If you thought there were a lot of new faces in the sanctuary last Friday evening (Nov. 4), you were right! TBA was host to about 150 visitors on the second leg of an interfaith pilgrimage to houses of worship of all three Abrahamic faiths.
It started with the Interfaith Women’s Conference last spring, convened by the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center (IPJC). The conference brought together 300 women and men from Christian, Jewish, and Muslim congregations to begin a dialog that would lead to better understanding among our faith traditions.
Well, once the dialog got going, no one wanted it to stop! An overwhelming number of conference attendees said they were interested in learning more about others’ traditions and rituals. So IPJC organized a series of visits to a mosque, a synagogue, and a Catholic church.
The first visit, in October, was to the Mosque & Islamic Center in Shoreline. The final visit will be on December 5 to St. Joseph Catholic Church.
To provide our guests with the context for the kabbalat Shabbat service, Rabbi Jonathan gave a brief welcome beforehand, teaching in the manner of Hillel about the foundations of Judaism. Rabbi Beth continued teaching as she led the service, with Wendy and the choir adding their contributions as well.
At the oneg afterwards, TBA members answered questions and engaged our guests in discussion about what in the service was familiar and what they found surprising. By far the most common response was surprise at how joyous the service was.
We are grateful to our friends at IPJC for creating this opportunity for interfaith dialog, and we look forward to more collaborations in the future.