Peace Through Interfaith - Women Led Prayer Service on Fountain Square

“I am Joseph Your Brother!” ~ Genesis 45:4

On December 16th on Fountain Square, an interfaith prayer service was planned by a group of women from AJC of Cincinnati, Christ Church Cathedral and Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati. This Biblical quote was one of many speeches and prayers said by a committed group of women from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Mormon, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh faiths in response to the growing climate of intolerance and violence.   The significance to this Biblical passage is that it was quoted by Pope John XXIII in 1960 in a historical moment between the Jewish and Christian faiths.  Pope John XXIII was presented with the Torah scrolls for saving the lives of Jews during the Holocaust.  He responded with the statement, "We are all sons of the same Heavenly Father. Among us there must ever be the brightness of love and its practice."  He concluded by quoting Genesis 45:4 by stating, "I am Joseph, your brother."   From Scripture, Joseph's brothers were seeking refuge in a foreign land, not knowing they had to plead with the brother they had rejected. Yet, Joseph responded and welcomed them.  We are challenged again today with the refugee at our door.  How are we going to treat them?  The prayer service brought solidarity across faiths in hopes of peace and unity. Together through their prayers and songs, they demonstrated the common language that all faiths share in regards to the love we should have for our brothers and sisters.  

 "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!" ~ Psalm 133:1

Celebrating 'America's Table' - AJC Diversity Lunch and Dialogue by Judie Kuhlman

On November 19, AJC Cincinnati Chapter along with Xavier's Brueggeman Center for Dialogue hosted their 15th Annual Diversity Lunch entitled America’s Table, celebrating our diverse roots and shared values.  Many were on hand representing various traditions, organizations and faith backgrounds.  The community gave thanks in prayer, shared a meal together and expressed their own family's journey to remind us all of the very first Thanksgiving meal.  The AJC invited guest speaker, Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco who was elected Hamilton County Coroner.  She was the first female coroner and Asian Indian ever elected to a political position in Hamilton County.  She is a board certified neuroradiologist and attended University of Cincinnati.  Dr. Sammarco shared her journey as an immigrant to the United States from a small village in India.  Her life story exemplified the hard work and support from her family as well as the opportunities she sought out in her community.  One important aspect to this year's lunch was the addition of table talks.  The luncheon provided a safe environment to discuss important issues concerning the Syrian Refugee Crisis.  With more than 4 million refugees from Syria relocated to just 5 countries, it is time to ask what is our country doing?  What can I do?   Each table discussed the current political climate of accepting refugees into our country, how Cincinnati can support immigrants and impact of the non-profit identification cards for the immigrant population.  The final topic covered bullying in light of the adopted Chinese girl, Emilie Olsen, who committed suicide because of race/ethnic bullying at school.  These topics may be sensitive, but well needed dialogue in our community.  As the community expressed in unison, “Many of us were immigrants and refugees from all regions of the world, fleeing afflictions of poverty and oppression.  Drawn by the promise of a better life, we chose America and she took us into safe harbor.”

For more information or continued dialogue please contact AJC Cincinnati Chapter.