The Image of God in the Face of the Poor: Rabbi David Rosenn on Intersections of Faith and Economic Justice

September 17, 2018

jpeg

 

Rabbi David Rosenn with our host Hannah Meholick

 

Our Guest: 

 

Our guest is Rabbi David Rosenn, executive director of the Hebrew Free Loan Society, which since 1892 has offered interest-free loans to New Yorkers needing immediate financial help or wanting to invest in their futures, but who can't afford or do not qualify for commercial credit. We talk with Rabbi Rosenn about the moral motivation of faith in coming to the financial aid of our neighbors in need. 

 

 

Highlights:

 

 

What is "Economic Justice"?: "I think Economic Justice is a set of social arrangements where everyone has the opportunity to acquire what they need to live a decent and dignified life."

 

How do religious traditions speak to issues of poverty and economic inequality? "Poverty is disastrous from a religious point of view because it tends to obscure the image of God in people who are poor ... and even more tragically, prevents people who are poor from seeing themselves in the image of God...Working to end poverty is working to restore the image of God."

 

What is "Moral Imagination"? "Picturing the way that the world might be, and considering our responsibility to help get it there, and how we partner with God in that ongoing act of creating the world."

 

___________________________________________________

 

Podcast Questions? Comments?

 

Have a question for our guests, or a comment on our podcast series?  Please feel free to leave comments on your podcast player, or send us an email at socialmedia@interfaithcenter.org.  And please be sure to rate us!

 

"Interfaith Matters" is hosted by Hannah Meholick, and engineered and edited by Jeff Berman.  Learn more about Hannah and Jeff on our website.

 

 

Intro and outro music for this episode are edited excerpts of "Maximum Relax" by Lee Rosevere, used under CC BY 4.0 / Edited from original.

 

 

00:0000:00

“Celebrating the ‘Sheroes’ of Faith” - Dr. Debbie Almontaser on Bridging Cultural Divides via Feminism and Education

August 23, 2018

jpeg

 

Dr. Debbie Almontaser (left), with our host Hannah Meholick

 

Our Guest: 

 

Our guest this time is community activist and teacher Dr. Debbie Almontaser, board president of Muslim Community Network, and founder of Bridging Cultures Group, Inc.  Hannah and Debbie discuss faith and feminism.

 

 

On Feminism in Islam: "There is so much misunderstanding about the role of women in Islam. I feel that feminism has been within the Islamic tradition for the last 1,400 years ... the list of 'sheroes' in the Islamic tradition is really vast."

 

On Modesty: "How much modesty a woman should observe (or not) and who gets to judge whether she is or not, is very troubling, something we as women and our male allies need to challenge. It's a woman's choice... I choose to wear the hijab as a form of worship... as a connection between me and God ... and I do it with pride, and dignity, and celebration."

 

On Objectification of Women: "I am deeply alarmed when I look at ads to sell cars and alcohol, that they all have women in them.  Women should not be the "icing on the cake' to sell something."

 

 

 

We'd like to offer props to our underwriter, One Spirit Learning Alliance!

 

 

One Spirit Learning Alliance – an interfaith learning institute that trains spiritual leaders and offers workshops for the public to spark personal transformation. More information is at Onespiritinterfaith.org/Matters, where our listeners can find a free download of one of their teachings, “The Life We Are Called to Live.”

 

___________________________________________________

 

Podcast Questions? Comments?

 

Have a question for our guests, or a comment on our podcast series?  Please feel free to leave comments on your podcast player, or send us an email at socialmedia@interfaithcenter.org.  And please be sure to rate us!

 

"Interfaith Matters" is hosted by Hannah Meholick, and engineered and edited by Jeff Berman.  Learn more about Hannah and Jeff on our website.

 

 

Intro and outro music for this episode are edited excerpts of "Maximum Relax" by Lee Rosevere, used under CC BY 4.0 / Edited from original.

 

 

 

00:0000:00

Inciting Non-Violence: Frank Fredericks on Empowering Young People and Building Peace

July 23, 2018
 
 
Our host Hannah Meholick with Frank Fredericks

Our Guest: 

In this episode, Hannah Meholick talks with Frank Fredericks, founder of World Faith, an international nonprofit based here in New York City that mobilizes religiously diverse young people to address religious violence.  Frank is also an interfaith chaplain at New York University.  Today we talk with Frank about how religious, economic, political, psychological – and even biological – factors contribute to a person’s propensity for violence.

