR
CAIN table at Northside Farmers Market
North Church, 4222 Hamilton Ave.
Wednesdays 4 to 7pm

AJC Calls on Cincinnati Community to #ShowUpForShabbat

AJC Calls on Cincinnati Community to #ShowUpForShabbat 

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November 1, 2018 – New York – AJC is urging the Cincinnati Jewish community, as well as civic and religious leaders, to flock to synagogues on Friday night and Saturday morning, November 2-3. The #ShowUpForShabbat initiative was launched by AJC after the horrific attack at Tree of Life Or L’Simcha Congregation in Pittsburgh, which left 11 Jewish worshipers dead and another six people wounded.

“We must speak out and stand up against those who target Jews. Coming to synagogue this Shabbat will send a clear, strong message that Jews are not afraid,” said Cathy Heldman, AJC Cincinnati regional director. “We know today that Jews are not alone. In our country, in our city, elected officials as well as other religious and ethnic communities recognize that an attack on any faith is clearly an attack on all faiths.”

The AJC Cincinnati initiative is part of a worldwide effort by the American Jewish Committee, a leading global advocacy organization, to fill synagogues in a demonstration of solidarity and unity against anti-Semitism and hate. Representatives from AJC’s 22 offices across the United States are reaching out to clergy, diplomats, local government officials, and other community leaders to encourage them to participate in the #ShowUpForShabbat campaign, while the organization’s 11 international offices are working with partners in over 35 Jewish communities around the globe to launch similar initiatives locally.

From New York to New Zealand and from Utah to the UK, thousands of Jews and people of all faiths are pledging to #ShowUpForShabbat this weekend in solidarity with Pittsburgh’s Jewish community and sending a resounding message that love triumphs over hate.

Other local, national, and international Jewish organizations are being asked to encourage their members to participate in the campaign. Synagogues are being called upon to welcome the anticipated influx of attendees at their Shabbat services with explanatory programming, and rabbis are being asked to dedicate their sermons to discussing the initiative. 

Social media users are being encouraged to tweet and post about their plans to attend Shabbat services this weekend using the hashtag #ShowUpForShabbat.

For more information, contact the AJC Cincinnati office at cincinnati@ajc.org.

Mary in the Abrahamic Religions

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The WINC’s, or Women’s Interfaith Network of Northern Cincinnati Suburbs group, hosted “Mary in the Abrahamic Faiths” on October 8th. This talented and friendship seeking group of women have been meeting for several years sharing their faith stories, religious practices, visiting each others places of worship, participating in prayer services, celebrating cultural events and working together for those in need. As they are able to share their faiths, they discovered a common woman of strength, courage and deep faith in God. Her name is Mary or Miriam from the Abrahamic Religions. The scriptures each tell a different story, but the same truths are prevalent. The stories of Mary and Miriam in each of the Hebrew, Christian, Muslim, and Baha’i sacred scriptures describe woman with a passionate heart, always putting God first in her life even when it meant she could be expelled from her own community. Some faiths describe her as a great prophet, others a beautiful creature of God, others describe her as the Mother to us all. This woman of ancient times seeks truth and justice. Her strength is unbreakable to the cultural norms or to the persecution of her people. Her heart is honest and compassionate. She knows the poor and the oppressed. She desires freedom and equality. She magnify’s God’s greatness to the world to through her words and actions. Mary and Miriam exemplify a truth, the reality of God’s grace.

Festival of Faiths Seeking Volunteers

Festival of Faiths Seeking Volunteers

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You can be part of the inaugural Cincinnati Festival of Faiths as a volunteer!  

Volunteers are needed to help with all aspects of this gathering, including:

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  • assisting and directing exhibitors and vendors in unloading from their vehicles and transporting materials to their tables;
  • serving as staging assistants for entertainment acts by moving equipment, etc.;
  • serving as greeter or a guide to direct participants to “conversation” rooms;
  • manning the volunteer check-in table.

When you sign up, you will be able to choose the time-shift(s) you are available to work. You will receive a t-shirt and credit for community service hours, if needed for your school or another organization. Once you sign up, you just need to check in at the volunteer table the day of the event at the beginning of your shift and you will be given your specific duties. 

Sign up here

BRIDGES OF FAITH TRIALOGUE TO HOST CINCINNATI’S FIRST FESTIVAL OF FAITHS

Greater Cincinnati’s first-ever Festival of Faiths on Sunday, June 24, 2018, at Xavier University’s Cintas Center will bring together neighbors, families and spiritual leaders to celebrate the area’s religious diversity. The day will feature faith-based exhibits, dialogues, workshops, art, music and fun activities for all ages. The event is free and open to the public.

Modeled after popular long-standing festivals in Louisville and Indianapolis, Cincinnati’s festival will showcase the many faith traditions of our region. It also includes a day of community service for interfaith groupings of volunteers. Read more..

Call to Action: Protect: Protect Immigrant Children and Families

Protect immigrant children and families seeking safety and shelter from violence by keeping these families together.

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Please send a message to Congress TODAY!

The following is an important action alert from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

'When we look to our southern border, where migrant families who are escaping various forms of violence and persecution in their homeland are being routinely separated. Since October 2017, over 700 children have been separated from their parents and rendered "unaccompanied," including over 100 children under the age of four. On May 4, 2018, the Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS) stated that it will refer all individuals who cross the border without authorization for criminal prosecution, including adult members of family units. If implemented, this policy will undoubtedly lead to a drastic increase in incidences of family separation.'

 CALL TO ACTION

Send a message to Congress and ask that they protect immigrant children and families seeking safety and shelter from violence by keeping these families together.  You can send this message immediately here.  Or, share this message to your U.S. Senators and Representative by phone.  Locate their contact information here.


Send the following message to your U.S. Senators and Representative:

Dear Senator/Representative,
Children are vulnerable and should not be separated from their parents. The family is a foundational element of our Faith teaching and family unity is a cornerstone of our American immigration system.

Separating parents from their children will not deter families from seeking safety and security in the U.S. Such a policy will not cure the pervasive root causes of migration existing in the violent areas of Central America. Furthermore, a policy of separating families at the border will be extremely costly to the U.S. taxpayer, costing hundreds of dollars/night per family.


 I urge you to recognize the importance of family unity and use your oversight capabilities to:
(1) Tell DHS Not to Separate Families
(2) Prevent DHS from Receiving Funding for This Harmful and Costly Practice
(3) Propose More Humane Solutions, Such As Alternatives to Detention.

Bridges of Faith Trialogue to host Cincinnati’s first Festival of Faiths

Bridges of Faith Trialogue to host Cincinnati’s first Festival of Faiths

Greater Cincinnati’s first-ever Festival of Faiths on Sunday, June 24, 2018, at Xavier University’s Cintas Center will bring together neighbors, families and spiritual leaders to celebrate the area’s religious diversity. The day will feature faith-based exhibits, dialogues, workshops, art, music and fun activities for all ages.  The event is free and open to the public. 

Modeled after popular long-standing festivals in Louisville and Indianapolis, Cincinnati’s festival will showcase the many faith traditions of our region. It also includes a day of community service for interfaith groupings of volunteers.

Organized by the local Bridges of Faith Trialogue, the Festival’s objectives are to promote awareness of Greater Cincinnati’s religious diversity, celebrate the variety of cultural contributions to our community’s quality of life, and educate families about the world’s religions.   

The theme for this inaugural event is “Compassion through Action” in recognition of the role the faith community has historically played and continues to play in advancing a civil, socially just and welcoming community for all who live, work and visit Greater Cincinnati.  The event will also serve to unify our community, focusing on our similarities and celebrating our differences. 

