MIRG

Memphis Inter-Religious Group

http://MemphisIRG.org

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HOME PAGE

Most people come here to look at the EVENTS LIST, Click Here.                           page modified 9/30/2016

Who are we and what is this about?  See our About Us page by clicking HERE.

We have a more-or-less weekly e-mail newsletter.
You can subscribe or unsubscribe by e-mailing admin@memphisirg.org
or by joining at https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/memphisirg   
where you will also find some of our recent newsletters


Notes are placed first on the "Events page", then moved here later.

Sept 4, 2016:

Monetary donations for Baton Rouge Flood relief -
https://memphis.secure-fedweb.jewishfederations.org/page/contribute/batonrougefloodrelief

The Memphis Islamic Center is pleased to announce the appointment of Br. Safi Khan as our new Youth and Outreach Director.
St. John's Episcopal announces the new choirmaster and Organist is Mr. Brandon Dumas

The Muslim month of Dhul-Hijjah began Sept 2.  The mosque sermon I attended on Sept 2 would have been just at home in a synagogue one month from now. Last year the calendars were in unusual synchronization but the Jewish calendar had a leap month last spring and we are now off by a month. This month for the Muslims, next month for the Jews, good deeds count extra in the first ten days, with each religion's most solemn holiday on the tenth day of the month. Eid El-Adha, when the Muslims commemorate Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son (Ishmael), is on September 12.
Jews have Rosh Hashanah (the new year) starting at sunset October 2, with Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) starting at sunset on October 11.



August 22, 2016. 
       Unity Church of Practical Christianity is a drop off point for items donated to help those flooded out in Baton Rouge.
Items of particular need are:  Diapers   Wipes   Formula   Clothing (clean)   Surgical masks   Work gloves  Boots  Cleaning products
Paper towels.   Our church lobby will be open Sunday from 9am til 1pm and Monday through Thursday next week 8am til 5pm.

       I'm very excited by the WIN Labor Day Picnic Sept 5 and the major interfaith discussion at St. Georges' Episcopal Church Sept 6.
I hope to see lots of friends there!

Aug 6, 2016: 
       A recent Facing History Newsletter at http://info.facinghistory.org/facing-ferguson-news-literacy-in-a-digital-age-memphis
is well worth reading.
       Common Table / Health Alliance has a newsletter (breastfeeding) at 
http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1102490406310&ca=beacb5f2-849d-416e-ac29-e25afba31d5c
       The Rev. Buddy Stallings is the new Priest-in-charge at Calvary Episcopal as they begin the search for a new rector. Let's look for occasions tro welcome him, in view of Calvary's major contributions to the city and to interfaith work.
          
The National Civil Rights Museum has a free APP (Apple APP Store or Google Play) that will he of special interest to school teachers, religious educators, or Civil Rights museum fans.      
         AARP is offering free Shredding events if you have records that need to be disposed of safely. I hope this unwieldy link works!
http://view.email.aarp.org/?qs=8f222a1405a3b6f40418763d3381c5d98a952588ad173d871cfe2a660a01aaadf504ebeb605f6275fcb6a0f2513deeb1c4dff38091d9a894d54cac0cd2f4cdff
        Temporary Protective Status for Syrian Nationals extended.  https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2016-17933.pdf
(Syrian nationals, or stateless persons previously resident in Syria, such as certain Palestinians, who have already been in the US, may remain longer and get working permits.)
         An article in the Jewish press about the Pope's visit to Auschwitz is at
 http://www.jta.org/2016/07/29/news-opinion/world/pope-pays-silent-but-important-visit-to-auschwitz



July 7, 2016:
The rate of bombings, shootings, and terrorist activities lately has been so large it is essentially impossible to comment on them here. An interesting Muslim-authored piece on Muslim thinking on one such issue is at
http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/04/opinions/medina-attack-opinion-haroon-moghul/index.html
A statement relevant to Bangla Desh is at
 http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1116744675827&ca=e5e3478f-da58-4997-9018-553aae634e30

There was an excellent e-mail (not apparently available on the web) by Memphis organization BRIDGES, containing in part
<<
Our hearts have broken anew each day as the headlines keep coming: Four young children stabbed to death right here in Shelby County; Alton Sterling and Philando Castile shot to death by police in Louisiana and Minnesota, respectively; at least five police officers murdered while on duty at a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas; a former Illinois congressman and a Nashville police officer posting messages of hate on social media in the aftermath. Even now, these headlines keep coming.
 .....
We have a sacred job to do. On Monday, our 11th grade Bridge Builder conferences will begin at the University of Memphis. These will include a particularly challenging and powerful community action series wherein youth and police will come together in an effort to build relationships and respect. Our staff has worked tirelessly to create a process that brings out the best in our students and our law enforcement officers, and it will surely be tested.
>>

Common Table - Health Alliance  has a new CEO: 
http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1102490406310&ca=60450963-00da-40ac-b0e1-7986e6b8a285

June 24:

    There will probably be another two-week gap until the next update as next week I'll be at the annual meeting of the Institute on Religion in an Age of Science, an annual discussion between scientists and theologians. The topic this year is the nature of knowledge, as seen by "the two sides." Lectures and discussions are on topics like "What are the roles of rationality and non-rationality for scientific and religious knowing?"  "How do we know ourselves?"   http://www.iras.org/pospapers.html

     Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf's essay on Muhammad Ali is at
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/imam-feisal-abdul-rauf/on-greatness-and-the-grea_b_10378770.html

     The message of the presiding Episcopal Bishop about Orlando is at
  http://www.episcopalchurch.org/blog/michaelcurry/video
The statement from the Memphis Jewisg community is at
 http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1102630273991&ca=a02bae25-ef56-4cf7-85ff-c350ccf35529
     Rev Chris Girata of Calvary Episcopal has a message on the Orlando killings at
 http://us4.campaign-archive1.com/?u=5472ab64f8f0fa71714dbebcb&id=ce4abc52e9&e=2f75c3ec8d
(Obviously I can note only a tiny fraction of these.)

     Incidentally, Rev. Girata will be leaving Calvary after four years here. for a church in Dallas, Texas.  He has done an excellent job of continuing Calvary's interfaith outreach and will be much missed. There will be a good-bye reception on July 10.

     On June 13 the "Memphis Interfaith" group, the Muslim originated interfaith group in Memphis, held its annual Iftar Dinner.
This was spectacular as usual.  There were talks by Jewish, Christian, and Muslim speakers, Congressman Cohen, Mayor Rout.
There were talks about the then brand-new Orlando attack, as well as about the recent memorial service for Muhammad Ali.
       Awards for service to the Interfaith community were given to Janice Vanderhaar and to "Dr. Eunice Ordman and Dr. Edward Ordman."
I felt extremely honored on behalf of my late wife and of course myself.  I can't resist pointing out that while Eunice taught college from 1946 to 1988, she never did actually complete her Ph.D.. In the early 1950's she was the only woman Ph.D. candidate in physics at Rutgers University. When a critical examination was scheduled for they day her first child was due, she asked if she could take the exam early. "No," they said, "there is no precedent for that. No one ever  made that request before."  I will note that Rutgers  has always been a very welcoming university for ethnic and religious minorities, and I assume that they adjusted to women students in due course, after the initial shock of dealing with Eunice.  As several speakers noted at Eunice's memorial service, she had a record of rocking the boat.

June 10.

I'll shortly be leaving town for the summer. I will still be reachable by e-mail and will continue to maintain this site, probably on my recent "every week or two" schedule - Edward Ordman

    Muhammad Ali's funeral is today, June 10. On the interfaith nature of it, see
http://www.jta.org/2016/06/07/news-opinion/united-states/rabbi-michael-lerner-billy-crystal-to-speak-at-muhammad-ali-funeral
I think people will very much enjoy listening to some of the speeches, especially by Muhammad's wife Lonnie.  Will somebody tell me if it turns up on YouTube or somewhere similar.?   It may remain online for awhile at
https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead-live/liveblog/muhammad-ali-funeral-updates-and-memorable-moments/#bd95f54c-610c-4062-9c10-dd32fd54c6ec

MIFA has a special need for volunteers to move some non-perishable food items on Saturdays.
"
We are in special need of volunteers to deliver shelf stable boxes for our No Hungry Senior program on Saturdays. By delivering non-perishable foods to seniors each week, we are able to increase the number of vulnerable seniors we serve.  To sign up, email Isaiah at iswanson@mifa.org or call (901) 529-4521. Or, learn more about all of our volunteer opportunities."

Michael Danziger, the son of Rabbi Emeritus Harry Danziger of Temple Israel, has been ordained as a Rabbi (Hebrew Union College graduation, May 21)



May 30:

Remember to register for the IFTAR Dinner June 12 (below), one of the year's major interfaith events

May 31 is the last day to get free 90-day family memberships at the Pink Palace. You can register online at
http://www.memphismuseums.org/

Washington Post article on the first female Rabbi:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/05/24/i-not-only-envisioned-it-i-fought-for-it-the-first-female-rabbi-isnt-done-yet/


The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, formerly pastor of Liberation Community Church in Memphis, has been nominated to be Stated Clerk for The Presbyterian Church (USA).  This is the major executive office of this large national denomination.

I've tried to say a few things about Ramadan at  June 5, in the "events" or "History" page.

 


May 23:

Free 90-day trial family memberships at The Pink Palace.
http://www.memphismuseums.org/

Compliments to those who turned up for the Food-packing event at Pleasant View School on May 22. I didn't notice as much "interfaith" turnout as I would have liked, but certainly noticed a few Jews and Methodists among the Muslims. A very successful event! I see at least one of each (me, and a Methodist, facing each other) at
https://www.facebook.com/MemphisInterfaith/photos/pcb.915716285203749/915713478537363/?type=3&theater
where of course you can find other pictures also...

Tikkun Magazine is a liberal Jewish publication with occasional interesting comments on current Israeli politics. With both US and Israeli politics doing odd things this year, this article may be of interest:
http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/on-lieberman.

A Jewish organization has long subsidized trips of Jewish young people to Israel to connect with their heritage. The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (http://ADC.org)  recently circulated word of a trial run for youn people of Palestinian heritage, of a similar program, sponsored by the "Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation".  I know little more about this but would be fascinated to hear if anyone knows or learns more.  https://kthps.org/join/  or just http://kthps.org



April 15:
     Unity Productions Foundation (Muslim sponsorship) has an 11-minute video. "American Muslims: Fact vs. Fiction." This is free for educators (teachers, religious leaders, anyone who might possibly show it to a group or Sunday School class, etc.)  Their productions in the past have been excellent. 
http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1101291766794&ca=78f2d4b9-575b-433d-a6ca-ebd94e2be45e

April 11:
   "This year, Equal Pay Day falls on Tuesday, April 12, 2016. This date symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. White female full-time workers are paid 79 cents for every dollar paid to white male workers. The wage gap is even more staggering for women of color. Black female full-time workers make 60 cents to a white male worker’s dollar. Latinas make the lowest at 55 cents to a white male worker’s dollar."

April 8:
    Eunice and I have long been fans of a group called Global Volunteers.  It is a chance to travel and meet people and learn about the rest of the world rather differently (and sometimes less expensively) than conventional commercial travel. We've been to Poland and China with them and to the Ukraine in a similar program. They are presently seeking short-term volunteers to help teach English in Hanoi. You pay your own way, but it is tax-deductible.
https://globalvolunteers.org/teach-learn-and-wage-peace-in-vietnam/

April 7:
   I'm going a bit far afield, with an article (about an event in the US) in the Hong Kong newspaper. But you may enjoy reading it. It is nice when the US gets good press so far away. 
http://www.scmp.com/news/world/article/1934147/amazing-grace-he-got-drunk-and-shot-their-mosque-so-muslim-worshippers

Pope Francis will; shortly release a major paper on family issues.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/04/07/pope-francis-on-friday-drops-a-major-paper-about-family-issues-experts-see-hints-hell-open-doors-wider/?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_faith


     Two websites that may be of interest are:
 http://wherewelivemidsouth.org   which seems to have a large amount of environmental, health, and economic information that you can drill down to by neighborhood or larger regions, and
http://wheretogivemidsouth.org   (a website of the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis) which has a remarkably large indexed list of local charities, as well as links to allow one to donate by credit card or by a donor-advised donation if you have a fund at the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, the Jewish Foundation of Memphis, or Hope Christian Community Foundation. 




April 6:
There is grave concern due to the efforts of a Tennessee state legislator to fan extreme anti-Muslim sentiment within the state legislature. Please sign the petition, or write legislators yourself. This automated system will even tell you the names and e-mail addresses of your state legislators!
  (I have had this request the same day from Muslim, Jewish, and Catholic sources!
https://www3.thedatabank.com/dpg/498/pm.asp?id=52404&nav=1&aacwc=371564983514989052404174467126

There is being an interesting attempt to do crowd-funding for production of a film about the meeting of St./ Francis of Assisi with Sultan Al-Kamil. Even if you are not interested in contributing, the story and the effor are of significant interfaith interest. Read more at
http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?m=1101291766794&ca=fcb86b5b-15ef-4112-b40b-739258c2ac94

April 2:
The US continues to restrict travel of Muslims - while we routinely admit without a visa citizens of many countries (e.g. most of Europe) we no longer extend that courtesy to citizens of  those countries who have visited a growing list of Muslim-majority countries, even if it was just to visit a relative. In addition, there is an increasing move to over-police Muslim neighborhoods within the US, as called for by certain presidential candidates.  See e.g.
http://www.salon.com/2016/03/26/ted_cruz_has_already_won_his_absurd_plan_to_police_muslims_is_already_happening/

    From an e-mail: 

<<  I'm not sure a "balanced" discussion of the Israel-Palestine issue is possible, but perhaps this comes close.  It's by a former Palestinian terrorist.  Worth the read, if you have an interest.  -
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/10/18/inside-the-head-of-israel-palestine.html   >>

March 22:
      I note with interest on the website of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Memphis an article reporting very affirmatively on a US District Court ruling allowing a Sikh to wear a beard while on active duty in the US Army.  While I do have an interest is both "religious freedom" issues and what one might call "smaller religion issues" in the US, it is of interest that I first heard of this decision from the local Roman Catholics!

March 15: 
    Steve Sondheim, known to many of us, was an official delegate to the Global Warming conference in Paris, representing the Sierra Club, an NGO.  He has spoken at a number of places about his experience there.  He believes strongly that we have a moral obligation to the planet and to future generations to act far more responsibly in our use of natural resources.  He was also a moving force behind the selection of this year's speaker at the Vanderhaar Symposium April 21, Chad Pregrake, who has been a moving force in cleaning up America's waterways - including water near and important to Memphis. See
http://www.gvanderhaar.org/


March 2:
We had a remarkably fine party on Feb. 21 - the joke afterwards was that if one person had been willing to convert, we'd have had Two Jews, Two Catholics, Two Protestants, Two Muslims, and Two Hindus.  One parent brought along her son, looking for people to interview for a paper he is writing in high school - this was a great idea, pass the word that we can easily provide contacts like that as well as interesting books and movies  for History, Facing History, and some other subjects. (Also, of course, for college papers.)

Due to a conflict with a basketball game, there was an unfortunately low turnout for last Thursday's Facing History event, a remarkable Gospel Musical about a slave revolt in Charlseton, South Carolina, in 1823.  This had some remarkable music in it, including some songs that I think may become the songs for peace and freedom marches of the future. ("They cannot kill the spirit, when we march in Jesus' name" - of course "freedom" also fits the meter.)

By a happy coincidence, the September 28 New Yorker magazine had a long article by David Remnick about Charleston, including the history of that early rebellion and the present state of the "Mother Emmanuel" church, which was built on the site of the Black church burned by whites in that rebellion and where there was a recent mass shooting.  It is online at
http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/09/28/blood-at-the-root
 If you hit a subscription wall let me know.

