Kudos to Yitro: Ten Interfaith Resources
Our Torah portion this week is Parshat Yitro, named for Moses' father-in-law, a man with whom the Jewish people had an exemplary interfaith relationship. In this parsha, God instructs us, "V'atem tihiyu li mamlechet cohanim v'goi kadosh - You will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation," (Exodus 19:6). The "You" in this verse is decidedly plural. God is not just speaking to Moses or even a select few individuals. Each and every Jew belongs to this holy nation and is a "priest," - a leader in his or her own way.
Yitro advised Moses to share this judicial burden by selecting several capable individuals to serve as judges. Yitro taught Moses to empower others to share in the leadership of the Jewish people.
1. The URJ's commitment to interreligious dialogue is actualized through two dialogue curricula: Open Doors, Open Minds, for Jewish-Christian Dialogue, and Children of Abraham for Jewish-Muslim Dialogue. Both curricula are available online, as well as in hard copy (by request).
4. Marc Rosenstein writes a regular contribution to Ten Minutes of Torah and the URJ Blog entitled Galilee Diary. His most recent piece includes an account of several fascinating interfaith encounters in Israel.
6. Faith in Public Life is a strategy center with the mission of "advancing faith in the public square as a positive and unifying force for justice, compassion and the common good." I highly recommend you to sign up for FPL News Reel, an excellent daily roundup of faith and politics news coverage.
7. The Pluralism Project, based out of Harvard University, is a decade-long research project to engage students in studying the new religious diversity in the United States. Their resources by state are both fascinating and useful for interfaith efforts on a more local level.
8. Much of the work of the RAC is done through interreligious partnerships and coalitions. Faithful Reform is an interfaith coalition of organizations that are committed to lifting up the moral voice for health insurance reform in the United States.
9. The mission of the Interreligious Coordinating Council in Israel (ICCI) is "to harness the teachings and values of the three Abrahamic faiths and transform religion's role from a force of division and extremism into a source of reconciliation, coexistence, and understanding." For more information with their work with youth, women, and religious leaders to promote Jewish-Arab coexistence and peace-building projects, check out their website.
10. The Arava Institute is an Environmental Studies and Coexistence program on Kibbutz Ketura in Israel. The residential academic program brings together Israeli, Palestinian, Jordanian, and North American students to learn about shared environmental resources and challenges, as well as engage in interfaith dialogue about the Arab-Israeli conflict. As an alum, I can tell you it's a life-changing experience!