One Day

“One Day”

Sometimes I lay
Under the moon
And thank God I’m breathing
Then I pray
Don’t take me soon
‘Cause I am here for a reason

Sometimes in my tears I drown
But I never let it get me down
So when negativity surrounds
I know some day it’ll all turn around because…

All my life I’ve been waiting for
I’ve been praying for
For the people to say
That we don’t wanna fight no more
There will be no more wars
And our children will play
One day

It’s not about
Win or lose
Because we all lose
When they feed on the souls of the innocent
Blood-drenched pavement
Keep on moving though the waters stay raging

In this maze you can lose your way (your way)
It might drive you crazy but don’t let it faze you no way (no way)

Sometimes in my tears I drown (I drown)
But I never let it get me down (get me down)
So when negativity surrounds (surrounds)
I know some day it’ll all turn around because…

All my life I’ve been waiting for
I’ve been praying for
For the people to say
That we don’t wanna fight no more
There will be no more wars
And our children will play
One day

One day this all will change
Treat people the same
Stop with the violence
Down with the hate

One day we’ll all be free
And proud to be
Under the same sun
Singing songs of freedom like
One day

All my life I’ve been waiting for
I’ve been praying for
For the people to say
That we don’t wanna fight no more
There will be no more wars
And our children will play
One day

One Day

Prayer for Muslim-Jewish Relations

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joshua-stanton/prayer-for-muslim-jewish_b_6448608.html

Article by Rabbi Joshua Stanton

“Too many Muslims and Jews have not lived up to their values in responding to the attacks in France.

In the United States, I have heard too many Jews whose views I usually respect speak of the closing of Paris’s synagogues last night for security reasons as justification to likewise close Paris’s mosques for an evening as collective punishment. In the United States, I have heard too many Muslims whose views I usually respect talking about media bias as a reason to forgo speaking out against the brutality in Paris. I have seen too many Jews ignore the shootings at French mosques in the time since the attacks in Paris began, and I have seen too many Muslims use the Middle East conflict as pseudo-explanation for the killing that has taken place in France of Jewish citizens.

We are two American religious communities in such pain from the outburst of extremist violence in France that we not only have forgotten each other. We have forgotten ourselves.

Muslim and Jewish communities in America are for the most part glowing examples of collaboration. Just think back a couple of months to the conference at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America with leaders from the Islamic Society of North America and Hartford Seminary on enduring and meaningful Muslim-Jewish engagement. Think of the incredible twinning of mosques and synagogues around the country. Think of the thousands of hours of community and civic service we do together. Think of how far we’ve come compared to so many Jewish and Muslim communities around the world.

In my own life, I think of beloved Muslim friends and mentors, who have shaped who I am as a rabbi and a human being today. The Eboo Patel’s of the world. The Abdullah Antepli’s of the world. The Khalid Latif’s of the world. If ever there were other mensches like them.

We have too much to lose to lose each other in this painful international fray.

The violence of this week took the lives of innocents, whom we must all mourn. But the ricochet of violence this week has taken our innocence and set back Muslims and Jews living thousands of miles away from these events more than I could have imagined. Extremists have already done too much harm. We cannot let them do injury to the incredible strides Muslims and Jews have taken in the United States to build bridges and prevent strife, to care for each other and share in each other’s lives.

My prayer for Muslims and Jews, most especially those in America, is that they find their highest selves, even in this time of pain. We still can be at our best as individuals and communities even when the world feels like it is at its worst. We still can be the beacon of light America’s communities so often have been to their counterparts overseas. We still can quash extremism in its many manifestations and preempt violence. We still can undermine hate with hope and loathing with loving. We can still build relationships and see them to fruition.

May the Divine spark help each of us return to that sacred place of peace within, so that we can spread it to the reaches of a world that is in so much need of it. The possibility for so much good in Muslim-Jewish relations resides with us, most especially as American Jews and Muslims. It is our sacred obligation to more fully realize that possibility in our lives and translate it into meaningful action in our world.”

Follow Rabbi Joshua Stanton on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/JoshuaMZStanton

Prayer for Muslim-Jewish Relations

Jerusalem

I’ve been thinking, feeling and praying “coexistence” these most recent days…my personal response to so much ignorance, fear and hate surrounding me. Faithful followers, please pray for peace… pray for peace that MUST begin with each and every one of us! Politicians do not make peace… we do.

I had the opportunity last evening to attend the opening of the Annual Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival. Eleven award-winning films over two weeks; a warm welcoming Jewish community of fellowship and acceptance even though I am not Jewish and complimentary tickets from new friends…it doesn’t take much to keep this interfaith minister happy. I am honored and thrilled to participate and listen to the kind of thoughtful discussion that most definitely makes film festivals excellent adventures.

The opening film viewed by more than 300 in attendance was Jerusalem, a National Geographic Entertainment move filmed in 3D IMAX.

I guess I knew this going into the theater… but like so much of learning… I didn’t fully realize its implications.

So here’s the deal: Jerusalem is one of the world’s oldest and most enigmatic cities. Literally, this tiny place is geographically situated at the crossroads of Europe, Africa and The East. It’s been been destroyed and rebuilt countless times over more than 5,000 years. It’s enduring will to live and its message of hope is extraordinary. Other than having its own pure source of underground water in a barren desert, what keeps this place alive?

Literally within the confines of just 0.9 square kilometers (0.35 sq mi), the Old City thrives within the bustling modern city of Jerusalem. Indeed, it’s an absolutely central city to all three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Jerusalem surrounds hugely important religious sites: the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims, the Temple Mount and Western Wall for Jews and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher for Christians.