As usual, the Calvary Lenten Lecture series is being outstanding.  If you can't get there at noon Tuesday to Friday or on Wednesday evenings, the noon talks are online, linked from http://calvarymemphis.org/lentenpreaching       
by the button "Sermon Archive"

Feb 20:
I've been told that I failed to remind people that early voting is in progress for the Tennessee presidential primary - you can still "early vote", without the lines that may be there on election day, on Monday and Tuesday. A web search for "Memphis early voting" will quickly bring you to the Election Commission page with hours and addresses. The election will be March 1.

Feb 11 - The "Allegro Concerts" list is back on line after the store moved. See our "Concert listing" page,
link up above.
     Latest on-line from Teaching Tolerance Magazine:
http://now.eloqua.com/es.asp?s=129155792&e=23286&elq=9dbf4e35ea2f4dd496d023c04df9963b
      February 26 is the deadline for current 6th throuigh 12 graders to apply for the Bridge Builders program, http://bridgesusa.org/youth-programs/bridge-builders-collaborate/program-overview/
       From the Memphis Islamic Center: "We are looking for a full time Imam who shall work closely and under the guidance of our resident scholar, Shaykh Yasir Qadhi. We want a dynamic leader who can lead the prayers, provide religious guidance, establish and promote educational and extracurricular programs for adults and youth, and engage with the larger community to promote friendship and understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims in the community."
      Pleasant View School, the Muslim Day School, has an English as a Second Language Course Saturdays 11-1.




February 6.

     The Controversy at Wheaton College, Illinois, continues. (There has been a move to fire a Christian woman faculty member for asserting that Muslims and Christians worship the same god.) I mention this since it has given rise to many pointers to interesting readings.  A good Washingtopn Post article is at
http://wpo.st/8HK71     which contains...
"       The Evangelical Missiological Society published a collection of essays on the matter showing a range of views on these questions.
https://www.emsweb.org/images/occasional-bulletin/special-editions/OB_SpecialEdition_2016.pdf
The Catholic Church has taught since the Second Vatican Council that Muslims and Christians worship one God, though they view Jesus differently.
http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decl_19651028_nostra-aetate_en.htm   "

For the progress of an interesting dispute within Judaism, see

http://www.jta.org/2016/01/31/news-opinion/israel-middle-east/western-wall-prayer-fight-ends-with-historic-compromise


 
January 26:

I want to note the existence of  a series of special movie and video events (priced higher than usual movies - check the website) from http://fathomevents.com .   This series includes operas, ballets, classic movies, and other programs most of which do not qualify for inclusion in an "interfaith" list but may interest many of you. Note that not every event in the series is available in Memphis, you must click through individually to check.
The operas, classic movies, and shows about art all seem to be at the Paradiso, but some events (including some of obvious religious interest and some excellent ballets) are in no theater closer than Tupelo or Little Rock.

Registration is open for the Prizm Ensemble Summer Camp for aspiring musicians, June 6-11.
http://prizmensemble.com/ 


The current online issue of "Teaching Tolerance" will be of special interest to educators (including clergy, religious teachers, discussion groups and organization program planners.)
http://now.eloqua.com/es.asp?s=129155792&e=23144&elq=2c3178b7d31d48498f39a177fe8c4df8

Bridges is now offering "Team Building" services for many kinds of groups. http://www.bridgesusa.org/teambuilding



January 25, 2016:

      On January 23 we attended the Peace and Justice dinner. Steve Cohen spoke. Zandria Robinson, who teaches at Rhodes College, gave a fascinating talk on "Intersectionality" - discrimination against people with multiple identifications. An example was an early lawsuit against General Motors for failing to employ any Black women. The judge said he could hold they discriminated againt Blacks as they had Black male production line workers. He couldn't hold they discriminated against Women, as they employed white women as secretaries. Thus, he ruled, the failure to employ Black women was nothing he could act on - it was not discrimination against any protected category.
       On January 24 we attended the concert at St. Mary's Episcopal Cathedral, by the musicians who perform at their Wednesday 8 AM service. This service is followed by a breakfast which is like the service is open to everyone, and they say it now attracts about 200 people - providing not only a midweek church service for those who want it, but a free breakfast for a great many homeless people. If you'd like to meet some of our Memphis homeless people, every Wednesday morning provides a chance.  The social hall at St. Mary's has a remarkable set of posters about services provided by the church during the great Memphis Yellow Fever epidemic - it ought to be on the list of city tourist attractions.

January 22, 2016:

MIFA, the main interfaith charity in Memphis, needs more volunteers - for Meals on Wheels, and also people to be trained to serve as Ombudsmen to monitor conditions and heare residents' complaints in nursing homes and other facilities.
For more information about volunteering, email Isaiah at iswanson@mifa.org.

Remember to annually update your Kroger Card so that a (small) percentage goes to your selected charity.
http://krogercommunityrewards.com

"Three great speeches about Muslim Terrorism"  (Newspaper article):
http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/196070/three-great-speeches-of-2015

There continues to be wonderful resource material for teachers (both regular school and religious schools) at the website of Teaching Tolerance, http://www.tolerance.org/

For a typical prayer schedule of a local mosque (in this case, the one near U of Memphis), click here.

Proposal deadline for the Gandhi King Conference is Feb 15.. See April 8 below.

75 minute movie about the Kumbh Mela Festival, now on Youtube -
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGvK_9ugecM

An interesting essay on the conflict between "right to life" and "social justice", from a Roman Catholic magazine:
http://ncronline.org/blogs/young-voices/four-ways-heal-divide-between-pro-life-and-social-justice-advocates


January 6, 2015. 

May everyone have a happy and peaceful New Year!

Apparently Wheaton College (Illinois) will be firing the (fundamentalist Christian) professor who asserted that Muslims and Christians worship the same God.

There are occasional reports of events in India where the Muslims and Jews, both minorities, sometimes wee themselves a friends or allies. Here is a report from Cochin, where the Jewish community is shrinking and the Muslim community is stepping forward to help preserve Jewish institutions:
http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-life-and-religion/196124/pillars-of-cochin-community

Eunice and Edward Ordman have a grand-niece who works for an interfaith organization in California called the "United Religions Initiative", http://www.uri.org/.  They did an hour television special recently on CBS which is on-line at  
www.uri.org/cbs.   Our niece is Sari Heidenreich, who gives a 4-minute talk (the Christian one) starting at about 13:56 minutes into the show.    


12/27/2015 
This web page and newsletter seems to be becoming a biweekly project for me instead of a weekly one, which causes me to miss a few more events, like a Muhammad's Birthday dinner (just before Christmas this year - next year it comes the usual eleven days +/- earlier, while the Jewish calendar gets a leap month and Chanukah will just about coincide with Christmas.

How much should I comment on Islamophobia? It is hard to resist commenting. One Jewish page against it is at http://www.againstislamophobia.org/  (Thanks Janice Vanderhaar, for the pointer!)

A Jewish item on the refugee crisis is at
http://www.rac.org/blog/2015/12/17/how-your-congregation-can-engage-refugee-crisis-response

I was horrified recently when the US refused to admit some British citizen tourists to the US apparently since they were Muslim; I'm rather hoping that the British government will put pressure on the US over this. The US is notoriously lax in defending the travel options of its own citizens. A  few years ago a Muslim acquaintance of mine in Memphis (a US citizen) was denied admission to Israel to care for her ailing father and the US was unsupportive.  By contrast, at about that time, Israel denied admission to a South African citizen of Palestinian descent, South Africa notified Israel that admission of a number of Israeli tourists and businessmen would be held up until the South African was allowed into Israel, and Israel conceded the point immediately and let the South African enter.

And did you notice the bizarre spectacle of Wheaton College (Illinois) suspending a professor who asserted that Muslims and Christians worship the same God? 

An interesting reading on a fine point of Jewish law and practice, and for learning about some differences within Judaism - http://www.thejewishweek.com/editorial-opinion/opinion/patrilineal-proposal-bath-mitzvah

For an interesting article on the causes of conflict - I must admit I like the ventures into statistics here - see the Washington Post article
 I have discovered the reason that "Star Wars" exists in the first place  at  
http://wpo.st/zsfy0

12/18/2015: 

       Congress is apparently close to passing the appropriations bill to  keep the US government running January-September 2016.  There are lots of add-ons, some relevant to us. The politicians wanting  to  keep out terrorists ( or keep out Muslims as some politicians say and some Muslim and Jewish and Catholic sources interpret the language) have been particularly active. E.g., there are 38 countrieds whose citizens are allowed to enter the US without a visa. The House version of the bill would deny entry (without a special visa) to citizens of those countries who have visited Syria, Iraq, Iran or Sudan since March 1, 2011, and that seems likely to pass. By far the most common reason people visit those countries is to visit their families there.

12/17/2015

The December National Geographic has a remarkable lead article on Mary:
 http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2015/12/virgin-mary-text

The annual SPARKS awards program (awards for  philanthropy, volunteerism, and impact/activation) is online at
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRV7_qNPsRc&feature=youtu.be
MIFA gets an award at about 21 minutes in. 

A Washington post article on the obstacles that the US throws in the way of Muslims trying to enter the US is at 
http://wpo.st/d51y0        As that article points out, it is impossible not to see similarities with the treatment of Jews before World War II.


12/10/2015
       With a prominent politician still making loud anti-Muslim noises it is nice to see many voices still supporting America's traditions of being religiously tolerant and welcoming to immigrants.

David Waters has another nice local piece at
http://www.commercialappeal.com/columnists/david-waters/david-waters-muslim-mothers-soul-finds-refuge-in-memphis-265c15e4-72e0-2091-e053-0100007f3a73-361252351.html

The Washington Post does well reporting the Catholic pro-immigrant stance at
http://wpo.st/rdLw0   (How Catholic leaders are defying governors who are trying to block refugees)

A Jewish statement is at
http://www.jta.org/2015/12/07/news-opinion/politics/jewish-groups-slam-trump-for-call-to-block-entry-of-muslims

A TV appearance by Imam Feisal of New York, who lectured in the Calvary Lenten series a few years ago, is at
http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?ca=8392044b-853c-4da7-a473-812eda4471cd&c=b27bf5e0-a7be-11e3-b3ae-d4ae52a68661&ch=b29179b0-a7be-11e3-b3c4-d4ae52a68661

A local TV appearance - Nabil Bayakly on Channel 3 - is on line at
http://wreg.com/2015/12/08/discussing-muslim-sensitivity/

The local Pax Christi (Roman Catholic peace group) mailing list forwarded a petition to the Southern Baptists about inflammatory statements by Jerry Falwell:
http://act.faithfulamerica.org/sign/sbc_falwell/?t=1&akid=751.393778.vb0qcf


12/7/2015  I have to note a piece by David Waters in the Commercial Appeal, "Many voices" of Memphians on immigration,
http://www.commercialappeal.com/opinion/local/faith-in-memphis-panel-the-syrian-refugee-crisis-2548f803-c39e-4120-e053-0100007faf36-356559261.html

My own essay(Edward Ordman) on immigration has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, a weekly news magazine with international circulation, published in Boston. 
http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/The-Home-Forum/2015/1202/The-road-from-Damascus
(my other essays can be found by searching for "ordman" on the CSMonitor web site. Some, but not that many, are on interfaith matters. There is also a list at http://ordman.net.)

There was not a "quick" interfaith prayer service after the California shootings, so far as I know,  given the heavy involvement of   clergy  with Advent and  Chanukah. The Muslims did hold an emergency meeting the evening of December 4, with Yasir Qadhi speaking; I heard of it too late to report here. Does anyone know if that talk is available on Youtube or elsewhere? 
Tom Carlson and Randall Mullins are planning an Interfaith Prayer Service for Truth on Thursday Dec 10 at Noon at Adams and B.B. King Blvd. 

====
 
11/30/2015
   Healthy Memphis - common Table has a website on the subject of end-of-life planning at
http://www.planwishlive.org/
They can also provide speakers on this topic for houses of worship or other organizations.

Example of condemnation of the Paris attacks, circulated by the Memphis Turkish community:
http://www.todayszaman.com/world_turkish-islamic-scholar-gulen-condemns-paris-attacks-in-strongest-terms_404283.html

David Waters' excellent column on Syrian refugees in Memphis:
http://www.commercialappeal.com/columnists/david-waters/syrian-refugees-seek-haven-while-governors-fret-24ab8306-d566-57d4-e053-0100007fe9e9-350757391.html

Rabbi Micah Greenstein's message on Syrian refugees is at
http://www.timemphis.org/calendar-and-news/news?utm_source=Temple+Israel+News&utm_campaign=72ef06fe15-TI_News_24_November_2015&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_70ba279f7f-72ef06fe15-92698110

A New York Times Op-ed is at
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/22/opinion/sunday/the-statue-of-liberty-must-be-crying-with-shame.html

Details of the refugee screening process (e.g., why it can take two years;)
https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/11/24/watch-heres-what-refugee-screening-process-looks




11/12/2015:

For teachers and others (school, Sunday School, etc: excellent materials about Civil Rights from Teaching Tolerance or the Library of Congress: see  http://www.tolerance.org/ttm  . There is a web seminar on using this material on Nov 17.

The Benjamin Hooks Institute Blog is at http://blogs.memphis.edu/benhooksinstitute/

With cold weather coming, think of the homeless. Calvary Episcopal; needs volunteers, especially on Sundays. See
http://www.signupgenius.com/go/409094cafa72ba31-calvary1.  Which houses of worship are presently active in Memphis Interfaith Hospitality Network? If yours might hbe interested, see
http://www.2ndmemphis.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/VolunteerHandbooksmall.pdf

Organizations are also atarting to collect holiday gift packjages fopr those in need. MIFA's page on this is at
http://www.mifa.org/collect


 
11/3/2015 

Five Memphis city council districts (2,3,4,5,7) have run-off elections. The election day is Nov 19 but early voting has started at the downtown office; it is  at satellite locations Nov 6 through Nov 14 except Nov 11.

Facing History has some nice short video clips:
http://facingtoday.facinghistory.org/four-clips-that-celebrate-10-years-community-conversations

Calvary Episcopal Church, downtown, reminds us that their location attracts a great many homeless people in need of clothes, toiletries, and the like. See their exceptionally fine online newsletters at http://calvarymemphis.org/chroniclenewsletter; page 4 of the October 15 issue addresses this issue.

Should I sometimes mention regular services  or events that are not at the usual hour? E.g.
St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral has a Communion and Breakfast every Wednesday at 8 AM.  St Mary's will have a new cookbook for sale from Nov 8.
Temple Israel has a regular Bible discussion group with breakfast ("Torah Study", but colloquially "Bagels and Bible") with lox, bagels, and other goodies, at 8:45 Saturday mornings - most arrive by 8:30 to start eating before class. (Yes, Temple Israel also has Sunday School classes on Sunday.)
Masjid Ar-Rahman has a Koran study Friday evenings.  (start at sunset - roughly 5 pm - 6:15 pm at present)
http://files.ctctcdn.com/98c2aa0a001/38a5a115-0354-454b-87b7-e6b6b116d73c.pdf
see also http://files.ctctcdn.com/98c2aa0a001/dcb49750-7b18-43c4-8958-88d32b5e15be.pdf

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf (of New York) who spoke a couple of years ago in the Calvary Lenten Lectures, has a new book
"Defining Islamic Statehood: Measuring and Indexing Contemporary Muslim States" ("What is the real definition of an Islamic state?     How can it function in the modern world?")


10/20/2015
University of Memphis has its "Parents and Family Weekend" Oct 30-November 1. While different colleges have such events on different dates, this is a nice reminder to let your kids or grandkids away at school how much you love them.  It was also nice to see U of M suggesting to students in a studentr newsletter that they acquait themselves with the local charity Bridges, http://bridgesusa.org/

Dorothy Day House of Memphis  (helping homeless families) http://www.dorothydaymemphis.org/   is selling holiday wreaths and garlands - order now for delivery after Thanksgiving.  They may be able to send a representative to your church to take orders; ask!

10/10/2015  Unity Productions Foundation, a Muslim-sponsored film group, is promoting a film

"American Muslims: Facts vs. Fiction" in response to anti-Muslim demonstrations. I understand that they will provide it
for free showings by appropriate groups (houses of worship, student groups, peace groups, etc.)
http://www.upf.tv/films/american-muslim-facts/#data1
They also have other films available.

Teaching Tolerance has a nice essay on Columbus Day at http://www.tolerance.org/blog/reconsider-columbus-day

Most Sunday Schools are at relatively predictable hours, and I mention them here only if there is a remarkable visiting speaker or some other special reason. But I can't help noticing that Masjid Ar-Rahman, at 7906 Lowrance Rd, Memphis 38125, now has a Sunday School after its brief 6 AM service, followed by a light brerakfast. I suspect that doesn't conflict with some of your other scheduled activities...!  Imam Anwar Arafat may well be the local Imam most easily understandable by non-Muslims (that category is deliberately chosen to avoid comparison with the excellent speaker Professor Yasir Qadhi, the Scholar-in-residence at the Memphis Islamic Center.)


10/2/2015 
The Christian Science Monitor online edition (October 2 2015) has an outstanding interview with local Muslim leader Yasir Qadhi. This is especially remarkable since the press generally almost  never reports on moderates of any stripe: the only newsworthy Muslim, apparently, is a radical terrorist. Here's an article on the problems of a moderate Muslim.
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2015/1002/To-turn-tables-on-ISIS-at-home-start-asking-unsettling-questions-expert-says#

9/30/2015
The Sept 20 event at the Civil Rights Museum here was reported on the national Campaign for Nonviolence blog at
http://www.paceebene.org/2015/09/22/cnv-memphis-holds-action-at-civil-rights-museum/
You may be able to see people you know in the pictures, although my wife and I are a bit hard to recognize at lower right in our large hats to protect us from the sun.

9/24/2015

Letter to the editor by Edward Ordman, Commercial Appeal (Yom Kippur and Day of Arafah);
http://www.commercialappeal.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/Letter-Follow-dictates-of-Abrahamic-religions-329006711.html

Article by David Waters, Memphis woman addresses meeting in Philadelphia instead of seeing the Pope, talks about the local Catholic LGBT group.
http://www.commercialappeal.com/columnists/david-waters/david-waters-mom-chooses-to-skip-popes-speech-follow-his-example-204451f7-a50e-6853-e053-0100007f931-328905121.html

Death of Phyllis Tickle on Sept 22.  Nationally-known local author and frequent speaker at church events in Memphis.


Phyllis Alexander Tickle
March 12, 1934 - September 22, 2015

Dear friends,  
 
We are saddened to inform you of the death Tuesday, September 22, of Phyllis Tickle, popular lecturer, author, and dear friend of St. Mary's Cathedral. The author of over three dozen books, she became a leading expert on, and student of, the Emergence church movement, while continuing to maintain her interest in the religion book publishing industry.  

On Friday, October 16th, visitation will be held at St. Mary's Cathedral at 1:00 pm, followed by a Requiem Eucharist at 3:00.





9/13/2015
Facing History blog on the refugee crisis in Europe:
http://facingtoday.facinghistory.org/refugee-crisis-in-europe
I have been intrigued to get notices from both the local Islamic community and the local Jewish community on the importance of donating to organizations working with refugees from Syria.
The Jewish message is at

http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?ca=9141520a-5059-4c26-b397-a85c5f4f00a0&c=449fb2e0-d2e4-11e3-acd1-d4ae5292c3f3&ch=452fe4f0-d2e4-11e3-ad4f-d4ae5292c3f3    (I'll admit to a fond spot for the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society,   http://www.hias.org/, which was probably the group that found a job for my grandfather on his arrival in the US in 1911. They are presently active with Syrian refugees.)
Muslim information - coming - fundraiser Sept 18 at Masjid As-Salaam, I think.


 
9/7/2015
An interesting comment on recent news:
http://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2015/august/my-pastor-is-on-ashley-madison-list.html

News: Pope calls on Europe to take in refugees,
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/refugees-keep-streaming-into-europe-as-crisis-continues-unabated/2015/09/06/8a330572-5345-11e5-b225-90edbd49f362_story.html

MIFA is taking over administration of  the emergency Memphis hotline for homeless families. They hope to have it running again by Sept 15. Thanks, MIFA!

The ACLU And several other organizations have condemned anti-Muslim rhetoric by sheriffs in Hamilton and Sevier counties, Tennessee.
http://knoxblogs.com/humphreyhill/2015/09/02/groups-say-sheriff-comments-stoke-flames-of-hate/

Yemeni nationals in the US since Sept 3 2015 can be granted temporary emergency status in the US until 3/3/2017.
http://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/immigration/b/newsheadlines/archive/2015/09/02/advance-copy-of-dhs-notice-tps-for-yemen.aspx


early September 2015:

Calvary Episcopal Church has a new Associate Rector, Paul McLain. He introduces himslf on page 2 of
http://calvarymemphis.org/assets/1981/chronicle_september_web.pdf

Rabbi Danziger, Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Israel, delivered a sermon there August 28.
On line at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rftuY5hT2Eo

http://wreg.com/2015/08/30/church-members-white-out-sunday-to-promote-peace/

Seasonal change of Muslim prayer times, as observed at the Memphis Islamic Center:
Fajr    5:30 AM, Dhuhr 1:30 PM, ASR  5:30 PM,  Maghreb  10 minutes after Adhan (sunset), Esha  9:00 PM


From the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center:
"If you haven't already heard by now, the emergency hotline for shelter information has been disconnected. We are so outraged that this has happened without warning.
      Now what do our people who need emergency shelter do? It is suggested that they go to MIFA between the hours of 7:00a.m -3:30p.m.  According to Community Alliance for the Homeless, the hotline is supposed to be back up in September with a new number, but in the meantime, what are individuals supposed to do if an emergency situation occurs at night?"


August 20:
       I've been absent from the web too long./ Eunice and I have been enjoying our summer "up north", and the kids, grandkids, and great-grands descended in force - about a month of family in residence and a great many visits from old-time friends, even one who was our student in the 1970's.

       I cannot resist commenting on recent events in the Boy Scouts, who have recently increased flexibility in the matter of gender orientation. My mother was a Girl Scout volunteer leader back before I was born. When I was four my parents moved from Massachusetts to Washington, DC, and my mother shifted to the Campfire Girls since the DC Girl Scouts were still racially segregated and the CAmpfire Girls were integrated.  I spent several years as a troop mascot, and when my father asked if I wanted to be a Cub Scout, I said I wanted to be a Blue Bird (junior Camp Fire Girl).  The difference was explained to me, and I was in due course a Cub Scout, Boy Scout, and Explorer.  Our Boy Scout troop leader was a career Army officer - one of the best teachers I ever had of negotiation, understanding, and how to stop and stay out of fights.  One of my uncles was a career professional Boy Scout leader, and a nephew now works for the Boy Scout organization.  So I'm a pretty strong supporter of the Boy Scouts and similar  organizations. Eunice, of course, spent some years as a volunteer for the YWCA in Memphis.
        As a result, I've been sorry to watch the difficulties the Boy Scouts have gone through in recent years over gender issues. The recent decision that the national organization would not ban volunteer leaders due to gender orientation, but would leave it to local sponsoring organizations to choose troop leaders in manners consistent with their own beliefs, seems to me an extremely reasonable solution. Of course, a great many (not all) local Boy Scout troops are sponsored by houses of worship.  We recently had a period of several years when (due to these disputes within the Boy Scouts) the national organization of Reform Judaism discouraged local Reform synagogues or temples from sponsoring Boy Scout troops.  Of course, quite a few local Jews (including Reform Jews) remained very active in volunteer roles with the Boy Scouts. I'm delighted that the national Reform Jewish movement is again encouraging Boy Scout troop sponsorship; I very much hope that the compromise reached will allow the Church of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) to continue their extremely high rate of Boy Scout sponsorship and participation.


July 13:

We have to note the passing yesterday of Judge D'Army Bailey.The Tri-State Defender notes in part:
"
A mentor and inspiration to many, Mr. Bailey – attorney, former judge, author, founder of the National Civil Rights Museum and always an activist – passed away at age 73, succumbing to cancer.
The New Tri-State Defender will chronicle the passing of Mr. Bailey in this week’s edition. The newspaper’s archives include this 2010 story about Mr. Bailey’s book 'The Education of a Black Radical.'...."

July 12:

The information sheet for the service committee ("God's Unfinished Business") at Temple Israel, just as an example that may interest others:  http://www.timemphis.org/sites/default/files/2015 GUB info sheet_0.pdf
I'd be interested to see comparable information or other approaches from other houses of worship.
(Balmoral Presbyterian, for example, has a web site where one can sign up for specific times to carry in meals to homebound people.)

An interesting source of brief Jewish commentaries on the weekly Torah reading in the synagogue:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dioM2TorCDk
Chabad Memphis has a website with lots of answers to questions about traditional (Orthodox and Chassidic) Judaism:
http://www.jewishmemphis.com/library/article_cdo/aid/1675888/jewish/Jewish-Practice.htm

The Papal encyclical on environment introduced at the UN:
http://fore.yale.edu/files/Intro_of_Encyclical_at_UN_6-30-15.pdf
There are some remarks about the drafting process of the encyclical.


July 3:  
       My wife and I were traveling for the last two weeks, and missed giving notice of many of the events held in Memphis following the Charleston shootings. Maybe we need other volunteers to up date either this page or a Facebook page from time to time?  But here are a few bits of news, anyway. We really appreciate those of you who keep us on your own faith-related mailing lists.  Should we consider having a common and accessible site collecting those things?

         There is food served every Saturday at noon at the Indian Cultural Center and Temple, in Eads (about a half-hour drive from midtown, see our address page.) It is a good time to see the fascinating building and meet the people.
         The Interfaith Youth Corps ( http://ifyc.org/ )     has an interesting series of podcasts. The talk this month is about "Hindus in Contemporary America"  and I recommend it highly.  The link is https://soundcloud.com/ifyc/hindus-in-contemporary-america.   Past talks are at https://soundcloud.com/ifyc  .
        Finally, there are about two weeks left of Ramadan. Observant Muslims fast (no food or drink) from sunrise to sunset. Most or all of the mosques in the city have refreshments following the service at sunset each night, and are happy to have visitors.

        Tanvir Kazmi has a mailing list in which he sends out Qur'an extracts; it may interest those who enjoy details of other religions.  As a Jew I'm always interested in the extent to which the Talmud, a major Jewish reference text, clarifies the Jewish rules and provides work-arounds when needed. So I enjoyed this passage sent along by Tanvir:

[Al-Baqarah 2:183] [In part]  O you who believe, fasting is decreed for you, as it was decreed for those before you, that you may attain salvation. Specific days; if one is ill or traveling, an equal number of other days may be substituted. Those who can fast, but with great difficulty, may substitute feeding one poor person for each day of breaking the fast. If one volunteers, it is better. But fasting is the best for you, if you only knew. Ramadan is the month during which the Quran was revealed, providing guidance for the people, clear teachings, and the statute book. Those of you who witness this month shall fast therein. Those who are ill or traveling may substitute the same number of other days. GOD wishes for you convenience, not hardship, that you may fulfill your obligations, and to glorify GOD for guiding you, and to express your appreciation. When My servants ask you about Me, I am always near. I answer their prayers when they pray to Me. The people shall respond to Me and believe in Me, in order to be guided.


June 11:

I didn't imagine I'd ever have occasion to mention horse racing here, but I can't resist. The Triple Crown winner this year was named American Pharaoh, and is owned by Ahmed Zayat. Zayat was born and grew up in Cairo. He also happens to be an Orthodox Jew.  This gives me a chance to remark that the Jewish community in Egypt was established extremely early and was for millennia extremely prosperous and surprisingly literate. (The great Jewish Scholar Rambam, for example, was physician to Saladin, in Egypt.) The respect for (and care for) the written word was apparently common to a number of religious communities in Egypt - consider the case of the thirteen ancient texts discovered at Nag Hammadi in 1945 - but in particular the Jewish communities in Egypt as in many other places occasionally filled a coffin with old records and buried it in their cemetery, and occasionally these have been dug up by archeologists.  One discovery from such a source was the minutes of a synagogue in Alexandria, Egypt, showing that they once took up a collection to meet the needs of a sudden influx of rather unusual Jewish immigrants - parents of young children who were fleeing from Israel to Egypt feeling their children were in danger due to a new king by the name of Herod who was killing off children who might be possible claimants to the throne.  (This was Herod the Great, about 40 years before the birth of Jesus. We haven't found corresponding records from Jesus' time, but Roman records record that the later Herod was also extremely bloody.)  It's a topic I address in my talk on the Intertestamental Period whenever I can get an invitation (e.g., what were the Roman soldiers doing in Jerusalem in Jesus' time, and why did the Temple Priests get along so well with them?)

Pope Francis has taken another major step in dealing with child sexual abuse in the church -
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/11/world/europe/pope-creates-tribunal-for-bishop-negligence-in-child-sexual-abuse-cases.html


June 7:

The Unity Church of Practical Christianity (Walnut Grove, well east) is seeking a new minister.
The couple  Rev, Judith Crooks and Rev Donald Crooks are serving as interim ministers. (Replaced in mid-July)

Pax Christi, the Roman Catholic peace group, passes on their national organization's statement on the use of torture:
http://paxchristiusa.org/2011/01/17/statement-pax-christi-usa-official-statement-on-the-use-of-torture-as-a-means-of-national-security-in-the-u-s-war-on-terror/

May 31:

Please register promptly for the annual "Iftar" Interfaith dinner, one of Memphis's premier interfaith events
(June 21, below)

Disputes at the Vatican level sometimes make the American press.  Here's an interesting dispute at the level of  the Israeli Chief Rabbinate (which has no authority outside Israel - but the American orthodox Rabbis are taking a position on this one.) Eunice and I have not met Rabbi Riskin but have visited his synagogue in Efrat in the West Bank, to try to understand the positions of (and controversies between) Israelis living in the West Bank.   [link lost?]
      
May 28:   

There has been major flooding in Houston. One Memphis Organization collecting donations for relief is the
Memphis Jewish Federation Houston Flood Relief Fund . (click on that for the link)

The Memphis Jewish Federation and Jewish Foundation of Memphis are increasingly doing things jointly, as "Jewish Community Partners." They have a calendar of Jewish events, at  http://www.memjfed.org/community-calendar

Manna House needs volunteers to serve coffee and hospitality on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7:30-11:30am. The rush is from 8am-9:30am. If you can only serve for part, this is when they need you most.
Located at 1268 Jefferson Ave., Manna House provides hospitality to homeless Memphians.
Click here to Send your questions  if you've got 'em. (link thanks to St. John's Episcopal)

The Common  Table Health Alliance  recently released the second edition of its Status Report on Efforts to Promote Healthy Eating and Active Living in Memphis and Shelby County. The report features 28 organizations committed to addressing the obesity challenge with programs and services to engage the community in more active and productive lifestyles. To read the entire Status Report on Efforts to Promote Healthy Eating and Active Living in Memphis and Shelby County, please click here.

If you'd like a hard copy of the report, contact Chris Owens by clicking here.


The Memphis Islamic Center offers some links to lectures about ":preparing for Ramadan", the soon-coming month in which Muslims fast Sunrise to Sunset:

There are interesting online stories at the Jewish Women's Archivehttp://jwa.org/  .
Search in the search block there, for example, for Sarah Bernhardt

Rev  Sandy Webb, who has been Priest-in-Charge at  Holy Communion Church (Episcopal) has now been named Rector.
(Very loosely, equivalent to a professor getting tenure.)

 
May 17: 

The Interfaith Youth Core  (http://ifyc.org)  has put up a very interesting sequence of   podcasts about interfaith activities based on a surprising number of different groups - Islam, Judaism, Sikhism, Mormonism, Evangelical Christianity, and others.
http://ifyc.org/podcast  or on itunes at  https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/common-knowledge/id746005884?mt=2

May 15:

For those who have been frustrated at the disappearance of the Eroica concerts, I note the recent appearance of Daniel Gilbert at the recent Luna Nova / Beethoven Club concert on May 11. Notice of their upcoming festival and on-line listening to the recent concert is at http://www.lunanova.org/

There is a nice story about a Rabbi and Imam traveling around France on a "Jewish-Muslim Friendship Tour",  at
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/2015/0501/Michel-Serfaty-asks-questions-others-dare-not-pose-about-Jews-and-Muslims
(I have a prejudice toward that issue, as an essay of mine - on international rather than interfaith amity - appears at
http://www.csmonitor.com/The-Culture/The-Home-Forum/2015/0429/How-I-discovered-what-s-in-a-name  )

I don't know if it will make it to mainstream TV, but there is a nice "Muslim Family" show in the making with episodes at  http://halalinthefamily.tv/

Some synagogues celebrate May 17 as "Jerusalem Day", the day the Old City of Jerusalem was captured by Israel in the Six-Day War. There is a crowd-funding effort for a project of bridge-building between West and East Jerusalem at
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/david-broza-east-jerusalem-west-jerusalem-movie

There is a piece on anti-extremist cartoons by Muslim cartoonists at  http://www.newsweek.com/ignored-and-unreported-muslim-cartoonists-are-poking-fun-isis-332040

Some years ago Eunice and I spent two weeks teaching English at a children's summer camp in Eastern Poland.  This opportunity is open again if anyone is interested. You wind up paying your own ecpenses - but as it is volunteer work, it is tax deductible. And it is a chance to see Polish people and culture in a way that few tourists can.  We're happy to discuss it with anyone interested.
http://blogs.globalvolunteers.org/poland/2014/08/reymontowka-summer-camp-photos/



May 9. 
The PINK PALACE MUSEUM has available free 30-day memberships and $5 all-summer trial memberships - Pink Palace Museum,  Lichterman Nature Center, Mallory-Neely House.  A perfect activity with kids or grandkids. 
"Go to the Pink Palace Website http://www.memphismuseums.org/        Click the Free Summer Membership Icon on the right and
 register for your Free 30-Day or $5 Summer Trial
Membership today"

Unity Church of Practical Christianity  passes on a link to an essay, "Five steps from Fear to Freedom",
     http://www.positivelypositive.com/2015/04/23/5-steps-from-fear-to-freedom/

The Catholic Peace group's  mailing list has passed on  the original call for celebrating Mother's Day day and some history.   http://Memphisirg.org/Mother's-Day.html
      


April 19

The Vanderhaar symposium was fascinating. Sister Simone Campbell, sss, was stranded by weather and spoke remotely on "Radical Engagement: Pope Francis' Peace Building Strategy.  There was a great deal of something our group has stressed: to engage in dialogue, serious listening is essential.  Sister Simone is a member of the "Sisters of Social Service" (if like me you wondered what sss stood for),
http://www.sistersofsocialservice.com/,   she heads a lobbying group "Network", http://www.networklobby.org/, and her talk drew heavily on Pope Francis' encyclical "The Joy of the Gospel" found at
http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20131124_evangelii-gaudium.html

A newsletter of the Memphis Islamic Center with discussion of their events is online at
http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?ca=dd0cb0e5-3b46-4d4b-aace-872008a5adb1&c=593de200-20a4-11e3-9f3a-d4ae52a68661&ch=59ccdb90-20a4-11e3-9f5a-d4ae52a68661

April 12: 

I've been asked again for the links to the Calvary Lenten Lectures of this spring, which can be watched or listed to online.
Start at http://www.calvarymemphis.org/lpssermonarchive which has links to the 2015, 2014, and 2013 sermons. I suspect that a few years before that are also available - if you want them and don't see them, ask me for help.


People interested in "doings in other denominations" might be interested in a recent pastoral letter by Bishop Johnson (Episcopal)
at http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?ca=84285f6e-7f5f-443b-a624-a5f2dd10fc47&c=f9c0c330-deb6-11e2-8ecf-d4ae5292c973&ch=f9c35b40-deb6-11e2-8ecf-d4ae5292c973

Several people  from Memphis  (yes, we can connect you) have been on trips to Israel/Palestine organized by "Interfaith Peace Builders", a group that visits activists on both sides - these have ranged from from peace-oriented NGOs on both sides to Palestinian politicians to residents of  right-wing Israeli settlements in the West Bank.  They are presently scheduling trips for the coming year.  http://ifpb.org/

 

April 8:

 April 3 was the anniversary of Martin Luther King. Jr's  "Mountaintop" speech.  You might enjoy the article about that speech by Scott Newstok, of the Department of English of Rhodes College (Scott and his wife are active organizers of, among other things, Jewish events in midtown.) The article is online at 
ow.ly/L83n8

Possible useful contact in Nashville, re e.g. relations between Muslim community and state government, andf withg law enforcement re hate crimes:  The American Muslim Advisory Council,  http://www.amactn.com/
They also point to a nice page of elementary questions and answers about Islam, at
https://www.ing.org/index.php/top-100-faq-about-muslims-their-faith

There has been a real improvement in the Indian Cultural Center and Temple website, at https://icctmemphis.org/icct/home/node
I'm hoping this listing of events will encourage more of us to visit this interesting complex of buildings and meet our Hindu neighbors.
Incidentally, they offer free Sanskrit classes on Saturday 1 - 2:30 PM    Do check their web site (e,g, for appropriate dress)  before visiting.
Directions on our
Addresses page.

Yasir Qadhi's lecture of March 29 is now online, at
American Foreign Policy and the Rise of ISIS ~ Dr. Yasir Qadhi | 29th Ma...: https://youtu.be/3y8i3hVtUYw

Some years ago I had occasion to write a brief essay about the earliest Jewish community in China, at
http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0522/p22s02-hfes.html  
I was startled to see that community suddenly appear in the major press recently, at
http://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/04/06/kaifeng-china-jewish-roots-passover/

April 1:  


I very much enjoyed Yasir Qadhi's lecture March 29 on dealing with Radical Islam.  I'm a bit frustrated that I can't find it online yet - when it appears will someone let me know?  In the meantime, you can find many of Yasir's talks on Youtube. A good way to find some of his statements about ISIS (which has publicly called for his assassination, leading to prayers for him and his family in several Memphis churches) by a search such as
https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=yasir+qadhi+isis

The new FBI Hate Crime Date Collection Guidelines And Training Manual modifies the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program's Hate Crime data collection procedures to include collection and tracking of hate crimes committed against Arab Americans, Hindu Americans, and Sikh Americans.

The Common Table Health Alliance, http://commontablehealth.org/ is encouraging houses of worship (and other organizations) to look at the American Heart Association's "Healthy Workplace Food and Beverage Toolkit", at http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/WorkplaceWellness/WorkplaceWellnessResources/Healthy-Workplace-Food-and-Beverage-Toolkit_UCM_465195_Article.jsp

Comic book fans, anyone? I've encountered a string of comic books with Muslim superheroes before, but this is the first time I've noticed a Sikh superhero in comic  form. http://www.tolerance.org/magazine/number-49-spring-2015/feature/behind-shield
(My wife and I are huge fams of "Teaching Tolerance", a program of the Southern Poverty Law Center that produces free educational materials for schools, including houses of worship educational programs.) 




March 22: 
Religious  news rarely makes the front parts of the newspapers - unless you count the highly political stuff that disguises itself as "Islamism" in some of its forms. Even the so-called "Western" religions tend to make the papers only when in trouble or controversial. 
Two pieces that made it recently were the problems of a Roman Catholic Bishop from Scotland,
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/03/20/cardinal-steps-down-over-sexual-impropriety-allegations-a-first-for-a-cardinal-since-1927/?hpid=z2
and the decision of one of the denominations of the Presbyterian Church (PC-USA) to recognize same-sex marriages as "marriage":
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/03/17/presbyterian-church-changes-constitution-to-include-gay-marriage/

A friend has pointed out that I've never mention the local Messianic Jewish Synagogue http://www.brithadasha.org/  They describe themselves as "Jewish and non-Jewish followers of Yeshua."  I've often attended the corresponding group in Kansas City in which one of my granddaughters is active.  Largely Jewish customs but recognizing Jesus as the Messiah and Lord. I'm most comfortable by thinking of them as "James Christians", if any of my readers recall James' church in Jerusalem from the book of Acts; as a Christian religious branch I think that ended with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, but I'd love to have a scholar of the period help me out.   My favorite reading of the period (from a Jewish point of view) is "As a Driven Leaf", by Milton Steinberg, a history (fictionalized where facts are unavailable) of Rabbi Elisha ben Abuyah, a member expelled from the Sanhedrin for (among other things) attending church too often.
     Anyhow, if anyone has an urge to visit this synagogue at 6320 Quail Hollow Road, Memphis, TN  38120. (901) 685-9267, services are at 10:30 am Saturday preceded by adult study at 9 am. They will have a community Passover Seder on April 3, and their sermons are online at http://www.brithadasha.org/index.php/resources/sermon-library

Many Masjid Ar-Rahman events are now on YouTube.  Video recordings of Friday khutbahs (sermons), other main programs & events at Masjid Ar-Rahman are now posted and will be uploaded to Masjid Ar-Rahman YouTube channel on regular basis inshallah (God willing). To view/Subscribe, Click here

Another friend writes: 
Couldn't stop not to share:   'Like A Garment' series by by Yasir Qadhi:

"I found this very useful lectures for married or going to be married couples: What Women Need to KNOW about MEN - Full"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jf6B4xk3kcI&spfreload=10



another reminder: Kroger Community Rewards: Even if you've enrolled in Kroger Community Rewards before, their system resets on January 1, so if you want MIFA or Temple Israel or Porter-Leath or (many others)  to receive credit when you make purchases at Kroger, you have to enroll again. Simply visit kroger.com/communityrewards, login or create an account, and select  your rewards recipient.

(I'm really enjoying these contributions - thanks!.  admin@memphisirg.org  Edward Ordman, webmaster

March 13 posting: 
      One event I heard of too late to get into this list was a March 7 afternoon meeting - a panel of Muslim Imams speaking on "Virtues of Islam in a Democracy", with Congressman Steve Cohen turning up to speak. While I may be a bit ignorant on some details here, I took it as an interesting bit of "interfaith" that Anthony Muhammad, the leader of the local Nation of Islam mosque, was included on the panel and willing to answer my question on the differences between the Nation of Islam and the Sunni Muslims. Teh main point was that the Sunni's feel the coming of the Mahdi is in the future, the Nation of Islam believe the Mahdi has already come to bring Islam to America.  [corrections invited, by those who know more than I do].


March 2 posting:

A note from the local Black newspaper, the Tri-State Defender:

TSDTV:  Minister Ishmael Muhammad Part One

While in Memphis Minister Ishmael Muhammad, son of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Student National Assistant Minister to The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan sat down with TSD President and Publisher Bernal Smith in part one of a four series segment.
Click here to watch this episode of TSDTV.

Another online item of interest:

The themes of Adam Curtis’ new documentary Bitter Lake should be well known to those familiar with his body of work: power, techno-politics, science, managerialism and the media. The film uses the contemporary history of Afghanistan to tell a story about how polities in the West have become incapable of understanding the complex and horrible happenings around them. Traditional forms of power in the West and Afghanistan have taken advantage of the fear and confusion to consolidate their control, but at the expense of an intellectually deskilled Western public and a world that is fundamentally less governable. Bitter Lake is more fable than scholarship, but the film is nonetheless a devastating examination of how Western interventions in Afghanistan refract the vacuousness of our own politics.Jacob Mundy reviews the documentary in "McJihad, the Film," now at Middle East Report Online


I am increasingly impressed by Farid Zakaria's columns in the Washington Post.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/an-ideological-war-america-must-watch-not-fight/2015/02/26/6290938c-bdf8-11e4-bdfa-b8e8f594e6ee_story.html?hpid=z4


Posted Feb 18.
A member of the Texas legislature, on a day when local Muslims were coming to lobby, left her office and instructed her staff to greet Muslim visitors with and Israeli flag and a demand that they pledge allegiance to the United States. The (Jewish) Anti-Defamation League has issued a statement saying it was "shocked and outraged" by this, It said in part "access to elected officials is core to American democracy and should be celebrated, not impeded....this kind of rhetoric and bigotry is antithetical to our cherished American values."  http://www.jta.org/2015/01/30/news-opinion/politics/auto-draft-47

Posted Feb 22

The Benjamin Hooks Institute has put on-line a new 16-minute film, "The Civil Rights Movement: A Cultural Revolution."  It is part of "The People's Telly Awards" competition, so you can evaluate the film and vote (until March 6) as well as watch it, at 
http://www.tellyawards.com/peoplestelly/?cid=377&id=19828

Posted Feb 17:

March 2 order deadline for March 16 event at Grizzlies game. See March 16 below.

(NASHVILLE, TN) Feb. 12, 2015 The American Center for Outreach & the American Muslim Advisory Council released a sign-on statement against targeting people for their identity.
The statement reads:
We offer our condolences, thoughts and prayers to the victims of the Chapel Hill shooting which claimed the lives of three Muslim students.
  (..much more)
Congregations and religious organizations can join this effort by signing up at www.acotn.org or emailing a request to info@acotn.org.
(Signed by Temple Israel, Memphis Islamic Center, Memphis Inter-Religious Group, many others.)

An article on "Islamophobia":

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2015/0212/How-shock-over-murder-of-Muslim-Americans-could-counter-creeping-Islamophobia 

posted Feb 9, 2015:

Rabbi Joel Finkelstein of Memphis synagogue Anshei Sfard-Beth El Emeth has an unusual collection of videos on Youtube, at
https://www.youtube.com/user/ASBEEMemphis/videos

Prof. Shaul Bar is the author of a recently published book, "Daily Life of the Patriarchs, The Way It Was."

Travel possibility:  Professors Stephen Haynes and Jonathan Judaken of Rhodes College and Prof Daniel Unofsky of the University of Memphis will lead a Holocaust Travel Seminar  May 17-30, open both to college students and to lifelong learners. Cost estimate $4400. Numerous places in Germany and Poland, at least.  This will be an exceptional inter-generational experience with remarkable interfaith  leadership.  Register, or at least indicate interest, as soon as possible (target is Feb 15 for initial information).  Contact Prof Haynes at 901-843-3583 or email haynes@rhodes.edu.

The Movie SELMA is an important piece of American History and deserves to be seen. If you need further background, or especially if you are a teacher wanting material about the period, there is quite a bit of useful material on the website of the nationally noted "Teaching Tolerance" program, at http://www.tolerance.org/voting-rights-web-package
This website has a number of important teaching packages (including videos) which are free for teachers, and are also often extremely valuable for Sunday School and Adult Education programs. (MIRG has an example or two on hand if you'd like to look.)

Obviously, the trauma facing the Jewish Community in France following the events related to the "Charlie Hebdo" attack are in many ways mild compared toi the traumas of Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and so on. But I thought people might be interested in some of the ways responses in France are being organized. There is an interesting report circulated through the Memphis Jewish Community Center, on line at https://files.ctctcdn.com/7c3c2e9b001/871c0511-e5df-4fa1-990e-054b5e973e99.pdf

There is a particularly good essay on making the Jewish community inclusive of people with disabilities, that will also be of interest to other faiths and other organizations, at 

http://ejewishphilanthropy.com/a-primer-on-making-the-jewish-community-inclusive/\


posted earlier:

Lichterman Nature Center is normally closed Sundays. It is inviting churches in need of a place to meet on Sundays to arrange to use its facilities, Indoor spaces available in sizes 50 to 200, outdoor spaces also. Parking, kitchen, etc. 
"
For more information, call 901.636.2213 or visit our website: www.memphismuseums.org"

A midtown Jewish group is starting a variety of activities - e.g. a children's Hebrew School in the Central Gardens area Monday afternoons, a monthly family program on first Sunday afternoons, possibly a youth group and other activities.  If interested contact Sarah at newstok@mac.com


There is much too much to be said about "Charlie Hebdo" to say it here. So I've put it at
http://MemphisIRG.org/Charlie.html







Late January 2015:

Yasir Qadhi has completed his "Life of the Prophet" series of lectures at the Memphis Islamic Center, Wednesday evenings. I haven't hear what comes next from this outstanding speaker. For anyone who has never listened to him preach to Muslims, an excellent place to start (an exposition of the Muslim equivalent of Christian parables) is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMPyCujPl_g

Marcus Borg died January 21, 2015. He preached in the Lenten Lecture series at Calvary Episcopal Church in downtown Memphis for twenty years, and several of his sermons there in recent years are avail;able through their website. 
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Borg
An interesting introduction to his mode of Biblical interpretation is available in a YouTube of a debate with the much more traditional William Lane Craig  at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OU1h0tk2Pss


Edward Ordman was delighted to give a talk on the Intertestamental Period recently to the Presbyterian Women at Germantown Presbyterian Church. What happened between the Old and New Testaments? (For some reason, this is rarely addressed in Sunday Schools.)  What happened between Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar? (Roughly the same period, equally rarely addressed in history courses.) What were the Roman soldiers doing at the Temple in Jesus' time, and why were the priests in cahoots with them?   (Other topics Edward and Eunice like to speak on are the state of Interfaith life in Memphis, and the Israel/Palestine problem. We can also help arrange speakers or visitors to classes on other subjects.)


December 2014

Christmas and Chanukah.  I often get asked if there is any connection between the Christian Christmas (always December 25) and the Jewish festival of Chanukah (lunar calendar, this year starts the evening of Dec 16 and runs for 8 nights and days.)  Basically, none. Chanukah is a minor Jewish holiday that gains importance in the US and other Christian countries in pert from its proximity to Christmas.  The origin of Chanukah is a revolt by the Jews against a Greek king ruling Syria, roughly from 167 to 160 before the common era; details are primarily in the Books of the Maccabees, which are in the so-called "Old Testament Apocrypha, which are part of the Roman Catholic Bible but not in Protestant or Jewish Bibles.  The candles lit on the 8 nights are in honor of a story that after the rebels (The Maccabees - the word means "Hammers") recaptured the Temple in Jerusalem, a container of oil that should have lasted only one day kept the lamp burning for eight days until new oil could be obtained. The anceint rabbi presumably preferred teaching children by talking about this relatively minor "miracle" to haviung the holiday introduced as one celebrating a rather bloody military victory.  My own father did use the holiday, as we kids got older, to talk about the problems of guerilla warfare and the moral problems associated with war.  I have more of his version of the story at http://ordman.net/Edward/Chanukah.html
with a link there to somewhat more details and dates.  I occasionally get invitations h=this time of year to speak to Sunday School classes or other organizations about the Intertestamental period (I have one invitation so far this year): What happened between the end of the "Old Testament" and the start of the New Testament?  What happened between Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar? (These are roughly the same period, but the first is neglected in Sunday School and  the second is neglected in regular school).  This involves Chanukah and goes on to consider what the Roman soldiers were doing in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus, and why the Temple Priests were in cahoots with them. (Hint: Antony and Cleopatra get into the story.)

Temple Israel traditionally finds volunteers for helping with Starry Nights on Dec 24 and Christmas Lights at the Zoo Dec 25th.

I've occasionally had people ask about prayer schedules at a mosque - usually in the sense of "is the schedule anything like a church?".  The big service (with the long sermon) is at Friday, usually around 1 PM.  Here is a recent monthly schedule (December 2014) from Masjid Ar_Rahman:
   
Iqama Times: (December 2014)
The five daily prayers, usually brief and with modest attendance, are
Fajr: 6:00AM
Dhuhur: 12:30PM
As'r: 3:00PM
Maghrib: 10min after Adhan       (in this context Adhan=the call to prayer at sunset, sunset is about 4:40 this month in Memphis)
Isha': 7:30PM
The longer service is
Friday prayer: 1:00PM 
For more detailed prayer schedule, please click here

Join us for weekly programs at the Masjid:
Friday Night In -After Ishaa: Program & Activities by Imam Anwar Arafat
Saturday: After Dhuhur - Sisters Class by Imam Anwar Arafat
Sunday: After Ishaa - Tafseer Halaqah [Arabic] by Sh. Zaghloul
Monday & Wednesday - After Ishaa - Quran Class by Sh. Elkadi
Wednesday: After Dhuhur - Sisters Halaqah [Arabic] by Sh. Zaghloul
Thursday: After Ishaa - Class by Imam Anwar Arafat  


November 2014

    On November 9 there was a rather remarkable interfaith "Peace"  Service organized at the Unity Church of Practical Christianity, 9228 Walnut Grove Road, Cordova, also sponsored by the Sri Viswayoga Foundation.  While it is not that unusual for Jews and mainstream Christians to have interfaith events (there will be a nice Thanksgiving Service in a couple of weeks) and Muslims often join in, the variety of faiths represented November 9th this year may even have exceeded that at the Sri Viswayoga event a year ago.  It is probably unfair to group as examples the Jains, Mormons, Bahi'as, and Sikhs, but there were too many others for my note-taking to keep up.  Anyhow, I enjoyed the discussions immensely!   And many thanks to the several people who helped push and pull my wife's wheelchair on that hilly trail through the woods!
    The event included a group walk through a particularly nice outdoor labyrinth in a clearing in the woods behind the church.  It is one of the nicer labyrinths in Memphis and I strongly encourage you to visit it if you have not.  For those unfamiliar, let me distinguish a labyrinth from a maze: a garden maze (or a hedge maze or cornfield maze or amusement park maze) is a path with many branches and dead ends, a sort of a puzzle to get through, often with visual barriers so you cannot see the end.  A labyrinth, in the sense used in houses of worship, is a winding path without branches, so that if you follow it all the way - often around many loops - you always arrive at the end or center, and usually there are no walls to conceal what is going on.  They are very popular with children: I've spent happy times with grandchildren and nephews and nieces at labyrinths in children's parks.  In churches and monasteries, they are used for meditative walks or praying while walking; they may give a sense of "moving to the center" or simply a form of gentle exercise while praying. I have Jewish friends who are in the habit of reading the whole book of Psalms every month, five a day - some of the psalms are quite long and walking while reading them can be more comfortable than sitting or standing still, when you have available a nice walking route without danger of bumping into anyone. While I'm not a scholar of these things, maze  walking while praying seems to me one of the nearest things in Christian practice to some eastern practices such as some yoga or sufi contemplative customs.


October 2014

      October 24 is the New Year on the Muslim Calendar, the year 1436.  If I understand Yasir Qadhi's explanation correctly, a committee meeting about 17 years after Mohammed's flight from Mecca to Medina decided the new Muslim state needed a calendar for administrative reasons, and set the year 1 as the year of Mohammed's move.  The set the start of the year as the first new moon following the end of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca since the pilgrimage was viewed as giving people a sort of "new start."  I know at least one person on the MIRG e-mail list who just returned from the Hajj - is there anyone else this year?
     The Muslim calendar, like the Jewish, is lunar. But the Qur'an dictates a twelve-month year - so the year winds up being about 10 or 11 days shorter than the solar year, and the holidays migrate from one season to another at the rate of about one month every three years. Every holiday eventually gets a chance to be in every season. The Jewish calendar differs from this by having a thirteenth month whenever needed to move the holidays back to the "right" season (seven times every nineteen years.)  The Christian calendar solves the problem by making the months a day or two longer than a lunar month, so holidays stay in the same season but you no longer know the phase of the moon by which day of the month it is.

     This month (and given the operation of lunar calendars, posssibly for another couple of years) the Jewish month of Tishri and the Muslim month of Dhul Hijaah coincide - bringing together principal holidays of both faiths.  Yom Kippur, the Jewish "day of Atonement", a fast day for repentance for sins, is October 4. And Eid Ul-Adha, the great Muslim holiday, is also October 4. Both religions attach special values to prayers and have special prayer customs for the ten days leading up to the holiday. Expect major parking problems around the synagogues on the evening of  October 3 until after sunset October 4.  The mosques recognize that they can't fit in everyone who wants to come the morning of October 4, and will have a major service in the southwest hall of the Memphis Cook Convention Center (9:30 AM).  They will also have an Eid carnival Sunday Oct 5, 11 AM - 5 PM at Incredible Pizza in Germantown.
     Actually, the theological connections are much closer between Rosh Hashanah (Sept 24-25) and Eid Ul_Adha. The principal reading from the Jewish Bible for Rosh Hashanah is the willingness of Abraham to offer his son (Isaac) as a sacrifice.  The principal Qur'an reading for Eid Ul-Adha is the willingness of Abraham to offer his son (Ishmael) as a sacrifice.
      Rabbi Arthur Waskow adds:  And even more!  October 4 is for Catholics and many other Christians the day for remembering and honoring  St. Francis of Assisi.  The present Pope chose to affirm Francis not only in naming himself but in living simply and preaching compassionately.  St. Francis went to Cairo to study with Muslims how they prayed, in order to deepen his own prayer.  He committed a holy act of both heresy and treason by opposing the Crusades. And he was deeply in touch with the more-than-human life of all the Earth.


September 2014

After a long search, Masjid Ar-Rahman has appointed a new Imam, Anwar Arafat.  We expect that he will be a meaningful addition to the group of clergy of all faiths in the city.  He will preside at the city-wide Eid Ul_Adha prayers October 4.

Memphis has a number of new Halal restaurants (Muslim equivalent of kosher.)
Tannoor Grill is located on 830 N. Germantown Pkwy Cordova, TN 38018 901-443-5222.
Barakat Middle Eastern Restaurant is located at 5800 Raleigh Lagrange Rd Bartlett, TN 901-674-1666
Sharks Fish & Chicken has three locations in the Memphis area - Midtown, Hickory Hill and Summer Avenue.www.sharksmemphis.com
The Burger Joint is located at 5844 Poplar Ave Memphis, TN 38119.901-537-3533.
(I think this means we now have more Halal restaurants than Kosher restaurants. Of course the Halal rules are somewhat simpler.)


Ramadan begins about June 28 this year, 2014 (can vary a bit based on moon sighting.)

May and early June 2014

June 5. The Washington Post has an article and map showing the second largest religion (after Christianity) in each state. It is probably not a surprise that it is Buddhism in most Western states, Judaism in the Northeast, Islam in twenty of the southern and middle states. But it is of interest that Hinduism is the second largest in two states, and Baha'i in one state.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2014/06/04/the-second-largest-religion-in-each-state/?hpid=z5 
I was surprised that Judaism came in second in Tennessee and (even more unexpectedly, for me) in Arkansas. 

Healthy Memphis Common Table has changed its name to "Common Table Health Alliance"
http://www.memphisdailynews.com/news/2014/may/26/healthy-memphis-common-table-unveils-new-name/
This is a good time to remind people that this group provides speakers on issues such as how to deal with your doctors and how to take control of your own health, talks very well received by Sunday School classes and other religious (and other) groups.
http://www.healthymemphis.org/

MidSouth Peace and Justice Center has a new Executive Director, Brad Watkins, a long-time staff member there.

Along with other religious organizations, Pax Christi USA signed this letter supporting voting rights legislation
<http://jewishaction.us/news/86-religious-organizations-write-congress-support-voting-rights-legislation>

There are several health-related events on the Common Table Health Alliance website,
http://www.healthymemphis.org/upcoming-events.php  which I have not included below.

Feedback on what I should include here is always welcome.

MIFA wants participants and volunteers for the COOL (College Offers Opportunities for Life) program. Kids are to be from the 38126 zip code and/or attend Carver or Booker T. Washington high schools, have at least a 2.0 GPA. Adult mentors who can put in two to five hours a month are wanted. Details at http://www.mifa.org/cool?utm_source=Memphis%20Inter-Religious%20Group
Temple Israel sisterhood is preparing snacks for the kick-off event for this, June 11, 5:30. Contact Jane at 901.239.7536.

Healthy Memphis Common Table has changed its name to "Common Table Health Alliance"
http://www.memphisdailynews.com/news/2014/may/26/healthy-memphis-common-table-unveils-new-name/
This is a good time to remind people that this group provides speakers on issues such as how to deal with your doctors and how to take control of your own health, talks very well received by Sunday School classes and other religious (and other) groups.
http://www.healthymemphis.org/

MidSouth Peace and Justice Center has a new Executive Director, Brad Watkins, a long-time staff member there.

April 9, 2014. Jerusalem 3D - From April 19 through December of 2014, the Pink Palace will be showing “Jerusalem 3D” in its IMAX theater. This is a travelogue about the Old City of Jerusalem, prepared by the National Geographic, with references to the ancient history of the city from Christian, Jewish, and Muslim viewpoints and using narrators of all three faiths.  It has been very well received by local religious leaders of all three faiths. It does not consider modern problems or controversies, but does allow you to see the insides of holy places not normally available to tourists because of the modern problems.  I found the 3D effects attractive even though I have very poor vision in one eye.
There is a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/jerusalemthemovie
Further information on the Pink Palace including movies and exhibits is at       
http://www.memphismuseums.org/
and the movie schedule is at
http://www.memphismuseums.org/cti_3d-show_schedule/


April 3, 2014.  It is hard not to be concerned about the refugees in so many places around the world.  How long will the world allow people to be confined in refugee camps?  In some of the Palestinian camps in some of the Arab countries, refugees have been effectively confined for about 65 years.  They suffer even more when civil wars, as in Syria, effectively blockade the camps and keep food and medicine from getting in.
     And what will happen to the refugees now streaming out of Syria? There is a rather remarkable article about Syrian refugees in Lebanon, at  http://www.merip.org/mero/mero040314


March 23, 2014.  I can't resist commenting on two plays presently going on in Memphis.
The Diary of Anne Frank  at Playhouse on the Square continues until March 30. It is an outstanding production, wonderful set, excellent acting, and well worth seeing.  Do be aware of what you are getting into: as one friend commented, "it is a little difficult to watch at times, since you know the ending."  I've also heard it said that the characters are a bit one-dimensional. Well, yes - and that is not due to bad acting. The script is from the Diary of Anne Frank. She was, after all, a twelve-year-old: the characters are as they were seen by Anne, just the things she saw and the things she understood.  It is, in addition to being such a classic story, a wonderful study of "the world as seen by a 12-year-old."    http://playhouseonthesquare.org/  
       I wonder if anyone younger than me noticed that the one brief song sung in the show, in Hebrew, was in the wrong dialect - the one used in most American Hebrew Schools today, not the one used in German Hebrew Schools in the 1930.s and 1940's? (This does not detract in the slightest from the play.)
     If Anne Frank, with a cast of  over a dozen, is still a one-viewpoint story, another interesting and genuinely one-man production in town is being put on by Rabia Louis Haynes:  If Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Were Alive Today is a 75-minute show in the gorgeous new theatre at the Kroc Center (the Salvation Army building at 800 East Parkway South, south of Central), Friday and Saturday at 7 PM, Sunday at 2 PM, through April 6.  ($20, $15 students and seniors).  This unusual show is one man's recollections and thoughts about King,  colored by experiences in Vietnam and Birmingham; it is more about peace and freedom and justice than about the civil rights struggle itself. Haynes does a remarkable and moving job of reciting some of King's famous speeches. He stretches things a bit in the last scene, when he tries to preach in the way he thinks King might preach today:  he may not be quite the writer that King was, but it is still interesting and effective and I found it as interesting to see his view of the world as it was to see Anne Franks' view, and a very interesting juxtaposition.


March 16, 2014, was the Jewish (minor) Holiday of Purim.  There were far too many Purim events to list here; I'm giving a small sample. Purim is sunset March 15 to sunset March 16, but the celebrations of this joyous early Spring festival go on for some time before and after. It is, canonically, an extremely minor Jewish holiday, celebrating the events of the Book of Esther in the Bible.  It is not one of the more theological, shall we say, of the biblical books. Ian Fleming pointed out that James Bond was based on Esther, the principle differences being that the sexy undercover agent in the Bible is female, that M's full name is given, and that the road races in the Bible have to be done on fast horses as the Aston-Martin had not yet been invented.  If you'd like a different look at the Bible, read the Book of Esther thinking "Goldfinger" rather than "Biblical Epic", or attend Temple Israel's annual musical comedy version  (which is not as risque as either the Bible or the James Bond movies.)

        People who have never attended a traditional synagogue service on Purim will be amused to know that any children attending are issued noisemakers to use during the Bible reading.  The Book originally came in a scroll, in Hebrew a "Megillah", and the fact that the whole book is traditionally read on the holiday, "The Whole Megillah", has passed into many languages as an idiom roughly for "reciting the whole story with nothing left out."



December 12, 2013.  Our good friend Tanvir Kazmi has sent along some quotations from the Qur'an appropriate to the (Christian) season.

[Al-Imran 3:33]   GOD has chosen Adam, Noah, the family of Abraham, and the family of Imran to the people. They belong in the same progeny. GOD is Hearer, Omniscient. The wife of Imran said, "My Lord, I have dedicated (the baby) in my belly to You, totally, so accept from me. You are Hearer, Omniscient." When she gave birth to her, she said, "My Lord, I have given birth to a girl" - GOD was fully aware of what she bore - "The male is not the same as the female. I have named her Mary, and I invoke Your protection for her and her descendants from the rejected devil." Her Lord accepted her a gracious acceptance, and brought her up a gracious upbringing, under the guardianship of Zachariah. Whenever Zachariah entered her sanctuary he found provisions with her. He would ask, "Mary, where did you get this from?" She would say, "It is from GOD. GOD provides for whomever He chooses, without limits." That is when Zachariah implored his Lord: "My Lord, grant me such a good child; You are the Hearer of the prayers." The angels called him when he was praying in the sanctuary: "GOD gives you good news of John (Yahya); a believer in the word of GOD, honorable, moral, and a righteous prophet." He said, "How can I have a boy, when I am so old, and my wife is sterile?" He said, "GOD does whatever He wills." He said, "My Lord, give me a sign." He said, "Your sign is that you will not speak to the people for three days, except through signals. Commemorate your Lord frequently; and meditate night and day."

[Al-Imran 3:42]   The angels said, "O Mary, GOD has chosen you and purified you. He has chosen you from all the women. "O Mary, you shall submit to your Lord, and prostrate and bow down with those who bow down." This is news from the past that we reveal to you. You were not there when they drew their raffles to select Mary's guardian. You were not present when they argued with one another. The angels said, "O Mary, GOD gives you good news: a Word from Him whose name is `The Messiah, Jesus the son of Mary. He will be prominent in this life and in the Hereafter, and one of those closest to Me.' "He will speak to the people from the crib, as well as an adult; he will be one of the righteous." She said, "My Lord, how can I have a son, when no man has touched me?" He said, "GOD thus creates whatever He wills. To have anything done, He simply says to it, `Be,' and it is. "He will teach him the scripture, wisdom, the Torah, and the Gospel." As a messenger to the Children of Israel: "I come to you with a sign from your Lord - I create for you from clay the shape of a bird, then I blow into it, and it becomes a live bird by GOD's permission. I restore vision to the blind, heal the leprous, and I revive the dead by GOD's permission. I can tell you what you eat, and what you store in your homes. This should be a proof for you, if you are believers. "I confirm previous scripture - the Torah - and I revoke certain prohibitions imposed upon you. I come to you with sufficient proof from your Lord. Therefore, you shall observe GOD, and obey me. "GOD is my Lord and your Lord; you shall worship Him alone. This is the right path."



December 7, 2013.  We are having a spate of bad weather, and quite a few events cancelled.  Yasir Qadhi, the scholar-in-residence at the Memphis Islamic Center, reports that in the early days of Islam there were days when the weather was so bad that Mohammed instructed the muezzin to announce prayer times with the call "God is Great! Stay home and pray!"  instead of the customary "God is Great! Come to Pray!"  (Yasir then went on to encourage those who could safely walk to mosque to do so, so that those wanting to pray in a congregation could do so.)

October 8, 2013.  It is is a busy season for several faiths right now. Muslims are in the ten days leading up to Eid El-Adha, the Festival of the Sacrifice, the most major Muslim holiday. It commemorates the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his young first-born son Ismail (Ishmael) as an act of submission to God's command and his son's acceptance to being sacrificed, before God intervened to provide Abraham with a lamb to sacrifice instead.  It begins Monday evening October 14 and ends Tuesday evening October 15. Since crowds at the Tuesday morning service will far exceed the capacity of local mosques (including the social halls, which tend to be crowded with overflow worshipers this week) the main service will be held in The Cook Convention Center at 9 AM Tuesday.  The festival is on the tenth day of the lunar month of  Dhul Hijjah and during the ten days there is special value to good deeds and fasting, much as in the ten days leading to Yom Kippur (the day of atonement) for the Jews or the period of Lent for the Christians.

By a coincidence of calendar, these ten days essentially coincide with the Hindu occasion of   Navaratri and Brahmotsavam Celebrations, October 4th to 13th, nine nights and ten days. During the  nine nights, nine forms of Shakti/Devi are worshiped. The tenth day is commonly referred to as Vijayadashami or "Dussehra." The first word "victory on the tenth" refers to the tenth day of the lunar month; the second refers to "the removal of ten",  referring to Lord Rama's victory over the ten-headed demon king Ravana.  Unlike the Muslim holiday which migrates seasonally due to the Muslim lunar year, the Hindu holiday is also a harvest holiday.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vijayadashami

Sept 15, 2013 is the 45th anniversary of the founding of MIFA, the Metropolitan InterFaith Association, one of the city's major service organizations. Their newsletter about it is at
http://www.mifa.org/assets/1176/hiafall13_final_web.pdf

Porter-Leath reminds me that Kroger now has a system whereby you can sign-up on-line so that when you shop at Krogers and use your Kroger Plus card. a small percentage of your purchase gets donated to an organization you choose. Many Memphis churches, synagogues, and religious schools are among the listed organizations (no Muslims, Hindus. Buddhists? I didn't notice any in the list) or you can have the donation given to local charities such as Porter-Leath, MIFA, Bridges (who else should I mention here?). 
https://customer.kroger.com/communityrewards.aspx

Late May 2013  

A surprising number of local groups - Jewish, Christian, and Muslim - have been holding fundraisers or collecting donations for the Oklahoma Tornado victims.

Reminder: The Lenten lectures from the Calvary Lenten Lecture series are on line, some with videos.
See
http://calvarymemphis.org/lps

Mid-May 2013
 

You might find of interest  an article on efforts at Jewish-Muslim dialogue in India. In India as in the United States, Muslims and Jews are both minority religions. 
http://blogs.rj.org/rac/2013/05/01/seeking-israeli-indian-and-jewish-muslim-understand-through-dialogue/

5/1/2013

This seems a week more crying out for commentary than for lists of events.  The attack in Boston has led to the usual "why don't the moderate Muslims speak out?" complaints. Of course they do speak out - the press releases from the local Muslim community were immediate - but the press loves drama and excitement and would much rather talk about violence than about solutions.  I occasionally find an excuse to give a sermon or talk quoting Psalms 137 and 126. The first chronologically (137) is at the time of the exile to Babylon and one frequently hears quoted "How can I sing the song of the Lord in a foreign land" and "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem..." but no one ever quotes the rest - it is a bitter, vindictive, song of a war lost, ending (translations vary) "happy will be he who dashes the children of the Babylonians against the rocks."  There are people who like to quote unpleasant verses of the Qur'an out of context but forget that the Bible has them too.  The antidote is Psalm 126,  on the return from Babylon: a man may sow seed while weeping, but will return in joy from the harvest, bringing in his sheaves of grain.  Tragedy may lead to thoughts of retaliation, but if one is thinking of retaliation one is not moving towards peace.  Individuals, groups, and governments, need to be thinking of the future - what must we do now, (even making sacrifices like using something we could eat now as seed for the next crop) to bring in the sheaves, peace and prosperity, in the future?

There is an interesting article in the Washington Post by a Muslim author,
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-faith/wp/2013/05/01/four-ways-muslims-can-stop-the-next-terror-attack/

I also heard an excellent sermon in the Memphis Islamic Center by its president, Dr. Bashar Shala, who stressed to his congregation, many of whom are immigrants, the importance of teaching their children that they are Americans, that it is absolutely consistent to be both a loyal American and an observant Muslim, that one can and should work for the welfare of all Americans.  It is important that they teach their children enough about Islam to avoid the risk that the children will be tempted by anarchists who misleadingly represent themselves as pro-Islam, and that they keep a close eye on their children's internet use since there is so much false and misleading information out there.

Changing the subject, it is impossible not to remark on the passing of Maxine Smith, one of the original leaders of the modern Civil Rights movement and a towering local figure, present until recently at so many local events.  She was 83.

2/12/2013

There was a remarkable talk by the Gary Shorb, president of Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare, at the Memphis Theological Seminar dinner on February 21.  He pointed out that the United States spends far more on healthcare than any other nation on earth and yet on most measures of health care we are at the very bottom of the list of industrialized nations. (On many measures we rank lower than, say, Cuba.) He strongly urged people to write state legislatures urging Tennessee to accept the proposed US expansion of Medicaid.

I heard a very nice talk recently by Prof. Earnestine Jenkins at the University of Memphis. Instead of the "melting pot" or the "salad bowl" model, she spoke of "acculturation" - the process by which different groups or cultures learn to accommodate, provide space, learn to live alongside one another. She stresses that is is a gradual process involving learning and adjusting on all sides.

1/4/2013
    We note with deep distress the death of Harriet Stern on December 22. She was 79, very active until shortly before her death,  a tireless volunteer for many causes and a strong supporter of interfaith activities in Memphis.

On the issue of the difference between "respect", "pruralism", etc. -- and on the general issue of working together with people with whom one disagrees -- there is a very interesting essay recently in the Jewish press.
http://www.thejewishweek.com/editorial-opinion/opinion/jewish-religious-pluralism-destructive-idea

We had an excellent visit to the Hindu Temple on January 1.  I now have a much better schedule of what is going on there and some offers to help explain activities there, if anyone needs information on such things.

12/08/ 2012
Since the newspapers seem so rarely to print statements from moderates, it was nice to see a recent statement from a member of the Syrian opposition quoted in the Christian Science Monitor. The Imam Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib is quoted as saying  to a crowd near Damascus "My brothers, we lived all our lives, Sunnis, Shiites, Alawites, and Druze, as a one-hearted community. And with us lived our dear brothers who follow Jesus, peace be upon him. We should adhere to his bond between us and protect it at all times."
http://www.csmonitor.com/

Church Health Center
We recently became aware that the national organization serving Parish Nurses has merged into Memphis's  Church Health Center. There is some information at  http://www.chreader.org/parishnurses.aspx?listWebPage_id=1
For those unacquainted with the concept, some houses of worship have attached to them a trained person, often a nurse (on salary or retired and a volunteer) who may assist with hospital visitation and may be available to answer health questions for members of the congregation or nearby community.  This can be critically helpful in communities that have considerable numbers of uninsured, or where there are numerous expectant mothers or preschool children, where someone who can say "this can wait a few days" or "go see the doctor today, I'll call and say why it is time-critical" can be a big help.  And while the elderly receive remarkably good telephone advice from the AARP Nurse (if you don't know about that program, ask!) , the AARP nurse cannot make house calls and a parish nurse can.  If you can use more information about this program (which is by no means restricted to Christian groups), contact the Church Health Center. http://www.churchhealthcenter.org/fcnhome   Their next course for "community health promoters" will be
Tuesday nights, March 5 - April 23, call 901-261-8833
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We've been pleased at the very large turnouts at several recent events. "A Taste of Hunger" on Nov 4 drew a large audience and provided a guide to many programs in Memphis assisting the hungry - food banks, soup kitchens, and other programs.  If you'd likje a .pdf of that guidebook, let us know and we'll send one. One unexpected treat at the dinner, at Anshei Sphard-Beth El Emeth Synagogue, was an announcement that the local Muslim community was starting a halal food bank; that is now in operation.

The Nov 14 conference on "how neighborhoods can come together" sponsored by the Center for Transforming Communities (http://ctcmidsouth.org ) had a packed house, over 300 participants, and wonderful ideas for working together.  See the blog on their website for more.

There was also a very full house for the interfaith Thanksgiving service on Nov 20 at Balmoral Presbyterian Church, with a huge combined choir and participation by clergy from quite a few churches and Temple Israel.

It was interesting to see Thanksgiving meals put on by Hindu and Muslim organizations, as well.


October 2012
Haaretz Sunday, October 07, 2012:  Jewish, Christian groups urge tolerance toward Muslims in New York subway ads
Initiative by Rabbis for Human Rights and Christian group Sojourners aims to counter pro-Israel ads pitting 'civilized man' against Jihad.
http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/jewish-christian-groups-urge-tolerance-toward-muslims-in-new-york-subway-ads-1.468694



September  2012:

Sept 12: A California real estate developed produced a short anti-Muslim film.  Its circulation was followed by attacks on Americans in Egypt and Libya, resulting in the death of the American Ambassador in Libya. 

Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), condemned both the killings and the film. Awad said in a statement:

“We urge that this ignorant attempt to provoke the religious feelings of Muslims in the Arabic-speaking world be ignored and that its extremist producers not be given the cheap publicity they so desperately seek.

“Those who created this trashy film do not represent the people of America or the Christian faith. The only proper response to intentional provocations such as this film is to redouble efforts to promote mutual understanding between faiths and to marginalize extremists of all stripes.”

Sept 4:
Are you familiar with "The Mindset List", a review of what is "normal" for American college freshmen?
http://www.beloit.edu/mindset/2016/    (Yes, you can enter earlier years to compare!)

We note the arrival in Memphis of Prof. Mark Kaplowitz, who is David Bornblum Visiting Scholar at the University of Memphis. Dr. Kaplowitz is an authority on the philosophy of Spinoza and commentators on Spinoza such as the German philosopher Hermann Cohen. He has also studied such writers and philosophers as Maimonides, Kant, Franz Rosenzweig.  I hope the general community will get chances to hear from him!

In a somewhat bizarre situation, the Florida prison system has decided to save money by no longer serving kosher meals to inmates who request them. The U.S. Department of Justice has sued Florida saying this is unfair. (Apparently about 250 inmates typically requested kosher food.)  What makes this of interfaith interest is the fact that kosher food is also halal, that is, it meets the dietary restrictions of Muslim as well as Jewish observers of religious practices.  So the US suit is receiving support from both Muslim and Jewish groups.  People may be interested to know that the rules are not identical - a Muslim friend said to me "The Muslims are not allowed to drink alcohol, the Jews are not allowed to eat shellfish - I'm not sure which of us is getting the better deal."  


August 2012:
Obviously, the big news recently was the attack on the Sikh house of worship in Wisconsin. 
There is a nice writeup of local response in The Commercial Appeal,
http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2012/aug/08/jesse-jackson-comforts-sikhs-in-memphis/
The website of the local Sikhs is  http://www.midsouthsikhsabha.org/
Since so few people know much about the Sikhs, this may be a good occasion to mention Teaching Tolerance,
http://www.tolerance.org/  which provides free educational materials to teachers about other religious and racial groups and materials to help teach respect and understanding and fight prejudice and discrimination. Their e-newsletter was the first I received after the tragedy that actually had information about the Sikh religion and about the problems and misunderstandings they have suffered.
http://www.tolerance.org/blog/we-honor-sikhs-learning-about-them
http://www.tolerance.org/blog/can-my-sikh-student-carry-sword
Teaching Tolerance is a program of the Southern Poverty Law Center, http://www.splcenter.org/
One of their posts on this is at
http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/news/sikhi-is-a-way-of-life-of-which-we-are-all-a-part


July 2012:
Somehow I missed advance notice for the PBS program Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World but it may be of interest that 15 minutes of "bonus footage", just video, of the material is on-line at http://video.pbs.org/video/2251483761  If there is someone out there better at watching for upcoming programs, or finding on-line versions of them than I am, I'd love help. I was fascinated to discover an eight minute clip about the Jewish Ghetto in Shanghai during the Second World War, as I had good friends who spent the war in the Ghetto in Shanghai. http://video.pbs.org/video/2224183518  Shanghai was possibly the last place in the world that would admit Jews without a visa, if they could find a way to get there from Europe.

May 2012:
5/18  Last night was the Annual awards dinner by Diversity Memphis. Two of the honorees were people we have worked actively with, Dr. Manoj Jain and David Waters.   Others who spoke whom we have worked with or talked about here in the past include Rabbi Micah Greenstein of Temple Israel and Father Nicholas Vieron of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church, whose talks at Calvary last Lent are still available to listen to, Dr. Bashar Shala of the Memphis Islamic Center and Memphis Friendship Foundation, and mediator Jocie Wurzburg. Eunice and I got to sit with (among others) Janice Vanderhaar and Ed Wallin.

We were sorry to learn of a death a few days ago.  Janice Vanderhaar sent this message:
----
Dr. Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz, a true prophetic woman of peace, passed on to eternal life on Sunday, May 13. 
Please read the moving message below sent to me earlier today by a close friend of Ada Maria's.
 It is hard to believe that Dr. Ada Maria passed this way less than two months ago to share with us her incredible message of Compassion and Solidarity at the Vanderhaar Symposium on March 15 in Memphis.  
We sent the remarkable pictures taken that evening to her family.  They capture her essence beautifully.  Please scroll down the email to see photos.
We were indeed blessed by her powerful presence in our midst.
 We send our prayers of deep sympathy to her beloved mother and all her deeply-grieving family. 
 May she rest in Eternal Love and Peace!  Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz Presente!
----
Let us (or Janice) know if you want the photos.

May 22: 
MEDICAL NOTE: The Interfaith Medical discussion at Masjid As-Salaam last Sunday was excellent, and I'm particularly proud since it very clearly was enhanced by the presence of people who came and participated because of this mailing list.  Hey, we can make a difference on the obesity issue. Consider suggesting to your house of worship that they experiment with not putting out donuts at coffee hour and instead put out small tomatoes, carrot and celery sticks, grapes, if you want to get fancy you can add pineapple and watermelon chunks.  You may be able to link up with others through http://www.healthymemphis.org/

 Pentecost and Mi'raj
         Today (the 21st or 22nd of May this year) is the new moon, when the Hebrew and Muslim calendars start new months. For the Jews it is Sivan, for the Muslims it is Rajab.  This year (as in about one in four) the Jewish and Christian calendars are in pretty good synchronization, so the holiday of Pentecost  (seven weeks, or 50 days, from Easter), when the Holy Spirit enable the apostles to "speak in tongues", comes on Sunday, May 27.  The Jewish holiday of Shavuot, "the feast of weeks", seven weeks from Passover, and also referred to as Pentecost, starts the evening of May 26; it ends the evening of May 27 for Reform Jews and the evening of the 28th for Orthodox and Conservative Jews.  For Jews it celebrates the giving of the law on Mt. Sinai; the ten commandments are read,  and parties with ice cream (that is, dairy rather than meat dishes) are common.
         In English this is the only holiday for which Jews and Christians can use the same word (Pentecost), although in some other languages Easter and Passover have the same name (e.g. French "Pâques", derived from the Hebrew "Pesach").  Apparently the choice of a different calendar calculation, so that they do not always coincide on date, was a decision of the Roman Emperor Constantine who wanted to clarify that Judaism and Christianity were separate religions.
        For Muslims the month is Rajab, and the date I know of in it with the most interest is Mi'raj, the 27th of Rajab, about June 18, which is the anniversary of the night when Mohammed was transported to Jerusalem and  ascended from there for a visit in heaven.  While I gather some Muslim communities have customs associated with this, it is not an official holiday.  The explanation I have read is that Mohammed did not encourage any celebration of "past events", only celebration of "what is happening now". The two principal Muslim feast days are Eid El-Fitr, the "completion" or end of the fasting month of Ramadan, and Eid El-Adha  which celebrates the pilgrimage to Mecca but also (presumably not coincidentally) remembers the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son. This latter event is very frequently spoken of by the Jews (e.g. the talk just mentioned at Temple Israel  last week) but oddly the Jews don't have a particular day to celebrate it.
 
May 29:        I ran into or recalled some remarkable phrases this week.
       On Saturday at Temple Israel, we were studying some early statements by meetings of  American Rabbis. The Pittsburgh Platform of 1885 (this was before Rabbis organized themselves into Orthodox/Conservative/Reform groups, although most of the signers were the "liberals") included the sentences "We are convinced of the utmost necessity of preserving the historical identity with our great past.  Christianity and Islam being daughter religions of Judaism, we appreciate their providential mission, to aid in the spreading of monotheistic and moral truth."
       The Pentecost story in most churches talks of the need to talk to people "in their own language." I found myself recalling a January 2008 conference at Trinity Church, New York, which I watched by video in the company of Dr. M. Moinuddin. The participants included the  U.S. Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, and the Muslim Oxford Professor Tariq Ramadan.  In the discussion afterwards, someone asked them (I haven't looked up the quotes, I'm giving you how I recall them) "How is it possible for you two to agree on so much?".
       Jefferts Schori replied, in part, "God has given us the gift of continuing revelation."
       Prof. Ramadan jumped up almost indignantly. "Absolutely not. I disagree completely. Revelation stopped with Mohammed. Allah has given us the gift of continuing interpretation."
----
      I had a story appear in The Commercial Appeal on Saturday, May 26, on an interesting intersection of Memphis-In-May with interfaith relations.  David Waters and Connie Binkowitz (featured in the article) helped significantly.
The link is 
http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2012/may/26/guest-commentary-journey-of-belief-came-full-for/
Connie Binkowitz is with Health Memphis/Common Table.  http://healthymemphis.org/

April 2012: 

4/23  There is a group in Damascus, Syria, working with Iraqi refugees. One thing they do is try to arrange college in the US for a few outstanding Iraqi refugee students.  At the present time they have a candidate, a son of a physician working in a tuberculosis clinic in Baghdad whose family fled to Damascus after violence in their neighborhood at home. Christian Brothers University apparently will waive tuition if they can find pledges of support for room, board, incidentals. They have pledges of over half the funds needed so far. The interfaith aspect here of course is CBU's willingness to do this for a Muslim student; David Waters has indicated an interest in writing about the project. More info at http://memphisiraqistudentproject.weebly.com/about-isp.html   I'll provide the local contact information for anyone interested. (I'm at admin@memphisirg.org or 327-9735)

4/23 Memphis Islamic Center's Resident Scholar, Yasir Qadhi, was featured on PBS special program "Finding Your Roots" alongside Pastor Rick Warren and Rabbi Angela Buchdahl.   It's a nice interfaith program. The program aired on PBS, or WKNO in Memphis, on Sunday, April 15, 2012.  However, the show is also available online at PBS' website at the following link:     http://www.pbs.org/wnet/finding-your-roots/video/   Update: This link takes you to the most recent episode of this show, but you can scroll down and click on the episode "Rick Warren, Angela Buchdahl, and Yasir Qadhi". They have another Yasir Qadhi episode, "The growth of Islam in America."   (We can possibly provide off-line copies if needed.)

The local Jewish History group recently circulated a review of "Arab and Jewish Women in Kentucky: Stories of Accommodation and Audacity (Kentucky Remembered: An Oral History Series)"  by Nora Rose Moosnick. You'll probably enjoy the review on Amazon,
http://www.amazon.com/Arab-Jewish-Women-Kentucky-Accommodation/dp/0813136210

4/8 We aren't recruiting volunteers here, that happened elsewhere, but it's always fun to notice that on Easter, Temple Israel recruits volunteers to serve at the Soup Kitchen at First Presbyterian Church downtown, so that the usual Christian volunteers get the day with their families.  Many of the chartities and activities in town are also manned by the Jews at Christmas.

4/7  Note that Edward Ordman's essay about interfaith activist Stanley Engelberg appeared in the Commercial Appeal on April 7, 2012.   http://ordman.net/Edward/Engelberg.html   "Helping Others was Stan's Life Mission"


March 2012:

3/31: The inaugural concert of the Balmoral Chamber Orchestar was a major success. We hope to see a lot more of them.

3/30: The big news among our friends recently was the death of Stanley Engelberg on March 21. I hope that an essay about him will appear in the On Faith page of the Commercial Appeal, probably April 7.
        Non-Jews will be amused to note that it wasn't until I was at least in high school, maybe later, that I realized that "Spring Cleaning" did not have a specific date on the national or Christian calendars.  For the Jews it does: the day before Passover. The calendar put out by the local Hasidic Jewish group (Chabad) admonishes that in Memphis this must be completed by 11:49 am on Friday, April 6.  This is derived, from centuries of discussion, from the biblical admonition that "you shall have no leaven throughout your habitations", hence all the corners of the house have to be cleaned to get rid of any breadcrumbs that may have accumulated.  There are accompanying prayers and rituals.  I was really quite startled when I discovered that the "spring cleaning" of the popular press was not this ritualized or specific.
        My events listings for the next week or so won't be as elaborate as recently, partly since the events of "Holy Week", Easter, and Passover, tend to be more specific to the specific religions and less inter-faith oriented.  The number of joint programs involving multiple churches is simply too long to list.  All the synagogues will have special prayers and some other programs on at least April 6-7-8 for Passover. So I'll include mainly a few concerts and other things that appeal to me.

3/19: In an e-mail I sent, I evidently was wrong about the reason that the lecture on March 15 by Dr. Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz was moved from Christian Brothers University (which is normally very supportive of peace-related and interfaith-related events)  to First Congregational Church (which is even more so.)  Apparently the trigger issue was not her support of the ordination of women, but her preaching at the same-sex wedding ceremony of her nephew.  The Commercial Appeal write-up of this is at
http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2012/mar/02/seminar-speaker-canceled-by-02/  \
The very brief wedding sermon in question is linked to from her home page at http://users.drew.edu/aisasidi/
where you'll also find copies of some of her more substantive talks, if you either miised her talk on March 15 or (like me) heard it and would like more.


3/16: I have to note as of special interest the 2012 issue of the magazine of the American University in Beirut, Main Gate, which can be downloaded at  http://staff.aub.edu.lb/~webmgate/MainGate-Winter2012.pdf  (a big pdf, takes awhile to download.)  There are excellent pieces such as "The Citizen and History Return to the Arab World", p. 28 and several others.
We also have a paper copy if you'd prefer to borrow that.
 
3/2:  I note with mild distress that man of the Calvary Lenten lectures from earlier years no longer seem to be on the Calvary or iTunes websites (or maybe they are just hard to find.)  I have saved a  great many of the 2008 and 2010 lectures, and a selection of the 2009 lectures. Let me know if you would like any.

January 2012:  We had a good meeting on January 27. One interesting feature is that we are now feeling confident enough with each other to start telling some of our groups' interior stories and conflicts, beginning to learn e.g. of similarities between the differences of opinion within the Muslim community to those within the Jewish community.  We had especially good turnouts from Balmoral Presbyterian Church and from Pax Christi, the Roman Catholic Peace group.

There is a nice sequence of videos by Rabbis for Human Rights - North America, of individual rabbis speaking out against Islamophobia.
It can be found at http://www.youtube.com/rhrna    
 The main web page for Rabbis for Human Rights / North America is at http://www.rhr-na.org/

Another religious-group website of interest is the Pax Christi website, the Roman Catholic peace group: http://paxchristiusa.org/
Their local group has a web page of interest at http://www.paxchristimemphis.org/

Janice Vanderhaar has pointed out  the international group http://www.religionsforpeace.org/  WHich has interesting reports recently on Catholic-Muslim cooperation in Nigeria.

Can anyone point out similar web sites, from clergy or laymen from other groups?  Of course "30 mosques" is still there, a national blog out of New York with Memphis reports at  http://30mosques.com/archive2010/2010/09/day-27-the-muslims-in-memphis-part-1/  about the Ordmans
and http://30mosques.com/archive2010/2010/09/outtakes-the-memphis-islamic-center-and-their-neighbors/  about Memphis Islamic Center and Heartsong Church. This has the nice interview with Danish Siddiqi, who has been invitred to speak at an evening program in the Calvary Lenten Lecture Series this spring, March 21, 2012.


Added late December 2011:

It wasn't a mass-participation thing, but several of our regulars were at the press conference Monday, December 19, concerning the suit against Delta Airlines over the refusal of a pilot to carry two local Imams.  Rabbi Micah Greenstein, Rev Steve Montgomery, and Rev. Steve Stone, among others, spoke to the press on the importance of not discriminating. The Channel 5  report and video link are at    http://www.wmctv.com/story/16351402/2011/12/19/religious-leaders-to-file-racial-profiling-lawsuit-monday#

My own comment, which I don't think anyone in the press reported, was that it was 100 years ago this month (December 1911) that my own grandfather, then a young Orthodox Jewish Rabbi, arrived in the US from Lithuania. He spoke no English. Five years later he was the founding Rabbi of a small synagogue in Peabody, Massachusetts, which is still there.  100 years ago many people still doubted that Jews could fit in as "normal" Americans (or, in Western Europe, as Europeans). About twenty years after that  some politicians discovered that they could get donations and followers by preaching hatred of the Jews. The consequences of this, for the entire world, were rather traumatic. I don't think I need to say more.



December 2011:

Chanukah is a rather minor Jewish holiday -it doesn't make the Bible - and its contemporary importance probably stems from its proximity to Christmas. But there is a connection between the two.  When the Maccabees revolted against King Antiochus Epiphenes, the descendent of one of Alexander the Great's generals then ruling the area, it was a rather bloody and nasty revolt. (Think terrorists. In my younger years my father compared the Maccabees to the Viet Cong.)  The war is recounted in the books of the Maccabees (Old Testament Apocrypha).  Even in those days, you couldn't run a good guerrilla war without foreign aid, and the Maccabees signed a mutual defense treaty with the Senate of the Republic of Rome; it is reprinted in Chapter 8, First Book of Maccabees.  It was eventually under color of that treaty that Roman troops came to Israel, and that in turn led to the presence of Roman soldiers (and a priestly class allied to them) in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus. I have this story in slightly more detail at http://ordman.net/Edward/Chanukah.html

Interestingly, the best Advent sermon I ever heard I heard at Masjid As-Salaam, the mosque on Stratford Road. A visiting preacher, a few Decembers ago, preached on the birth of John the Baptist (who gets even more praise in the Koran than he does in the New Testament.) He commented - wouldn't all of you like your children to be as self-confident, as knowledgeable, as kind to their parents, as faithful to God, as John the Baptist?  Well, then take a serious interest in your children's education. (Long riff on education.)  And remember that John, like Jesus, was a very successful preacher of the story of the One God.  In fact, John was remarkably good at it - after all, he was the one who had to baptize Jesus, not the other way around. So when your kids are being overwhelmed by toy advertisements and multiple Santa Claus-es, be prepared to sit down and talk about John and Jesus, those wonderful preachers of God, because the whole season is really about God.