Co-Chairing the Festival’s Steering Committee are the Rev. Canon Manoj Zacharia, sub-dean of Christ Church Cathedral, Sandy Kaltman, president of the local American Jewish Committee, and Maria Munir, a board member of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati.   Heading up the Program Committee are the Brueggeman Center’s James Buchanan Ph.D., Umama Alam of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati, Sarah Weiss, director of the Holocaust and Humanity Center, and Nazly Mamedova, an attorney with Wanglaw.

“Religions worldwide contribute in many ways to the soul of a community – its values, mores, human relations and ultimately its progress. Regardless of creed, religions universally lift up compassion as a pathway to enrich spiritual and personal relationships that build a community’s vibrancy and livability for all,” said Maria Munir, Festival Co-Chair.

Contact:    Chip Harrod   Email:       cincifestivaloffaiths@gmail.com

More details about the event will be shared in the coming months. Or contact cincifestivaloffaiths@gmail.com.

Kids for Peace: Growing and Expanding Offerings

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Kids4Peace Cincinnati:  Growing and Expanding Offerings

2017 was a year of significant growth for Kids4Peace Cincinnati.  The number of campers doubled from the first camp in 2016. Twenty -one campers attended camp, and several of those were members who had attended the first camp in 2016.  The second-year campers continued to build on some of the skills learned in the first year and facilitated some of the sessions for the new first- year campers.  A few of those first- year campers remarked that they really enjoyed having the other campers teaching the sessions.  At completion of the Day Camp, families and friends of the campers joined in for an interfaith pot luck dinner.  More than 60 people attended that dinner, and now the pot luck dinners are continuing throughout the year.

We also expanded the year-round sessions for the campers.  The new friends, made during the Day Camp session, were invited to get together again and attend additional programs throughout the year.  Some of the sessions included:  planting a “Peace Garden” on a beautiful spot donated from Spring Grove Cemetery.  Additionally, members attended and observed services of all three faiths.  After the services, the friends again gathered for discussion and fellowship. Always food!  The campers met with students from Adath Israel Congregation and the Avondale Center to celebrate Martin Luther King Day.

Another popular event was to attend a Xavier Women’s Basketball game and joined the team courtside for a group photo.

Kids4Peace Cincinnati is now participating in additional Cincinnati Community programs, such as presenting programs for congregations and Vacation Bible Schools and will be represented at this year’s Cincinnati Festival of Faiths on June 24.

We are extremely happy to announce that registration is now open for the 3rd. Annual Kids4Peace Cincinnati, July 30-August 3, 2018. This year’s program has expanded to include another day of fun. Several campers have already registered!  Please join that fun. Make new friends, share experiences, learn to stand together, and become a voice as a PeaceBuilder” in our local community. Also, you will have a wonderful time!

For questions go to Cincinnati@kids4peace.org.  To register, go to K4P.org/summer programs

IJPC - Clean Dream Act Prayer Vigil

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'IJPC held a press conference with two YES members that have DACA and the President of Xavier University to remind Congress of their March 5 deadline to pass a clean Dream Act. At the event, three Sisters of Charity shared their experience in Washington DC this week with civil disobedience during a Catholic Day of Action for Dreamers. Watch the livestream on Facebook, and be sure to read the press release.

Continue calling Congress to pass a clean Dream Act: 

IJPC's own José Cabrera stood next to Fr. Graham, SJ, president of Xavier University, who said, "Jose, you make Xavier University very proud because you are a young man living your life for and with others the way we urge all of our students to do." We'd have to agree!

Congress' March 5 deadline approaches on Monday. Although our efforts to pass a clean Dream Act will not stop, we invite you to gather for a prayer vigil to mark the day.

Prayer Vigil for a Clean Dream Act
Monday, March 5, at 5:00 p.m.
Outside Senator Rob Portman's Office
312 Walnut Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Corner of 3rd & Walnut

Join our Facebook event page.

Now is the time to show up and speak out. We must keep pressuring Congress to act. We need a permanent solution for DACA, and that solution is a clean Dream Act.'