Interfaith Matters
People Who Use Drugs are Beloved: Faith, the Overdose Crisis, and Movements for Healing & Justice

People Who Use Drugs are Beloved: Faith, the Overdose Crisis, and Movements for Healing & Justice

February 11, 2020

Pictured (l. to r.): Rev. Dr. Luis Barrios, Minister Erica Poellot, & author Jimmie Briggs

We launch season five of the “Interfaith Matters” podcast with a critical conversation about faith community responses to the opioid/overdose crisis in New York City, where in 2018, there were 1,444 unintentional overdose deaths, of which 80% involved opioids. Rates of overdose have increased in the Bronx, specifically the South Bronx, and among Manhattan and Staten Island residents as well.

Note that everyone interested in this topic is invited to our February 24 conference "Faithful Responses to the Overdose Crisis" - see below.

For people of faith, this overdose crisis is a spiritual and moral crisis too, as racism, misogyny and class discrimination are recognized as factors that not only contribute to a person's exposure to and involvement with drugs, but are impacting their ability to access help.

Our guests in this conversation are three New Yorkers who are experts on the subject:

  • Rev. Dr. Luis Barrios, of Holyrood Episcopal Church – Iglesia Santa Cruz in Harlem Heights
  • Minister Erica Poellot, Harm Reduction Coalition Director of Faith and Community Partnerships
  • Jimmie Briggs, a journalist who has written extensively on the topic

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AN INVITATION

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If you are interested in learning more about this issue, we invite you to attend a day-long retreat for religious and civic leaders on February 24 called Faithful Responses to the Overdose Crisis: Building Congregations and Communities of Care. Drawing on the path breaking work of the Harm Reduction Coalition’s Faith in Harm Reduction program, the retreat will help to build a multifaith healing justice movement, through education, advocacy, and spiritual care centered on the dignity and divinity of all New Yorkers – including those who use drugs. 

 

REGISTER HERE

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Podcast Questions? Comments?

Have a question for our guests or comment on our podcast series? Would you like to suggest a guest or topic for a future podcast episode? Please feel free to contact us at podcast@interfaithcenter.org.

This episode of “Interfaith Matters” is hosted by co-producer AJ DeBonis, engineered and edited by co-producer Michelle Polton-Simon, and executive produced by Kevin Childress. 

Learn more about the podcast team on our website.

Georgette Bennett on the Legacy of Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum, and Why it Matters Now

Georgette Bennett on the Legacy of Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum, and Why it Matters Now

September 9, 2019

 

 Host Hannah Meholick (left) and Dr. Georgette Bennett (right)

On the latest episode of "Interfaith Matters," host Hannah Meholick talks with Dr. Georgette Bennett, founder, and President of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, about a newly-released biography of Dr. Bennett's late husband, Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum. 

Written by Gerald and Deborah Strober, "Confronting Hate: The Untold Story of the Rabbi Who Stood Up for Human Rights, Racial Justice, and Religious Reconciliation" details the life and career of the esteemed Rabbi, a seminal 20th-century figure in interfaith relations in the US and around the world. Most importantly, the book provides a roadmap for moral leadership today as well as a blueprint for religious resistance against the rising incidence of hatred in our nation.

Dr. Bennett's reflections on her husband and their marriage include a moving account of their first meetings, and their shared life of social justice activism, including their productive involvement with the Rev. Billy Graham. 

 

Dr. Georgette Bennett is a sociologist by training who has spent the past 25 years advancing interreligious relations. She founded The Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding in 1992 to combat religious prejudice, and founded the Multifaith Alliance for Syrian Refugees in 2013, to mobilize support for alleviating the suffering of Syria's war victims. Among many other honors, Dr. Bennett has been recognized by the Syrian American Medical Society for her work on behalf of Syrian refugees.

 

 

 
Available now from Amazon and other booksellers 
 
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Women and the Criminal Justice System

Women and the Criminal Justice System

July 9, 2019
Women and the Criminal Justice System
 
Former Members of America's Fastest Growing Prison Population Share Their Journeys
 
How Faith Communities Can Help
 
 
At a recent event produced by the nonprofit organization Circles of Support, and held at St. Philip's Church in Harlem, three women: Lanetta Hill, Afrika Owes, and Diana Ortiz, shared their personal stories of incarceration, release, and return to society and lives of criminal justice advocacy, while touching on some of the major issues facing women in prison. They also helped us understand how faith communities can play a positive role in helping women return home successfully.  

