Relating, Creating, Transforming


This week, and part of next week, I will be participating in the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia’s Interfaith Encounter Alternative Break program.

Students from Bryn Mawr College and Haverford College will journey with Walter Hjelt Sullivan, Haverford’s Director of Quaker Affairs; Vanessa Christman, Bryn Mawr’s Assistant Dean of the College and Director of Leadership and Community Development; Joyce Thompkins, Swarthmore College’s Religious Advisor to the Campus Protestant Community; Rabbi Michael Ramberg, a teacher and community organizer; and me.


On Wednesday and Thursday, students and staff from the University of Virginia and Virginia Tech will join us.

We have many hopes for this week; perhaps we all are excited to:

  • Visit & interact with 7 different religious communities [Jewish, Coptic Christian, Sikh, Quaker, Won Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim].
  • Engage in service-learning work with 4 different organizations.
  • Learn about and from each other as we participate in interfaith workshops and reflection.

Most of all, we will encounter unique cultural and religious communities and unique, justice-seeking organizations that are seeking cooperation for the common good.

We will meet people and hear their stories.

We just might learn more about our own stories, too.


First off, we went through an orientation together to get ready for the week–going over details of transportation, meals, etc. It is a full week indeed.

Then, we participated in an opening workshop about asking good questions. We discussed two types of questions:

1. Curious Questions

2. Judgmental Questions

The students gave examples of each and came up with adjectives to describe each type of question.
We hope to carry this with us all week as we seek to be respectful and humble as guests in each unique community–building bridges of understanding and trust and removing any barriers of misunderstanding or prejudice.

After that, the students formed a human machine and found creative ways to be both unique and cooperative [in relation with one another].

Finally, after dinner, Rabbi Michael led us in a Havdalah service.
havdalahHavdalah marks the end of Shabbat for those of the Jewish tradition. Shabbat begins on Friday at sundown. Havdalah is performed no earlier than nightfall on Saturday night. There were three basic elements that Rabbi Michael used for the ritual: a glass of wine [or as he mentioned, it could be another liquid]; some fragrant spices; and a special candle.

He walked us through some of the meaning behind this service and we read some parts of the creation story in the Torah.

He taught us a tune to sing some of the Havdalah blessings in Hebrew. One of the students held the candle as it dripped wax and we continued to sing.

At the service’s conclusion, Rabbi Michael said Shavua Tov (a good week) and we responded in kind.
Then, students asked some questions about Jewish practice in general and also about the Torah.

It was a fitting way to begin our good week!

I greatly look forward to Sunday…won’t you join us on our journey?



Comments on: "Interfaith Encounters Day 1" (1)

  1. Looking forward to following your journey. Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Tag Cloud

Cranky But Cultured

Home of horror, literary, and romance author Lucas Mangum

My Journey 2 My Peace

Overcoming Anxiety and learning to live Positively

Deeper in me than I

eloquia oris mei et meditatio cordis mei

Mind Squirrels

Religion | Education | Health


Arabic Literature and Translation

Silence Teaches Us Who We Are

Silence, Centering Prayer, Contemplative Prayer, Jesus, God, and Life.

Casa HOY

On the road to change the world...


a philosophical, analytic, occasionally snarky but usually silly look at the thoughts that bounce around....

"Journey into America" documentary

Produced by Akbar Ahmed

Interfaith Crossing


Prussel's Pearls

An Actor's Spiritual Journey

a different order of time

the work of a pastor


mood is followed by action

Imago Scriptura

Images & Thoughts from a Christian, Husband, Father, Pastor

the living room.

117 5th Street, Valley Junction__HOURS: M 9-5, TW 7-7, TH 7-9, F 7-7, S 8-5, S 9-4

the view from 2040

theological education for the 21st century

%d bloggers like this: