This past Sunday, the SJCC hosted members from Faith Lutheran Church and the Islamic Center of Basking Ridge. Dr. Ali Chaudry, the president of ICBR, and Associate Pastor Jim Krombholtz of Faith Lutheran Church joined me on the bimah for a panel discussion. But, the truth is that the audience did most of the talking. We posed three questions to the over-one-hundred people in attendance:
- Name one thing about your religion that makes you most proud.
- Name one thing you think you know about one of the other two religions.
- Name one thing that others say about your religion that drives you crazy.
Then, we asked for brave volunteers to share their answers. It was great to listen to people of all ages from all three communities share their answers. Then each member of the panel got to clarify some of the finer points about his religion. I particularly enjoyed Dr. Chaudry’s description of the Hajj – a Muslim’s pilgrimage to Mecca. And Pastor Krombholtz tackled the issue of “original sin” for Christians.
We certainly did not solve the world’s problems, but I think we all left with a little more understanding of two other religious traditions.