Podcast Questions? Comments?

Have a question for our guests, or a comment on our podcast series?  Would you like a suggest a guest or topic for a future podcast episode? Please feel free to contact us at podcast@interfaithcenter.org

This episode of "Interfaith Matters" is hosted by co-producer Hannah Meholick, and engineered, edited and executive produced by Kevin Childress. 

Learn more about the podcast team on our website.

Neighbors in the East Village Share “Spiritual Sounds”

Neighbors in the East Village Share “Spiritual Sounds”

June 5, 2019

 

Join podcast host Hannah Meholick at the 10th annual "Spiritual Sounds of the East Village" concert, held earlier this year at the Town & Village Synagogue, as Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Sufis, and other New Yorkers come together to celebrate the East Village's 250+ year history of diverse people living, working, and worshiping together in harmony. Between musical performances, Hannah talks with organizers, performers, and audience members about the importance of sharing our cultures and faiths with our neighbors.

Performance Credits (In order of appearance):

Nechung Foundation
Lama Pema Dorje
Geshe Tashi La, The Center of Universal Peace

Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection
The Right Rev. Fr. Christopher Calin
Archdeacon Fr. Michael Suvak
Simona Breazu & Jennifer Cross, music directors

Medina Masjid Mosque
Imam Yousef Abdul Majid
Mohammad Nasir Uddin, President
Elder Muhammed Yousuf

Light of Guidance Sufi Center
Kainat Felicia Sharifa Norton
Muinuddin Charles Smith
Sharif Matthews, music director

The Catholic Worker
Joanne Kennedy
Mark Ettinger, conductor

Town & Village Synagogue,
Rabbi Larry Sebert
Cantor Shayna Postman

Middle Collegiate Church
Rev. Amanda Hambrick Ashcraft
Rev. Bertram Jonshon
John Del Cueto, music director

 

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 podcast@interfaithcenter.org.  And please be sure to rate us!

"Interfaith Matters" is co-produced by host Hannah Meholick and engineer and editor Jeff Berman, and executive produced by Kevin Childress. Learn more about the podcast team on our website.

Young New Yorkers on  “Leading through Faith and Advocacy”

Young New Yorkers on “Leading through Faith and Advocacy”

April 8, 2019

Young New Yorkers on

"Leading through Faith and Advocacy"

 Recorded before an audience at the East End Temple

 

How does faith inspire social justice work? 

How does advocacy inform faith?

When the Interfaith Center of New York (ICNY) launched a campaign called #FaithJusticeHero, we invited New Yorkers to celebrate leaders from diverse faith communities who are doing inspiring social justice work.  Four of these impressive young #FaithJusticeHero’s join host Hannah Meholick on this episode of ICNY’s “Interfaith Matters” podcast, to discuss faith and advocacy. These leaders share their stories.

 Guests (pictured above, left to right):

 Hannah Meholick, host

 Kyndra Frazier, Executive Director of the HOPE Center, and Pastor of Congregational Care & Counseling, First Corinthian Baptist Church, Harlem

 Joshua Stanton, Rabbi of East End Temple and a Senior Fellow at CLAL - The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership

Gagan Kaur, Director of Community Development for ThriveNYC at the Mayor’s Office

Shahana Hanif, Director of Organizing and Community Engagement, Office of City Council Member Brad Lander (Brooklyn District 39)

 

Hannah and the rest of our "Interfaith Matters" crew, Kevin Childress and Jeff Berman, with four inspiring #FaithJusticeHero's

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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 podcast@interfaithcenter.org.  And please be sure to rate us!

"Interfaith Matters" is co-produced by host Hannah Meholick and engineer and editor Jeff Berman, and executive produced by Kevin Childress. Learn more about the podcast team on our website.

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

“Creating Community at the Dinner Table” - Halal and Kosher Food as an Opportunity for Social Development

“Creating Community at the Dinner Table” - Halal and Kosher Food as an Opportunity for Social Development

March 4, 2019

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik (left) and Mohammad Modarres

In this episode of Interfaith Matters, two New York City leaders – one Jewish and one Muslim – discuss the importance of food in bringing people together across lines of cultural and religious difference.

Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis and co-host of “The Rev and The Rabbi” program on 77 WABC Radio, is a leading advocate for offering kosher and halal meals in New York City’s public schools, an initiative which received funding last year to launch a pilot program.

Mohammad Modarres, a Ted Talk resident and keynote speaker, is the founder of Abe’s Meats, a business that produces meats which are both Zabihah Halal and Glatt Kosher. Proceeds from Abe’s Meats are used to fund Interfaith Ventures, a nonprofit that Mohammad co-founded to promote interfaith dialogue and unity.

Rabbi Potasnik and Mohammad Modarres met up recently for this conversation on food and faith in the Library of the East End Temple, with a few friends in the audience.

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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 podcast@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 the podcast team 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.

The Living History of Christianity: Orthodoxy in Architecture, Paintings and Music

The Living History of Christianity: Orthodoxy in Architecture, Paintings and Music

January 21, 2019

Host Hannah Meholick, with (clockwise from top left):

The Very Reverend Fr. Thomas Zain, Dean,
St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral

Fr. Gregory Saroufeem,
St. Mary and St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church of Manhattan

The Right Reverend Archimandrite Father Christopher Calin,
Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection (Orthodox Church in America)

Rev. Fr. John Vlahos, Dean,
Holy Trinity Cathedral (Greek Orthodox)

In the last episode, we looked at how Orthodox Christianity made its way to the United States and established communities here in New York City.  In this episode, we experience exquisite expressions of Orthodox faith in architecture, paintings and music, while examining how different groups of Orthodox Christians are connecting across lines of faith.  Why do Orthodox Christians venerate icons?  How does the architecture of an Orthodox church evoke the embrace of God?  How does music uniquely articulate Orthodox faith? And how do Orthodox Christians in New York City share their traditions and practices with non Orthodox Christians?  Listen in, and experience the faith of our 200,000 NYC neighbors.

 

 

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 podcast@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 the podcast crew here.

Ring Bells and Shout! Exploring the Heritage, Culture & Faith of NYC’s Orthodox Christians

Ring Bells and Shout! Exploring the Heritage, Culture & Faith of NYC’s Orthodox Christians

January 6, 2019

 

 

Pictured above (clockwise from top left):

The Very Reverend Fr. Thomas Zain, Dean,
St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral

Rev. Fr. John Vlahos, Dean,
Holy Trinity Cathedral (Greek Orthodox)

The Right Reverend Archimandrite Father Christopher Calin,
Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Virgin Protection (Orthodox Church in America)

Fr. Gregory Saroufeem,
St. Mary and St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church of Manhattan

 

 

Don't forget to wish "Happy Christmas" to Christians today - that is, to the hundreds of millions of Orthodox Christians in the world who celebrate Christmas on January 7 (or in some cases, January 6). 

 

Orthodox Christianity is ancient - with some churches connecting their lineages back 2,000 years to particular disciples of Christ - and while various forms of Orthodox Christianity are prominent in Russia, Greece, Egypt, Syria and many other countries, there over a million followers in the United States, and around 200,000 here in New York City.

 

It is our NYC Orthodox Christian neighbors who are the focus of today's podcast episode, an interview with four leaders of communities in Manhattan and Brooklyn.  We learn from them how each community made its way into the United States, and settled in New York City, sometimes initially facing severe discrimination. 

 

We also examine the challenges the Orthodox Christian Churches face in New York when representing the history, tradition and values of an ancient faith, while ministering to people living in this modern, diverse city, and also welcoming new immigrants (and sometimes refugees) arriving with no familiarity with English language or American customs. 

 

This discussion is a rich and rewarding foray into Orthodox Christian life in New York City - so much so that we decided to present it in two parts.  Subscribe and watch your favorite podcatcher for the second episode to drop in a week or so, which will focus on the "sights and sounds" of Orthodox Christianity such as liturgical music, art and architecture - what you see & hear might be surprising!

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

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

September 17, 2018

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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."

 

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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.

 

 

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

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

August 23, 2018

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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.”

 

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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.