World Faith’s approach to reducing violence in the world distinguishes, as Frank describes it, “two main drivers that push people to engage in violence … the first is the dehumanization of the perceived ‘other’ (that there is an ‘us’ and ‘them’ and that ‘they’ are a threat to ‘us’), and secondly, that when young people lack direction, opportunity, and purpose, they are more likely to engage in violence.  Our theory of change is … if you get young people to work together, with a shared objective, that under the right conditions they humanize one another and view their communities as an extension.  And secondarily, when young people see themselves making a positive difference in the local community, they feel more empowered … which reduces their likelihood of engaging in violence.”

___________________________________________________

We’d like to offer props to our underwriter, One Spirit Learning Alliance!

One Spirit Learning Alliance – an interfaith learning institute that trains spiritual leaders and offers workshops for the public to spark personal transformation. More information is at Onespiritinterfaith.org/Matters, where our listeners can find a free download of one of their teachings, “The Life We Are Called to Live.”

___________________________________________________

Podcast Questions? Comments?

Have a question for our guests, or a comment on our podcast series?  Please feel free to leave comments on your podcast player, or send us an email at socialmedia@interfaithcenter.org.  And please be sure to rate us!

“Interfaith Matters” is hosted by Hannah Meholick, and engineered and edited by Jeff Berman.  Learn more about Hannah and Jeff on our website.

Intro and outro music for this episode are edited excerpts of “Maximum Relax” by Lee Rosevere, used under CC BY 4.0 / Edited from original.

 

00:0000:00

“We Come Together to Go Further” - Our Conversation with the U.N.’s Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed

June 5, 2018

 

"We Come Together to Go Further"

 

United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed on her work of bringing humanity together to better each other's welfare

 

jpeg

 

Our host Hannah Meholick (left) with Amina J. Mohammed

 

Our Guest: 

 

In this episode, Hannah Meholick talks with Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations and former Minister of Environment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.   Ms. Mohammed was instrumental in bringing about the United Nations' unprecedented 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development including the Sustainable Development Goals (also known as "SDG's"). 

 

For her contributions to worldwide sustainable development, The Interfaith Center of New York will be honoring the Deputy Secretary-General with the James Parks Morton Interfaith Award at its 21st annual gala celebration on June 11. Please click here if you are interested in attending the event.

 

Podcast Episode Highlights:

 

On the benefits of diversity within her own family: "I grew up as a Muslim, but we have such a multi-religious family because my mother's father was a Presbyterian minister. My father was a Nigerian veterinary doctor, and my mother, a Welsh nurse, so I come from two sides, which is great, because I see through two lenses all the time, it's never one way." 

 

On the partnerships required to make sustainable development possible: "When you think about religions, at the core of them, is about understanding and mutual respect. And for partnerships, it's the same thing. So it's another dimension of how we come together to go further. 

 

On working with faith leaders toward sustainability goals: "Meeting with religious leaders was, for me, a way to  get across to a number of messengers my message, and also to hear back from them, what it was perhaps we were not messaging right." 

 

On the value of interfaith dialogue: "There are some challenges that cross faiths - female genital mutiliation goes across faiths - that's culture.  And when you address that, it's interesting to get faiths together, to tell the culture that it's not right.  Many times, in the conflicts that we have, it's the interfaith dialogue that helps us get through it." 

 

jpeg

jpeg

Click here to learn about the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals

 

___________________________________________________

 

We'd like to offer props to our underwriter, One Spirit Learning Alliance!

 

 

One Spirit Learning Alliance – an interfaith learning institute that trains spiritual leaders and offers workshops for the public to spark personal transformation. More information is at Onespiritinterfaith.org/Matters, where our listeners can find a free download of one of their teachings, “The Life We Are Called to Live.”

 

___________________________________________________

 

Podcast Questions? Comments?

 

Have a question for our guests, or a comment on our podcast series?  Please feel free to leave comments on your podcast player, or send us an email at socialmedia@interfaithcenter.org.  And please be sure to rate us!

