News / USA

Muslim, Jewish, Christian Friends Share Insights With Students

Three longtime colleagues of Muslim, Jewish and Christian faiths, respectively - from left to right, Maher Hathout, Leonard Beerman and George Regas - recently shared their insights into religion with middle and high school students at Flintridge Preparat
Three longtime colleagues of Muslim, Jewish and Christian faiths, respectively - from left to right, Maher Hathout, Leonard Beerman and George Regas - recently shared their insights into religion with middle and high school students at Flintridge Preparat

Three longtime colleagues of different faiths have forged bonds of friendship through decades of dialogue in interfaith forums. The three men, who are leaders in the Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities of Los Angeles, recently shared their insights into religion with middle and high school students. The students learned that the men respect their differences and celebrate what they have in common.

They have known each other and worked together for decades - Maher Hathout, spokesman for the Islamic Center of Southern California; Leonard Beerman, the founding rabbi of the Leo Baeck Temple, a Jewish synagogue; and the Reverend George Regas, retired rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California.

The students, from Flintridge Preparatory School, asked probing questions about violence inspired by religion. Rabbi Beerman told them that, sadly, evil is a part of religion's legacy, but that faith also plays a positive role in human development.

“It has brought comfort to the afflicted, it's brought courage to the weak, it's brought a sense of spirituality into personal lives,” said Beerman.

The students were interested in religion’s place in the world and in individual life, and its role in the Middle East, said Egyptian-born Maher Hathout.

"I notice that they are engaging in a very healthy way. They are not watering down issues. They are asking serious questions. But somehow it's coming from a background of openness and a touch of innocence,” said Hathout.

History teacher Michael Roffina said Flintridge Preparatory is a private institution, and teachers here are willing to discuss controversial topics like religion, something that does not happen often at public schools.

“A lot of schools might shy away from this because religion is such a hot-button topic. I also think that some schools would find it much more convenient to just have these three speak,” said Roffina.

But through two days of events, these students probed and interacted with the speakers.

Episcopal clergyman George Regas said he and his colleagues have worked together on interfaith projects for more than 30 years. He said the three share a friendship and a passion for social justice, something at the root of all of their traditions.

"It's not a very common thing that a Jew, a Muslim and a Christian could really be very much tied together over all those decades, and really care for each other and support each other, and differ with each other strongly, but with understanding and compassion,” said Regas.

The students learned something about religion, said 12th grader Vanessa Lieu.

“I think that all religion stems from a basic human conscience, and we can all relate to that,” said Lieu.

The interfaith dialogue delivered an important message, said student Brandt Rohde.

"I think it was, mostly just break down barriers, and everybody needs to work for peace, for acceptance and tolerance and peace,” said Rohde.

These students say the exchange gave them insight into the bonds of affection that can foster understanding across faiths.

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid