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IEA Reut-Sadaqa encounter on 17th Nov. 2008

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  • יהודה סטולוב
    Reut – Sadaqa meeting on 17th November 2008 Our group met as usual at the Swedish Theological Institute. This meeting was somewhat special for we welcomed
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 4, 2008
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      Reut – Sadaqa meeting on 17th November 2008

      Reut – Sadaqa meeting on 17th November 2008

       

      Our group met as usual at the Swedish Theological Institute. This meeting was somewhat special for we welcomed our new Jewish Coordinator, Ms Miriam Feldmann Kaye, Project Director, Three faiths Forum, Middle East and received our guests from Brigham Young University , Hawaii , Liberal Arts University.

       

      Three Majors visiting: International Studies – Communications, Political Science, and Inter Disciplinary Studies. All nine students are studying Intercultural Peace building.

      Professor de Chad Ford – Peace-building expert, has worked in North Ireland , Africa , United States and in Israel ESPN (Peace Players International). All the guests are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, called Mormons. Michael Vaughn-Cherubin works with the NGO - Peace Players International Students: April, Hayley, Lyndsi, Shea, Sarah, Briana, Rivers, Justin and Erna.

       

      The theme for this meeting was the upcoming religious feasts: Hanukkah, Christmas and Eid el-Adha - Feast of the Sacrifice.

       

      We started the meeting by introducing ourselves and the theme of the meeting.

       

       Benji Stanley presented the Jewish presentation of Hanukkah:

       

      The story that is often told for Chanukah is the miracle of the Light. This took place in the 2nd century BCE. The Jews were not able to worship at their temple as they wished for three years, beginning in 167 BCE when the Seleucid (or Greek) ruler decreed that the Jerusalem temple must serve Zeus, and banned kashrut, circumcision and Shabbat observance. When the Jews gained control of the temple again in 164 BCE they wanted to rededicate it, to light the candelabrum, the menorah, and to celebrate the week-long festival of Booths/Sukkoth that they had missed. However, they could only find one jar of oil and it looked like the oil would not even last one day; in the end it lasted 8. Therefore we celebrate the 8 day festival of Chanukah to celebrate this miracle. This is celebrated by lighting the menorah each night of Chanukah, which falls in December (exact date goes according to the lunar calendar), eating special food such as 'latkes' and doughnuts, and playing games with a special spinning top called a 'sevivon'.

       

      Originally Chanukah celebrated the military miracle of the Hasmoneans successfully rising up against the Greeks, a victory of the few against the many. This focus was sidelined for the miracle of the light. It is interesting how the story of the festival has developed, and which story people choose to emphasize today.

       

      Following this, Miriam lit the Chanukiah while explaining the rituals and customs for this feast.

       

      Karmela presented the feast of Christmas.

       

      On Christmas, we Christians celebrate the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ, commemorating the historical event and its theological implications up to our time.

       

      This feast begins our liturgical season of the year. It is prepared by four weeks known as the season of Advent i.e. the coming. During this time of preparation the Church has special readings especially on the Sundays that precede this feast. The priests wear a special vestment – violet – the color of penance. Some traditions do not eat meat or milk products during this time; it is a time of preparation by depriving ourselves from the good delicious food so as to be mindful of the great event that is approaching. In some of the Churches and in homes we have the advent wreath made of four candles: 3 violet and one pink stuck in a wreath with greenery.

       

      On Christmas Eve, some communities hold carol singing. We celebrate the main Eucharistic liturgy at mid-night or as close as possible to commemorate that Jesus was born in the mid cold night. On Christmas Day, we celebrate by a family dinner, giving of presents and many other ways of rejoicings.

       

      Ancient Christianity did not celebrate Christmas so as not to give more importance to the birth of Jesus than to the salvation story. The only feast was that of Easter which always fell on a Sunday – the first day of the week – the day when Jesus rose from the dead and conquered death. Ever since, Sunday is the liturgical day on which every believer in Jesus must go to Church and participate in the Eucharist - the liturgy par excellence in Christianity. Sunday is the eight-day which is the first day of a new creation.

       

      Saheer and Rafiqa presented the Feast of Eid el Adha/Feast of the Sacrifice.

       

      This feast celebrates the sacrifice of Ishmael, son of our father Abraham who, in a dream, God asked him to sacrifice his son. Abraham obeyed God and Ishmael accepted to be sacrificed by his father saying to him: "Do what you believe". When Abraham was about to sacrifice his son, God stopped him and sent him a lamb through the intermediary of an angel telling him to offer in sacrifice the lamb instead of his son. From then on, all Moslems all over the world, every year, who go on pilgrimage to Mecca , in Saudi Arabia , are obliged to sacrifice a lamb.

       

      After these presentations, the participants asked several questions showing the interest in what was communicated.

       

      Following this rich input we moved into the adjacent dining room and partook of drinks and cookies amidst deep conversations and exchanges. Participants were so much engrossed in learning about each other that the coordinators decided to prolong this time for refreshments and cancel the last half hour of summing up and planning for the next meeting.

      *************

       

      Report written by Sr. Karmela Farrugia in collaboration with the other two coordinators: Ms Miriam Kaye and Ms Rafiqa Othman.

       

      v      

      Our next meeting will take place on 15th December 2008 at the Swedish Theological Institute from 5:30 till 8:00 p.m.

       

       

       

      The Interfaith Encounter Association

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        Dr. Shlomo Alon

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        Sr. Karmela Farrugia, Observer

       

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