October 2011:

It was hard not to be excited by the program October 4 at the Church of the Holy Communion, where a panel of Muslim speakers answere questions for a very eclectic audience, the session chaired by David Waters. A very good turnout by the Muslim community allowed ample opportunity for people to mix and talkj in the social hour following. Thanks, all!  This was an event sponsored in part by "Faith in Memphis",  http://faithinmemphis.com , the continually improving "religion" online presence of the Commercial Appeal.  Thanks, David Waters!

October 2 was an interesting evening at Temple Israel - a live from New York video of  Alan Dershowitz  being iunterviewed by Eliot Spitzer.  No one may heve been surprised by Dershowitz's support for a two-state solution in Israel / Palestine, but I was interested in the delicacy with which he atttempted to distinguish between the desires of the Israeli public, Primne Minister Netanyahu, and the actual behavior of the rather unwieldy Israeli coalition government.

Sept 2011 Notes:

09/30 There is a new flood in Pakistan. Collections for emergency relief are being made at all  Memphis mosques. 
Also, Muslim Social Services is opening a new second-hand shop on Mendenhall north of Summer Ave.

09/24  Congratulations on the recent Peace and Harmony Days where so many of our friends spoke and attended (speakers included Cantor John Kaplan of Temple Israel, Nabil Bayakly of Muslims in Memphis, Janice Vanderhaar of Pax Christi, as well as Hindu, Buddhist, and American Indian speakers...)

09/20  In the recent Kosher Barbeque Contest at the orthodox Jewish synagogue Anshei Sfard-Beth El Emeth, the team from the Memphis Islamic Center placed third in Kosher barbequed beef brisket!  Perhaps more important, this got a very nice writeup by the national Jewish Press agency!  The article is at
http://www.jta.org/news/article/2011/09/20/3089486/kosher-bbq-competition-spreading-among-jews-and-some-muslims-too
It was nice to have a dignificant number of Muslims visible and well accepted at this event. Once again, Memphis is helping show the rest of the country (and even the rest of the world) that people CAN enjoy being together and doing things together. 


09/18 I just noticed a very nice essay in The Commercial Appeal, Wendi C. Thomas: Faith leaders recast Samaritan parable, at
http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2011/sep/04/leaders-recast-samaritan-02/

09/14 The Fares Center at Tufts University, http://farescenter.tufts.edu , has a great many good lectures on the Middle East available on line.
e.g. Michele Dunne: Egypt: From Evolution to Revolution (April 13, 2011)
Salim Tamari: What Future for Jerusalem? (April 4, 2011)
Rami Khouri and Mohammed Younis: What they fear, what they seek: Understanding young Arabs who are reshaping their societies (February 22, 2011)
with many more upcoming.

09/14 The cooperation we have in Memphis continues to serve as a role model. If you missed the recent CBS news piece (with a lot of Dr. Bashar Shala of the Memphis Islamic Center and Rev Stone of Heartsong) it is at
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/09/08/earlyshow/main20103317.shtml?tag=mncol;lst;3
This has text of their interview as well as the video. (Thanks, Tanvir, for pointing this out.)

09/14 You might also enjoy an essay on religious eductaion in the Internet age by Rabbi Dr. Gil Perl, Dean of Margolin Hebrew Academy/Feinstone Yeshiva of the South in Memphis, Tenn.
http://www.thejewishweek.com/special_sections/education_careers/are_we_prepared_new_approaches_learning

  June 11, 2011:
    It was very nice to see a an essay by Janice Vanderhaar in the Sunday Commercial Appeal "Souls, spirits in rhythm are essence of our community",  at
http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2011/jun/11/guest-commentary-souls-spirits-in-rhythm-are-of/
     Janice is of course chair of the Vanderhaar Symposium which honors her late husband, as well as a spokesman for the Catholic group Pax Christi and a past recipient of a major interfaith award from  Muslims in Memphis.  And in the essay she quotes Arnold Perl as chairman of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority but doesn't mention that he's also a recent past president of Temple Israel.

      My wife Eunice and I had another chance to appreciate the interfaith richness of our city recently when on May 23 she was diagnosed with an Aorta Dissection, a major tear in the inner lining of the aorta which is frequently fatal.  She received wonderful treatment at Germantown Methodist Hospital and is recovering well. I couldn't help but notice that the initial diagnosis was by the gastroenterologist Dr. Gary Wruble, who just may be the only gastroenterologist in the city ever to have been a student at a Torah College (loosely, Jewish Bible) in Jerusalem, and that her Cardiologist Dr. Bashar Shala is President of the Memphis Islamic Center and during Eunice's hospital stay was honored at a Diversity Memphis dinner, along with the pastor of Heartsong Church and several others.  For those who like such things, the before-and-after pictures of the stent placement in the artery to get blood to her digestive tract is at
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150262441931187&set=a.424787671186.214150.548161186&type=1&theater
She's getting out of the house a little now, but still enjoys phone calls at 327-9735.

      During several days in the emergency room and intensive care, I managed to drop and break a computer, so my e-mail list has been restored from a backup a few months old.  Any help people can give me in getting others on this list is appreciated. Please forward this e-mail to a few friends you think ought to be on the list, and e-mail me if you need to be removed from the list or get a forwarded (not original) copy and need to be added.  Email  admin@memphisirg.org


June 2, 2011:
Our openhouse 5/22 was very nice and veryinteresting and productive - Jewish, Christian, Sunni, Shia, MIFA representation.
Unfortunately, the next day Eunice Ordman had to enter Methodist Hospiatl Germantown, with serious problems. By now she is stable enough that we hope to be home in a few more days. Details at http://ordman.net/Eunice_sick.html

So updating the website and getting out e-mails has been postponed for awhile.  I hope to be active again next week.

Notes of 5/21/2011:

If you haven't read it, look at
http://m.commercialappeal.com/news/2011/may/14/guest-commentary-shariah-bill-could-have-big-on/
an essay in the Commercial Appeal by a vice-president of LeBoheur Methodist Health Systems.


We continue to accumulate some intersting DVDs, CDs,  etc.  As some of you know, the Ordmans audit a lot of courses at the University oif Memphis and can recommend interesting ones (this is free if you are over 60).  We also occasionally find time to look at the free courses some universities offer on the internet or at coures from "The Great Courses", a/k/a "The Teach Company".  We have quite a few on hand we can lend, or if people are interested it might be fun to assemble a small goup to meet every week or two to watch and discuss one together (perhaps in the Fall?).  Three recent acquisitions -

DVD, Beginnings of Judaism,  24 lectures (most of these courses are half-hour leactures), by Prof Isaiah Gafney, Hebrew University

DVD, The Holy Land Revealed, Prtof, Jodi Magness,  (Archeologist), UNC-Chapel Hill, 36 Lectures, lots of video.

CD, Religions of the Axial Age, 24 lectures, Prof. Mark Muesse, Rhodes College.

If anyone indicates potential interest, I'll look around the shelves and add more to the stuff already listed her or on our Book list (link above.)




Notes of 4/17/2011:
We have DVDs available to lend of -
    The Vanderhaar Symposium lecture, March 6:  - "Peacemakers, Jewish, Christian, and Muslim"
    Movie, "A Prince Among Slaves"

  and others, see our "Book list" page.

    Edward and Eunice Ordman's talk to the Collierville Civitan Club, March 10 is now available online
     at http://vimeo.com/20981027
   The Calvary Lenten Lectures for 2011 are on-line:

    For example, Yasir Qadhi's talk, "The Most Beautiful Names of God", is at http://www.calvarymemphis.org/media/audio/podcasts/lps2011/20110413.mp3
Micah Greenstein's "Where Are You?" is at http://www.calvarymemphis.org/media/audio/podcasts/lps2011/20110404.mp3
and his "God is Watching and Waiting" is at http://www.calvarymemphis.org/media/audio/podcasts/lps2011/20110405.mp3
(on PC's, click on those to listen; right-click and "save target" to download to your own disk.)
For others, check the Calvary web site http://www.calvarymemphis.org/news/lentenseries.htm#Preachers

Notes of 3/11/2011:

Oh, my! I've talked of Memphis being an exciting place, but the more I learn the harder it is to keep up. On Wednesday March 16 I want to be in three places at once. David Waters, the religion specialist at the Commercial Appeal, is speaking at Balmoral Presbyterian Church on "Tough Issues in Memphis".  Patrick Gray, a Religious Studies professor at Rhodes College, will be speaking at Beth Shalom Synagogue on "Tikkun Olam and the New Testament."  This is part of Beth Shalom's Interfaith series: "Tikkun Olam" is  Hebrew for "repairing the world."  And on the U of Memphis Campus there will be a free showing of  "A Prince Among Slaves,"  a movie about the life of a very literate West African Muslim prince who was captured and wound up spending most of his life as a slave in the US.   With events under Muslim, Jewish, and Christian auspices the same night, it may be hard for any of them to get the large and interfaith attendance  all three events deserve.  I remind everyone: the best way to get interfaith discussions going is to go listen to the other guy first, at his place.

While Memphis seems sometimes like a showplace for mutual recognition and respect,  the rhetoric in the rest of the state and nation is not very good right now.  Congressional hearings are being held by a congressman, Peter King, who seems to feel that we have too many mosques and 85% of the mosques are run by terrorists. The speeches are awful, the reminders of Joe McCarthy (and of anti-Jewish investigations in Europe a few generations ago) are great.   And the Tennessee House and Senate have had bills introduced to prohibit practicing or advocating Sharia.  I'm not clear exactly how far those bills go: I take it they would prohibit washing ones hands before eating (a great deal of the Sharia is about personal hygiene)  and probably would prohibit saying that Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary (since that is in the Koran). The Tennessee bills are patently unconstitutional, but the debates are clearly designed to promote hatred.   I strongly urge people to write their legislators (state and federal) pointing out the absurdity of the proposed laws and hearings.  Find Eunice Ordman's suggestions on letter writing  and congressional/senate contact info at
http://ordman.net/Eunice/Political_Letter_Writing.html
E-mail addresses of your state legislators are not on that page but are easy to find by putting in your 9-digit zip code at
http://withstringsattached.org/legislative-lookup/

David Waters has pointed out to me that the Commercial Appeal has an on-line listing of houses of worship, at http://faithworksmemphis.com/
Check to see that yours is there!  Their coverage of churches and synagogues is pretty good, but they are weak on other religions - make sure you are listed under appropriate search terms and let them know if the listing doesn't come up.
 (I can forward requests or comments to them if you prefer: admin@memphisirg.org )


3/05/2011: Events are moving thick and fast at the moment  - sometimes one a day, sometimes two a day. I'm putting the things Eunice and I wish we could be at on the events list, but we can't get to all of them!   We enjoy seeing as many of you as we do when we get to them.  And of course we are giving a talk ourselves in Collierville on Thursday March 10.  See the Events page!

Memphis Muslims in March month was off to a nice start at the lecture Saturday evening March 5; several more events are coming March 14-18.  In the meantime, if you haven't visited Temple Israel, consider the events March 8 or March 20, and be aware of the dinner series coming up at Balmoral and the noon series (lunch optional) at Calvary. 


As of Feb 19, David Waters and the Commercial Appeal have a new "Faith in Memphis" section and website!  The website is at http://faithinmemphis.com/  and the introductory article from the paper is at
http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2011/feb/19/introducing-new-forum-on-faith-be-a-part-of-it/

The website -does- have an events of interest listing, and David has asked me to ask all of you to help submit events to it. I'll try to handhold if needed as we get started. If it gets good enough that I don't have to work as hard at maintaining the list here, I will be delighted. So far, there isn't much overlap; look at his list as well as ours.


They are also building a website listing houses of worship, a searchable list. Once again, our help ius needed. It has the principal churches and synagogues but is very weak on mosques and probably on other religious groups.  Please check that your place is on it and properly indexed (does it come up on appropriate search terms) and let the paper know if it needs to be added or edited. The list is at    http://faithworksmemphis.com/  and it has a phone number to call to get things fixed.

Events are now back on the Events page with new things added regularly.  I owe apologies to people who ask me to post things but with only a few days notice - I do sometimes have other things to do, and don't want to send e-mails too often.  (Should I senmd more often? Let me know your opinion.)
We've also added a bunch of new things to the "Book List"  page - links to videos of interest, including the lectures by Rabbi Marmor at Temple Israel, one of which was a wonderful talk about Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, the important Jewish philosopher and teacher who so often marchged arm-in-arm with Rev. Martin Luther King. -Also- the lectures from the Trinity Instute in New York which were shown and discussed Feb 18 and 19 at St. Mary's (Episcopal) Cathedral in Memphis, and some of Yasir Qadhi's talks at the Memphis Islamic Center.

One new feature: We will try to provide one-page printable events listings that you can print out to hand out or put on a bulletin board.
To find them  CLICK HERE


Some nice reports about Memphis.

Feb 11. What a week - in the last few days there have been talks locally by Rigoberto Menchu Tum, the Guatamalan Nobel Peace Prize Winner, and talks about Frantz Fanon (the black psychiatrist born in Martinique who became an important leadert of the Algerian war for independence) and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, the Jewish philosopher who often m,arched arm-in-arm with Rev. Martin Luther King.  And a week earlier a lecture at U of M about the role of an Indonesian volcanic eruption in the spread of Islam in Indonesia and the expulsion of the Duitch colonial regime there. It's a complicated world, isn't it? Plenty more is coming, see the events page.  Oh, the Commercial Appeal will soon be launching expanded coverage of religious events, both online and in the paper!

---

Memphis seems pretty nice just now.  It is hard not to feel encouraged when the Memphis Jewish Federation mails out fund appeals for flood victims in Pakistan, The Memphis Muslims e-mail list has an appeal to bring in warm clothes to be distributed to the homeless at the Union Mission, and the Memphis Islamic Center is one of the sponsors of an event at Temple Israel.  At one of our meetings Masjid As-Salaam and New Church Memphis discovered they were involved in the same program for providing food for the poor, and we discussed cooperation between Muslim Social Services and Jewish Family Services over issues like providing kosher/hallal food to hospital patients.

Following the troubles in New York over the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque," a Muslim writer and photographer from New York traveled around the US to see how Muslims were faring elsewhere.  In Memphis, they were told, things are remarkably good.  They quote Danish Siddiqi, the communications director of the Memphis Islamic Center, as saying “The Christians here are very welcoming of Muslims because they actually adhere to what they believe.”   The New Yorkers go on to write about the relations between the Memphis Islamic Center and Heartsong Church at
http://30mosques.com/2010/09/outtakes-the-memphis-islamic-center-and-their-neighbors/
and about the interfaith activities of the Ordmans at
http://30mosques.com/2010/09/day-27-the-muslims-in-memphis-part-1/
It is nice to see Memphis get this recognition, and nice to feel so appreciated.


Please let me know of things that should be included.
  edward@ordman.net

 

Stories of some of our past activities have been evicted to a HISTORY PAGE. >>

See the events page.   And PLEASE tell us what else we need to put there!

Basic information about our group and links to Balmoral Presbyterian, Temple Israel, and Masjid As-Salam are now found  on the "About us" page.