 

"Interfaith Matters" is hosted by Hannah Meholick, and engineered and edited by Jeff Berman.  Learn more about Hannah and Jeff on our website.

 

Intro and outro music for this episode are edited excerpts of "Maximum Relax" by Lee Rosevere, used under CC BY 4.0 / Edited from original.

00:0000:00

Faith as a Verb: Sunita Viswanath on the “Doing” of Progressive Hinduism

April 5, 2018

SW_thumbnail.jpg 

Sunita Viswanath (left) with host Hannah Meholick 

Our Guest: 

We launch Season Three of Interfaith Matters with guest Sunita Viswanath, executive director of Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus and co-founder of Women for Afghan Women. Sunita, a Brooklyn resident, has worked for over two decades in women's rights and human rights organizations, and co-founded Sadhana in order to bring together her activism for human rights and her identity as a Hindu.   

Podcast Episode Highlights:

Sunita, on her early motivations to engage in social justice work: "When I see faith-based justice work, I hunger for Hinduism to be a part of it.  And I waited for that to exist in my world, and because I couldn’t find it, I guess I – along with friends – am making it." 

On the Hindu caste system: "In Hinduism, one of our deep, shameful, painful, horrible blemishes is the reality of the caste system. And so, for generations upon generations, people within our own human family have been dehumanized in the most unspeakable ways.  What is the meaning of Hindu expressions of Oneness if we’re creating these divisions which are responsible for perpetrating the most extreme violence?"

On the meaning of "Sadhana": "'Sadhana' means 'the doing of Hinduism.' [It's] a verb, it’s an action word, and those of us that started Sadhana didn’t want to talk about the justice we wanted to see in the world, we wanted to be it, we wanted to do it, and so our name reminds us – every day – that whatever we are talking about, we want to be creating it, manifesting it, building it in the world."

___________________________________________________  

We're so pleased to welcome back One Spirit Learning Alliance as an underwriter of Interfaith Matters

 

jpeg

 

One Spirit Learning Alliance – an interfaith learning institute that trains spiritual leaders and offers workshops for the public to spark personal transformation. More information is at Onespiritinterfaith.org/Matters, where our listeners can find a free download of one of their teachings, “The Life We Are Called to Live.” 

___________________________________________________

Podcast Questions? Comments?

Have a question for our guests, or a comment on our podcast series?  Please feel free to leave comments on your podcast player, or send us an email atsocialmedia@interfaithcenter.org.  And please be sure to rate us!

"Interfaith Matters" is hosted by Hannah Meholick, and engineered and edited by Jeff Berman.  Learn more about Hannah and Jeff on our website.

 

Intro and outro music for this episode are edited excerpts of "Maximum Relax" by Lee Rosevere, used under CC BY 4.0 / Edited from original.

00:0000:00

“The Most Visual Medium”: Maggi Van Dorn Reflects on Two Seasons of Interfaith Podcasting

January 16, 2018

 

jpeg

Host (and guest) Maggi Van Dorn

Our Guest: 

This time on “Interfaith Matters,” host Maggi Van Dorn is our guest!  ICNY’s Director of Programs, Dr. Henry Goldschmidt, talks with Maggi about her Catholic faith background, as they reflect on two seasons of podcasting, highlighting some memorable interviews with New York City faith leaders, and discussing how podcasts are such a valuable forum for interfaith conversation.

As Maggi departs our podcast after two wonderful seasons, we wish her tremendous continued success as the Religion and Spirituality producer at Spoke (a new podcasting app from SiriusXM) and as associate producer for The Adventures of Memento Mori podcast, which was just named one of The Atlantic’s 50 Best Podcasts of 2017.

 

jpeg

Podcast Episode Highlights:

On why podcasts are the most visual medium: “You can only hear my voice, and as a result, you have to conjure images in your mind that might be so much more powerful than anything that you would see on a TV screen.”

On how a Catholic imagination fuels interfaith conversation: “If you’re trying to understand the divine and you’re starting at a place of human flourishing then I can look at human flourishing all around the world and in so many different people and say, ‘There’s the glory of God!'”

