Thursday, January 12, 2012


AND INTERFAITH PANEL DISCUSSION - The Jewish Federation from Chattanooga city in the US state of Tennessee will host a Havdallah, a community dinner, and an interfaith panel discussion on life and the afterlife on Saturday, Jan. 21, at 7 p.m. at the Jewish Cultural Center, 5461 North Terrace Road.  The evening will begin with Havdallah, a very short ceremony that marks the symbolic end of the Sabbath (Shabbat in Hebrew) and/or religious holidays. Havdallah ushers in the new week and during the ceremony, individuals use all five senses, tasting wine, smell spices, seeing and feeling the flame of a special braided candle, and hearing special Havdallah blessings. Following the ceremony and a community dinner, members of an interfaith panel will present how each of his religions deal with life and the afterlife.

Each of the members of the interfaith panel will exhibit each religion’s view by answering the following questions: - How does his faith define/interpret the word, “heaven?” - How does his faith define/interpret the word, “hell?” - What are the views/beliefs/understandings of his faith regarding sin? - What are the views/beliefs/understandings of his faith regarding reward and punishment? The evening will conclude with a facilitated question-and-answer session with the audience. Members of the panel include Rabbi Bill Tepper (Mizpah Congregation), Imam Plemon ElAmin (representing the Muslim community), Father Stavros Ballas (Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church), and Reggie Lisemby (Brainerd Baptist Church).

The Jewish Cultural Center at Chattanooga, USA, offers classes and exhibits rooted in Jewish values; however, all programs are open to everyone regardless of religious affiliation. In a world of constant struggle between religions, this interfaith panel discussion is a right path towards mutual understanding.  Besides, the rapid rise of fundamentalism threatens the religious freedom for all of us. That is why interfaith dialogue is more important now than ever.

The purpose of Interfaith is to create an understanding about the other systems and their rudimentary values to enforce mutual respect, even though not reverence … Due to continuous engagement in scientific and economic pursuits, west has lost its immunity in self and social control, which has made it the first and the worst vulnerable region for ethical degradation. ... In the present context of Interfaith, cultural exchange, in its level-headed way, can tremendously lubricate collective survival mechanism. Festivals and art forms of every faith and system are to be demonstrated with their essential messages, so that it can kindle involvement in their own people and others. This get together shatters the cloud of selfishness and egoism, thereby binding everybody with inborn love.

Śrīla S.A.R. Prasanna Venkatachariar Chaturvedi Swamy :
Acarya of Ramanuja Sampradaya
“International Conference on Interfaith”
“Culture, Philosophy, Literature and Religion”

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