Added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site List in 1981, traditionally, the Old City is roughly divided into four uneven quarters: the Muslim Quarter, the Christian Quarter, the Jewish Quarter and the Armenian Quarter. Largest populations are found in the Islamic and Christian quarters – all surrounded by Jews.

What’s so extraordinary is that within the City of Jerusalem three separate and distinct religious cultures with complicated and volatile histories coexist.

From the film’s commentary:

“It is easy to understand why Jerusalem has so often been the site of armed conflicts over the centuries. Temples have been torn down only to be rebuilt as pagan shrines or churches. Churches have been burnt down. Mosques have been converted into churches. There have been 118 conflicts in and for Jerusalem over the past 4,000 years. Jerusalem has been conquered 44 times. It has been besieged 23 times, completely destroyed twice and has seen 11 transfers from one religion to another. It has only changed hands peacefully twice.

Jews, Christians, and Muslims have plenty to be angry about. We could hold grudges across the centuries. Yet, our calling is toward love, to be neighbors. Muslim rulers like Saladin and Suleiman the Magnificent permitted worship of all religions in Jerusalem. They were good neighbors. The city has seen periods of reigns marked by intolerance and injustice followed by periods of peace and prosperity. Diversity has distinguished Jerusalem across the centuries and even today. The four major quarters of the Old City — Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Armenian — reflect the rich history and the deep love that each community feels for Jerusalem.”

The film strengthen my commitment to hope, (the fundamental mission of my ministry) and my resolve to live and study in Jerusalem soon. I have much to learn there.

Jerusalem is a stunningly beautiful film that delivers a profound message of religious tolerance and coexistence. Consider taking the opportunity to see it.

http://www.jerusalemthemovie.com/#/?modal=0&page=home

Blessings!

Jerusalem

The Messiah Is Coming Today

Marc Chagall
Marc Chagall.”Elijah Touched by an Angel.” 1958. The Jewish Museum,NYC

“Once a rabbi met the prophet Elijah.
The rabbi asked Elijah, “When will the messiah come?”
Elijah said, “Go and ask him yourself when he’s coming.”
The rabbi said, “Where is he?”
Elijah said, “He’s sitting at the city gate, covered in bandages’
(an alternate version of this story has the messiah changing the bandages of the lepers at the city gate).

So the rabbi went and asked the messiah, “When will you come?”
The messiah said, “Today.”
The rabbi came back and relayed this to Elijah: “The messiah is coming today!”
Elijah responded with temperance, saying “the messiah meant today, if you listen to God’s voice.”

The tradition practically begs us to realize, the messiah is here. The world to come is here. The unknown is as close as your breath. What this means is that, as Wendell Berry writes, “What we need is here”; yet we must be careful to not grasp in the presence of that knowing, lest we fall to irretrievably into the world of names.”

*Joshua Boettiger, NAMING THE UNNAMEABLE: Advice on living in two worlds, PARABOLA, Fall 2012, “The Unknown.”

To read the entire essay, purchase this issue here: http://bit.ly/1uXSeni

The Messiah Is Coming Today

8 Stories of Jewish and Muslim Compassion

Muslim Harim Hamad guards the only  Jewish synagogue in Arazon
Muslim Harim Hamad guards the only Jewish synagogue in Arazon, Morocco

As an interfaith minister, I study the very best teachings of the world’s religions and honor the spiritual wisdom of their beliefs and traditions.
I believe all paths lead to one God, the Divine, the Sacred. Each path reflects the rich diversity of our collective human experience. Religion is one strand of the fabric of who we are as a species.

Differences abound. Different gene pools, cultures, histories, geographical and climactic adaptations… we seem to have mastered our differences quite well.
But so many of our difference represent nothing more than different groups of people in collective search of a bit of purpose and meaning in their often chaotic, unpredictable and uncontrollable lives. Indeed, we cherish our joys but also mourn our sorrows.

We don’t have to look very far to realize that people are people with varying degrees of successes and failures when it comes to coexistence. Some individuals coexist better than others. Some couples coexist better than others. Some families/tribes coexist better than others. Some groups/nations coexist better than others. Some religions coexist better than others. Often, coexistence is not easy but it can be accomplished and it can flourish.

The ongoing intolerance, fear and vengeful behavior between Jews and Muslims is tragic and painful. It’s ungodly and despite its pretenses has nothing to do with spirituality… little to do with religion… and everything to do with both subtle and overt politics throughout millennia. It is, as I understand it, a stain upon our human evolution on this planet. (Christianity’s contribution to the terror will be the topic of another blog post).

I am committed to coexistence personally and professionally. I love my Jewish friends. I love my Muslim friends. I love having them to vegan brunch or lunch or dinner together… as I orchestrate opportunities to shake hands, see their bodies and souls and listen to each other as they share healthy, cruelty-free food and drink… over my glass-top table… my profane alter where “God and man at table are sat down.”

Regardless of that which is declared politically correct these days, I have come to believe that both Judaism and Islam are valid pathways to the Sacred. I believe that Israel is right. I believe that Palestine is right. I believe that Israel is wrong. I believe that Palestine is also wrong.

If war is to be the ultimate result of the Abrahamic religions’ coexistence… if the tribes of Abraham – Jews, Christians and Muslims cannot coexist – a friend says – then God has failed us.

I choose not to live that way. If Jews, Christians and Muslims cannot coexist, I believe that we have failed God.

Bluntly, I look for hope where ever I can find it. I choose to find hope here. Read with me:

As 2014 draws to a close we wanted to honor some of the inspirational individuals that rose above the political tensions that divide Jews and Muslims and extended a hand of friendship. (Courtesy of the Interfaith Council of Southern NV, of which I am a member).
http://www.judaism-islam.com/8-touching-stories-of-jewish-and-muslim-friendship-from-2014/4/
Blessings!

8 Stories of Jewish and Muslim Compassion