International Weekend of Twinning
November 13-16, 2015
This year for our weekend of Muslim-Jewish Twinning we will welcome Imam Mohamed Magid of the ADAMS Center to our bima on Friday night, November 13, 2015 as our speaker. Imam Magid has taught Torah Study multiple times in the past, and this year we will welcome him to give remarks during services on Friday night. Please join us as Imam Magid addresses the current state of international interfaith relations, which as a prominent leader of the North American Muslim community, he has helped shape.
On Monday evening, November 16, at 7:00 PM Rabbi Holzman will join Imam Magid at the ADAMS Center to teach about how we each confront intolerance within our own faiths. The session at the ADAMS center is especially powerful and if you have never been there or to any mosque you should really consider attending.
“Conversation is the way we discover how to transform our world, together.”
(Margaret J. Wheatley, Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future)
An Emphasis on Interfaith Dialogue:
NVHC greatly emphasizes the importance of interfaith dialogue and enjoys a sound, healthy and collaborative relationship with its interfaith partners. Bigotry exists only where there is ignorance and fear. It is far easier to fear that which we don’t know. Through the simple act of conversation we learn that there is more that joins us together than tears us apart. Whether Jewish, Muslim, or Christian, the overwhelming majority of us want our children to grow up in a world that is loving and peaceful. By fostering positive and collaborative relationships with our interfaith partners we affirm our commitment to replacing ignorance with understanding; and fear with respect. Throughout it’s history, NVHC has shown it’s commitment to positive interfaith relations in a variety of ways:
A History of Interfaith Collaboration:
The Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation was founded in 1967 and hop-scotched around to various locations as it grew big enough to have a place of its own. One of the first venues that allowed us use of their space was the Redeemer Methodist Church on North Shore Drive.
In 1970, NVHC became one of the founding congregations of Reston Interfaith (now Cornerstones). The congregations of this relatively new community “recognized that even the best laid plans may leave some out of the dream.” So even before we had our own home, NVHC was getting involved with making sure that there was affordable housing and services for those in need.
Relationship with Neighbors:
As Reston grew and NVHC grew, we accepted the gracious offer of another founding Reston Interfaith partner, the Reston Catholic Community (RCC) (aka St. Thomas a Becket Catholic Church). They allowed us to use their new building to hold our worship services. This was the start of a long relationship with our Catholic neighbors. They also offered to provide us three acres of their property to build our own home. We moved 500 feet south and dedicated our original building in 1981.
Our special relationship with RCC continued as we started an Interfaith Dialogue program twenty-five years ago. This program brings us together several times a year to learn more about each other’s traditions, beliefs, and values. Although we pray differently as our traditions have diverged, our values have the same roots.
As NVHC continued to grow, our High Holiday services needed a bigger sanctuary, so in 2002 we turned to another interfaith partner in Sterling. Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church welcomed us to use their facilities and has been a most generous host.
Relationship with the ADAMS Center:
NVHC then reached out to another Reston Interfaith partner to participate in our dialogue with RCC. The All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS) joined us in what we termed a Trialogue. Continuing in the framework of our RCC Dialogue series, we gathered together to learn about each of the other two traditions. All three faiths are divergent, but our roots give us the same core values.
When the All Dulles Area Muslim Society, or ADAMS, was looking for a larger venue to accommodate their Friday prayers, NVHC welcomed the opportunity to pay forward the generosity that had been afforded to them by RCC and the other facilities that had been welcoming in our own time of need. The story of the partnership between NVHC and ADAMS gained national attention when the BBC news network aired the following story: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGZ1OYkt6a0
Partnering with Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE):
“Founded in 2008, VOICE is a non-partisan coalition of almost 50 faith communities and civic organizations in Northern Virginia working together to build power in middle and low-income communities. We organize in Prince William, Fairfax, and Arlington counties as well as the City of Alexandria uniting people across lines of race, class, religion, political party and geography to take action on key issues in our community including but not limited to affordable housing, access to health and dental care, and immigrant rights.” (from the VOICE website, http://www.voice-iaf.org/about-voice)
Works Sunday is an annual day of service in Northern Virginia, including many activities in the Reston and Herndon areas. Each year, people of many faiths – Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Sikhs, and others – have worked side by side to celebrate the values that unite us, while addressing imporant social issues like hunger, homelessness, and the needs of those less fortunate.