Highlights of Fall Semester

ING News & Information, 12/18/07

In this edition:

  • Happy Holidays Season
  • End of Year Totals for Fall Semester
  • Highlights of the Semester
  • Third Common Grounds Series on “December Holiday Convergence”
  • Support ING as the Year Draws to an End
  • ING Training for the Newly Formed Interfaith Speakers Bureau
  • Interested in Becoming an ING Speaker for the Islamic Speakers Bureau?


Happy Holiday Season!

As all major faiths enter or are in the holiday season, ING wishes Holiday Greetings to all faith practitioners for their different holidays, including Advent, Hanukkah, St. Nicholas Day, Bodhi Day, Eid al Adha, Tohji-taisai, Kwanza, Christmas and any other holidays occurring around this winter time period.

End of Year Totals for Fall Semester

As the fall semester draws to a close, ING has seen a busier than ever season once again, with requests for presentations in schools coming into the ING office up to the last minute before the holiday vacation. Additionally, ING speakers spoke at faith based venues, to healthcare providers, law enforcement agencies, and other venues for over 300 presentations by the end of the semester! This means that ING speakers reached nearly ten thousand Americans of other faiths over the past few months, visiting 31 different cities and 6 different states.

Highlights of this semester’s presentations include the following:

Interfaith Events:

* Three Common Ground Speaker Series between ING and the Jewish Community Relations Council, East Bay
* Interfaith Darfur Event, Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral
* A Gathering of Blessings Celebration, Interfaith Center at the Presidio
* Four Part “Study of Islam and Muslim Series” at Jewish Community Center of San Francisco
* Orientation at Federal Methodist Church, Patterson
* “Islam and Contemporary Issues,” Hope Lutheran Church, San Mateo
* “Orientation on Islam and Muslims” at Peace Lutheran Church, Danville
* “Orientation on Islam and Muslims,” Temple Emanu-El, San Francisco,
* Interfaith Service at First United Methodist Church, Napa
* World AIDS Day Event, San Jose
* Interfaith Holiday Event, St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church, San Francisco
* “Woven in the Fabric of Life – Faith” event at Presbyterian Church, Livermore
* Interfaith Dialogue on “Retributive Justice,” Silicon Valley Conference for Community & Justice interfaith group
* Ramadan Open Houses at Cordoba Center Mosque, Yaseen Foundation mosque in Belmont, Livermore Islamic Center and the Islamic Society of East Bay in Fremont

Healthcare and Law Enforcement:

* “Healthcare for Muslim Patients,” Alta Bates Summit Medical Center
* “Healthcare for the Muslim Patient,” UCSF
* Hate Crimes Investigation class, Napa Valley Community College
* California Probation Parole and Corrections Association Conference
* Cultural Diversity Panel for the FBI

Colleges and Universities:

* University of the Pacific’s Ramadan Fast-a-thon
* Ramadan at Mills College Fast-a-thon
* “Feminism & Women in Islam,” Stanford University
* “Orientation on Islam and Women’s Issues,” Boise, Idaho
* Sonoma State Panel on Islamophobia and its Affects
* Orientation on Islam and Muslims, San Jose State

Community Events:

* Islamic Contributions to Civilization presentation in Arizona
* “Orientation on Islam and Muslims” at Delta Kappa Gamma
* “Orientation on Islam and Muslims” for Sons in Retirement (SIR)

Third Common Grounds Series on “December Holiday Convergence,” 12/12/07

In the third and last of the Common Ground Series on December holidays sponsored by the ING-JCRC of the East Bay Coalition, religious leaders in each faith spoke about their respective holidays, while comparing themes and goals of each holiday to that of the other. The theme of the Wednesday evening event was “December Holiday Convergence: Hanukkah and Eid al-Adha,” After introductions by the 30 plus attendees from both the Jewish and Muslim communities, the program began with an overview by Imam Faheem Shuaibe from Masjid Waritheen in Oakland on the focus and rituals of Eid ul-Adha, or “the Festival of the Sacrifice.” After enumerating the verses that address the story of Abraham and the command to sacrifice his son, who was miraculously replaced by a ram, he described some of the themes of the commemoration, stressing the commitment that both the father and son displayed, and the significance of the story in ending the practice of human sacrifice that had long prevailed in many cultures. He ended by describing some of the rituals associated with the celebration, including special prayers, clothes, and the sharing of food with family, friends, and those in need.

The conversation continued with an overview of the meanings and rituals of Hanukkah by Rabbi James Brandt, Director of East Bay Federation Jewish Center for Living and Learning. He began his presentation with his observation of the similarity between the two faiths, as demonstrated in the description of the story of Abraham, and the central role the moon as a symbol of the cosmos plays in religious life. He than explained the historical basis for Hanukkah, the symbolism of the menorah and the lightening of the candles, which represents the rededication of the 2nd Temple and the miracle of enough oil for eight nights of light when there had only been enough for one night. Describing what Jews today do on Hanukkah, he first explained the Jewish calendar, which is lunar but is adjusted to keep the holiday around the same time of the year, before enumerating some of the other contemporary traditions, such as playing with the dreidel, which is engraved with four letters that stand for “a great miracle happened there.” He concluded with some of the transcendent meanings of the celebration, such as the pull between the dominant culture at the time, and Jewish faith, which symbolizes the importance of religious freedom, and ultimately the message of hope. The event concluded the three part Common Ground Series, but exciting new events lie ahead for those wishing to learn and share about the Jewish and Muslim faiths and traditions.

Support ING as the Year Draws to an End!

As we draw to the end of the year and you haven’t yet supported ING’s outreach programs, or would like to increase your level of existing support, consider donating to one of ING’s many programs, or providing ongoing support by signing up for monthly automatic donations through your credit or debit card. Help increase religious literacy while receiving a tax deduction for your donation. To donate, see: https://ing.org/donate/

ING Training for the Newly Formed “Interfaith Speakers Bureau”

All training workshops are between 6:00 and 10:00 pm. To sign up, please contact ING’s Interfaith Coordinator, Yasmine Khan at [email protected]

Interested in becoming an ING Speaker for the “Islamic Speakers Bureau”?

Do you like meeting new people, explaining your faith, clarifying misconceptions? If so and you have a car and a flexible schedule, consider becoming an ING speaker. Contact ING’s Program Manager, Grace Fong at [email protected]. Islamic Speakers Bureau trainings will be held in February
2008. Reserve your space now.