On how podcasting enhances interfaith work: “We can talk very abstractly about a diversity of voices or perspectives, but podcasts strip away those abstractions because you literally have a human voice that is textured and unique, which discloses the person’s identity and their community.  To give greater representation of diverse backgrounds, what better way to do that than through the human voice?”

 

jpeg

___________________________________________________

This episode of Interfaith Matters is underwritten by One Spirit Learning Alliance – an interfaith learning institute that trains spiritual leaders and offers workshops for the public to spark personal transformation. More information is at Onespiritinterfaith.org/Matters, where our listeners can find a free download of one of their teachings, “The Life We Are Called to Live.”

___________________________________________________

Podcast Questions? Comments?

Have a question for our guests, or a comment on our podcast series?  Please feel free to leave comments on your podcast player, or send us an email at socialmedia@interfaithcenter.org.  And please be sure to rate us!

00:0000:00

Kevin Tarrant: A Native American Songcatcher Discusses Standing Rock, Thanksgiving & Intertribal Drumming

November 9, 2017

jpeg

Host Maggi Van Dorn (left) with Kevin Tarrant

 

Our Guest: 

This time on "Interfaith Matters," host Maggi Van Dorn talks with Kevin Tarrant, of the Hopi and Ho-Chunk Native American tribes.  Kevin is the former executive director of American Indian Community House here in New York City, and the founder of Silvercloud Singers, an inter-tribal dance and drumming group.  In Native American culture, Kevin's ministry is that of a "songcatcher," which serves as a rejuvenating force for the entire community.  Kevin is also Musical Director of a play in performance right now on the Lower East Side called "Don't Feed the Indians: A Divine Comedy Pageant." 

Podcast Highlights:

On Native Americans in NYC: "According to the latest census, there are 112,000 Native Americans in New York City.  It is the largest urban population of Native people in America." 

On being a Song-catcher: "It’s a gift...there’s a tree of life and every time the leaf falls, that’s a song. And every time that leaf comes down and hits the ground the song is no longer there. But some people are attuned to catch that song and I’m lucky enough to be one of those people.”

On the healing role of the drum: “A part of knowing this knowledge and being one of these song-carriers and dancers is you do these things for those that can’t. And you do these things to make yourself feel good and make others feel good.”

On the Standing Rock protest to protect the environment: "Everybody is realizing that there’s going to be nothing for our grandchildren, our great grandchildren. What are we leaving them? You’re destroying every bit of nature there is."

 

Don't Feed the Indians: A Divine Comedy Pageant

 

jpeg

Kevin and his wife, the director Murielle Borst-Tarrant, are currently presenting a play called "Don't Feed the Indians: A Divine Comedy Pageant," a comedic Native-Aesthetic look at the marginalization of Indigenous Peoples and the appropriation of Indigenous cultural and intellectual property. The play is being performed now through November 19 at La Mamma, on East 4th Street. 

More info and tickets are available here. 

___________________________________________________

 

jpeg

This episode of Interfaith Matters is underwritten by One Spirit Learning Alliance – an interfaith learning institute that trains spiritual leaders and offers workshops for the public to spark personal transformation. More information is at Onespiritinterfaith.org/Matters, where our listeners can find a free download of one of their teachings, “The Life We Are Called to Live.”

___________________________________________________

Podcast Questions? Comments?

Have a question for our guests, or a comment on our podcast series?  Please feel free to leave comments on your podcast player, or send us an email at socialmedia@interfaithcenter.org.  And please be sure to rate us!

00:0000:00

From Foster Care to Activism: Onleilove Alston on Improving Life in “The Most Spiritual City in America”

September 19, 2017

Host Maggi Van Dorn (left) with Onleilove Alston

Our Guest: 

This time on “Interfaith Matters,” host Maggi Van Dorn talks with Onleilove Alston, executive director of Faith in New York, an affiliate of the PICO National Network, committed to the work of justice and faith-rooted community organizing.  Onleilove knows the vital importance of this work more intimately than most: as a child, Onleilove experienced homelessness, shelters and foster care before she was ten years old.  Today, she is a contributing writer and board member of Sojourners magazine, and founder of “Prophetic Whirlwind,” an organization – and forthcoming book – about the Black presence in the Bible. Onleilove will be one of the experts working with faith leaders at ICNY’s upcoming “Interfaith Civic Leadership Academy.”

Podcast Highlights:

On her conversion experience and the call to work on behalf of social justice causes: “Encountering a God of the orphan and the widow was empowering because I was an orphan.  Reading about a God who preached good news to the poor was good news to me because I was poor.  And I began to think I could do something to change my community and to help other young people like myself.”

On faith-based advocacy: “[It is] harnessing the power of faith communities to make a difference in public life – to bring a moral imperative to public life. It’s a moral travesty that families are going to sleep homeless every night.”

On spirituality in NYC: “The Bible Belt may be the most Christian-active part of the country, but as far as spiritual activity of any faith, New York City is actually the most spiritual place in America. If just 10% of those people who are spiritual were infused in public life to support progressive policies, we could change this city.”

Three things faith leaders stand to gain from attending the Interfaith Civic Leadership Academy: “One, to build relationships with like-minded faith leaders. Two, to build relationships with organizations doing [social justice] work. And three, to gain strategic tools they can use to change conditions in our city.” 

On how faith leaders can avoid burnout while responding to the political crises that come up seemingly every day: “Discern the one, two or three issues you’re going to work on, so that when things happen, that guides you, and share the burden, with people in your congregation, with other partners, so you are not overwhelmed.”

 

___________________________________________________

 

This episode of Interfaith Matters is underwritten by One Spirit Learning Alliance – an interfaith learning institute that trains spiritual leaders and offers workshops for the public to spark personal transformation. More information is at Onespiritinterfaith.org/Matters, where our listeners can find a free download of one of their teachings, “The Life We Are Called to Live.”

___________________________________________________

Beginning in November 2017, ICNY will sponsor 20 faith community leaders to participate in evening training workshops on a bi-monthly basis in civic engagement, legal literacy, and community organizing. These workshops will be led by expert partners including: The Center for Court Innovation, Faith in New York, The Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, CUNY CLEAR as well as the NYPD.

Individual participants will each receive a $1,000 stipend + seed funding for community projects.

The application deadline is October 2, 2017

Program details and application info is available at http://interfaithcenter.org/icla

For more info, email Iman Boukadoum or call 212.870.3515.

___________________________________________________

Podcast Questions? Comments?

Have a question for our guests, or a comment on our podcast series?  Please feel free to leave comments on your podcast player, or send us an email at socialmedia@interfaithcenter.org.  And please be sure to rate us!

00:0000:00

Between Church and State: NYC Mayoral Appointee Jonathan Soto on the Bilateral Value of Faith and Civic Engagement

August 22, 2017

 

Our Guest: 

 

This time on "Interfaith Matters," host Maggi Van Dorn talks with Jonathan Soto, executive director of Mayor Bill de Blasio's newly-formed Center for Faith and Community Partnerships.   The center is designed to transform the way faith and other community organizations access city services.  We discuss why collaboration between faith communities and local government is not a violation of the First Amendment, but is essential to protect freedom, and help citizens in need. Jonathan will be one of the experts working with faith leaders in ICNY's upcoming "Interfaith Civic Leadership Academy."

 

Podcast Highlights:

 

On the importance of connecting faith communities with local government: “A house of worship could be the first institution a person interacts with when they come to this city or this country for the first time. It’s an important step, especially as it relates to services, to ensure that houses of worship are really well-resourced, and well connected to city services.”  

 

On why faith community outreach helps protect city services: “There can be a policy argument that services should be cut because people aren’t using them, while in reality what’s happening is that government isn’t doing a very good job of letting people know these services are available.”  

 

On what faith leaders will gain from the upcoming Interfaith Civic Leadership Academy: “Government is like a labyrinth, and it’s hard to navigate it if you don’t know the language. My hope is that [the Academy will] make the language accessible, and we can be open about ways to engage intentionally and collaboratively in order to maximize the benefit government can provide to people.”

 

On protecting religious liberty for others: “There is no religious liberty if we elevate one perspective over the other. If my Muslim sister or brother doesn't have religious freedom, then I don't have religious freedom. We give up a lot of our power when we work in silos.  But we maximize our power when we engage in collaborative action and work together." 

 

FAITH COMMUNITY LEADER RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS PROGRAM:

 

  • Faith community leaders interested in joining the Weekend of Action, or who would like to connect with the Center for Faith and Community Partnerships, please contact Jonathan Soto directly at jsoto@cityhall.nyc.gov.
  • The “Access HRA” app is a new online portal from New York City’s Human Resources Administration.  People in your community can use the app to apply online for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Cash Assistance, Medicaid renewal, manage benefits, read agency notices. It’s available on iPhone and Google Play Stores or click here. 
  • The "Interfaith Civic Leadership Academy" (ICLA):

jpeg

 

Beginning in November 2017, ICNY will sponsor 20 faith community leaders to participate in evening training workshops on a bi-monthly basis in civic engagement, legal literacy, and community organizing. These workshops will be led by expert partners including: The Center for Court Innovation, Faith in New York, The Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, CUNY CLEAR as well as the NYPD.

Individual participants will each receive a $1,000 stipend + seed funding for community projects.

The application deadline is October 2, 2017

jpeg

Program details and application info is available at http://interfaithcenter.org/icla

For more info, email Iman Boukadoum or call 212.870.3515.

 

___________________________________________________

 

Podcast Questions? Comments?

 

Have a question for our guests, or a comment on our podcast series?  Please feel free to leave comments on your podcast player, or send us an email at socialmedia@interfaithcenter.org.  And please be sure to rate us!

00:0000:00

An Agnostic Filmmaker’s Film About Religion: Thomas Lennon (Best Documentary Oscar-winner) on his new PBS film “Sacred”

July 7, 2017

 

jpeg

 

Pictured Above: Thomas Lennon in a Beijing Film Studio. Lennon's earlier

work in China earned him an Oscar and two Academy nominations.

 

Our Guest: 

This time on "Interfaith Matters," host Maggi Van Dorn talks with Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Thomas Lennon about "Sacred," his recent million-dollar global documentary for PBS.  Two years in the making, and utilizing more than 40 film crews in more than 20 countries, "Sacred" explores ritual practice around the world through stages of life the film terms "Initiation," "Practice" and "Passage."  As the film journeys through the milestones of private life and the faith practices of individual human beings, a singular story begins to unfold, of universal humanity. 

 

"Sacred" is premiering around the country this year, and, as a WNET-TV production, will be on public TV in 2018.  Jump to the link below to watch the trailer. Click here to check for upcoming film screenings in the United States and around the world.

 

Podcast Highlights:

 

On what motivated him as an agnostic filmmaker to produce a film about religion: "Jonathan Sacks said, 'Religion is fire: it can warm, or it can burn.'  The media have done a very good job of looking at the ways in which it can burn. And I thought why don't I go off by myself and take a few looks at how it can warm." 

 

On faith as a primary human experience: "The wisdom of [religious rituals], psychologically, does not require you to be a person of faith for you to recognize and be grateful for that transmission of advice from generations before you."

 

On his experimental approach to global film-making: "If there is a scene you want covered in Myanmar or in Madagascar... the chances are very good that there's a filmmaker there who's going to have an intimacy of relationship with that scene, with that language, with that culture, with that faith, that you do not have - and so it behooves you to invite them into a collaboration."

 

On the spiritual creativity of prisoners:  "It's an extraordinary act of existential choice to say, 'I'm not going to think about the fact that ... I'm not going to leave these prison walls except in a body bag...I'm going to think about this other reality that I'm going to insist is the dominant reality.'"

 

VIEW THE "SACRED" TRAILER HERE:

 

jpeg

 

___________________________________________________

 

 

This episode of Interfaith Matters is underwritten by One Spirit Learning Alliance – an interfaith learning institute that trains spiritual leaders and offers workshops for the public to spark personal transformation. More information is at Onespiritinterfaith.org/Matters, where our listeners can find a free download of one of their teachings, “The Life We Are Called to Live."

 

___________________________________________________

 

Questions? Comments?

 

Have a question for our guests, or a comment on our podcast series?  Please feel free to leave comments on your podcast player, or send us an email at socialmedia@interfaithcenter.org.  And please be sure to rate us!

 

00:0000:00