Category: "Interfaith Matters Blogs"

BLOG – New Public School Holidays: Teachable Moments that Foster Respect

January 28th,2016 ICNY Interfaith Matters Blogs, Latest News

by Debbie Almontaser, founding principal of the Khalil Gibran International Academy and Board President of the Muslim Community Network @DebbiAlmontaser “By leaving out some children’s heritage while others are visible presents youngsters with an image of being undervalued or unimportant.”   - Children’s book author Fawzia Gilani-Williams This past year, under the leadership of Mayor de Blasio, American Muslims and Chinese Americans have been granted official public school closings for their high holidays. These historical school closings didn’t happen overnight, they required years of organizing and mobilizing to get them passed in the city council and ultimately by the ...Continue Reading

BLOG: “World Religion Day: Celebrating our Unity” by Saphira Rameshfar

January 7th,2016 ICNY Interfaith Matters Blogs, Latest News

World Religion Day: Celebrating our Unity by Saphira Rameshfar, member of the Bahá'í Community of New York City “The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until, its unity is firmly established.” - Bahá’i Writings To affirm the beauty, love and peace of all the world’s religions is the purpose of World Religion Day, established by the Bahá'is of the United States in 1950. The Bahá'i writings state that, "the gift of God to this enlightened age is the knowledge of the oneness of humankind and of the fundamental oneness of religion." Inspired by this perspective, the Bahá’í community has been a vigorous promoter of interfaith activi...Continue Reading

Tom Dobbins of Catholic Charities of NY: “Sowing Seeds of Peace in the Pope’s Own Garden”

August 10th,2015 ICNY Interfaith Matters Blogs, Latest News

by Tom Dobbins, Justice and Peace Coordinator/ Producer: JustLove Radio – Sirius/XM Catholic Channel, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York As a lifelong New Yorker – growing up in the Bronx, with a sojourn in lower Westchester and now happily a resident of Manhattan - I have over my lifetime been exposed to many misconceptions regarding the character of the city and its residents: New York is considered loud, and dirty and dangerous; New Yorkers are rude, and pretentious and difficult to impress. …the litany can go on and on. As anyone who knows a true New Yorker – or who has spent any significant time in the City – can tell you, these stereotypes are for the most ...Continue Reading

Dr. Sarah Sayeed: “Why Justice Movements Need Religion & Some Parting Thoughts”

July 20th,2015 ICNY Interfaith Matters Blogs, Latest News

by Dr. Sarah Sayeed, Senior Advisor Mayor Bill de Blasio's Community Affairs Unit and former ICNY Director of Community Partnerships A few months ago, I sat listening to a panel discussion on the Black Lives Matter movement that featured a prominent author and journalist as its key speaker.  In the Q &A, someone asked about the role of religion in contemporary youth-led movements for racial justice.  To my great disappointment, the panelist suggested there was no role, and pointed to the tendency of young people to be skeptical of religion and disconnected from houses of worship. My immediate instinct was that this was an incomplete answer. My work at The Interfaith Center of ...Continue Reading

“Raising the Platform for Students Voices” by Kelly Siegel-Stechler

by Kelly Siegel-Stechler, Interfaith Youth Fellowship program Co-Trainer and Outreach Coordinator In New York City, we routinely hear about how our schools are failing, students aren’t graduating from high school, and change is needed if we want our young people to have the chance to succeed. What that change looks like, though, is heavily debated. Part of what makes education policy so complex and resistant to change are the deeply entrenched positions of various stakeholders, all refusing to budge while so little changes in classrooms and in the day to day lives of students. Because amidst the loud voices in the policy arena - teachers unions, parent associations, researchers and pol...Continue Reading

“Towards a More Humane Justice System” by Christopher Watler

April 22nd,2015 ICNY Interfaith Matters Blogs, Latest News

Towards a More Humane Justice System by Christopher Watler Project Director of the Harlem Community Justice Center, a project of the Center for Court Innovation Every Thursday for the past three years a small crew of committed faith volunteers have come to the Harlem Community Justice Center to provide refreshments and support to parole clients in our reentry program. This effort, part of a unique collaboration with The Interfaith Center of New York and Network Support Services called Circles of Support, is embedded within a larger collaboration the Justice Center has with the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision that allows parole clients to be supervised in...Continue Reading

“Sacred Spaces for Seeking Common Ground,” by Rabbi Joseph Potasnik

March 16th,2015 ICNY Interfaith Matters Blogs, Latest News

Sacred Spaces for Seeking Common Ground by Rabbi Joseph Potasnik Executive Vice President, New York Board of Rabbis, and ICNY Board Member One of the greatest challenges of any pluralistic organization is the synthesis of unity of spirit and diversity of thought. The New York Board of Rabbis is the largest interdenominational rabbinic body in the world comprised of rabbis of different denominations who see each other as members of one extended family. Jewish tradition teaches us that when we walk into a room where there is a diverse audience, we should recite a blessing which praises the Almighty for creating a world of different faces and minds which collectively enhance our society. ...Continue Reading

What ICNY Means When We Say “Religious Leader” – by Dr. Sarah Sayeed

Leadership Looks Different Across Faith Lines by Dr. Sarah Sayeed, ICNY Director of Community Partnerships Leadership can be thought of in different ways, and in the world of religion and interfaith relations, it often refers to clergy. But ICNY has a unique approach to our definition of religious leader, based on our expertise working across faith lines with diverse religious communities in New York City. While clergy are an important group to involve in interfaith work, there are some significant limitations.  The first is that across all faith traditions, focusing exclusively on clergy marginalizes or wholly leaves out women who we know play crucial roles within their own faith c...Continue Reading

Guest Blogger Kevin Oro-Hahn writes on “ICNY — an Investment in our Future”

December 8th,2014 ICNY Interfaith Matters Blogs, Latest News

The Interfaith Center of New York—an Investment in our Future by Kevin Oro-Hahn, ICNY Treasurer My training is as an investor in public equities, in the tradition known as value investing. For those unfamiliar, this is “value” in the sense of getting a bargain as opposed to “values” in the sense of following timeless principles. The discipline of investing involves measuring to determine if the price paid for your investment is going to yield greater value in the future. The Interfaith Center of New York (ICNY) seeks to make NYC and the world safe for religious difference. It’s an ambitious and far reaching goal. But how do you know when you’ve done enough—when your cit...Continue Reading

The People’s Climate March: A Transforming Interfaith Experience

November 10th,2014 ICNY Interfaith Matters Blogs, Latest News

by Dr. Kusumita P. Pedersen, Co-Chair, Interfaith Center of New York & Professor Emerita of Religious Studies, St. Francis College A little before noon on Sunday, September 21, I walked towards 58th Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues to join the faith communities contingent of the People’s Climate March. I had no idea that I was about to have a life-changing experience which would transform my understanding of what interfaith can be. It is hard to do justice to this experience in words, but let me try. The People’s Climate March was a historic event. About 400,000 people marched and marches took place in more than 160 countries around the world. Mayor de Blasio, Al Gore and Un...Continue Reading