We’ve moved!

The Multifaithworld blog has moved to the Web site of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. Our new address is: www.RRC.edu/multifaithworld Please visit us there, where you can subscribe to e-mail updates and RSS feeds of our blog and other RRC bloggers.

This site now serves as the archive for entries we posted prior to December 2010. When you perform a search here or on the new blog, entries from this archive and the new site will show up in your results.

 Thank you for your support. I look forward to reading your comments at our new home.

Our rabbinical college, RRC, launched a new website this week, MostJewish.com. In addition to a light hearted game exploring Jewish identity, the website also includes a blog with room for more probing explorations. The editor of the blog, Rabbi Deborah Glanzberg-Krainin, launched the conversation with a post on being a Jew at Christmas. A wonderful dialogue has already begun.

One of the rabbinical students, Amy Loewenthal, responded with her reflections on Christmas in light of her recent experience of interfaith learning with Christians as part of her rabbinical training. Here are some of her thoughts(slightly edited.) The whole discussion of Christmas can be read here.

Our Jewish-Christian Chevruta class (RRC and Lutheran Theological Seminary of Philadelphia) had a transformative discussion of Christmas.

A number of the Lutheran seminarians commented on their despair over the commercialization of Christmas and the pressure to spend money in non-meaningful ways. Discussion followed about the spiritual meaning of Christmas and the possibility of re-emphasizing the spiritual over the consumerist message.

I heard from them that Christmas is a time of hope for new possibilities. This flows easily into my Jewish symbol system … It is easy to become discouraged and turn cynical, to the point that the terms “peace” and “justice” are only buzz-words. But here is a celebration, with clearly pagan/seasonal foundation, that strives to bring light at the darkest time of the year, to disrupt pessimism and self-absorption.

The specific celebration is clothed in Christian imagery,  but zooming out of this specific frame, it’s a great time of year for people to instill in each other a sense of hope, even a sense of the possibility of something quite unexpected, a profound change for the good.

Coming to this understanding has eased much of my resistance to what has felt like “the onslaught” of Christmas….Knowing that many Christians want to redeem and re-emphasize the spiritual meaning of this holiday is gratifying to me. Finding a common basis of the holiday — a celebration of new, even radically new possibilities for good, and a renewal of our resolve to work to bring good to the world — is delightful to me and makes me want to celebrate too!

I’d say I’m beginning to get the Christmas spirit!

Amy Loewenthal
RRC ‘12


Last week, I was able to share a 500 word statement of my beliefs on local public radio, WHYY in Philadelphia. The audio is available here and the text here. Thanks for your comments!


On Friday, October 8, we welcomed author Willow Wilson to our Mutlifaith Salon. Wilson read from her new book, The Butterfly Mosque, a spiritual memoir that  chronicles her conversion to Islam and her subsequent marriage to a young Egyptian from a traditional Muslim family. 

Our salon participants included students and professors from colleges such as LaSalle and St. Joseph’s; seminarians and faculty from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and Lutheran Theological Seminary; local clergy and laypeople from a variety of faith traditions.

All participants enjoyed her insights and observations as well as her openness, honesty and approachability.

We have just posted the syllabi  from the joint course that RRC offers with Lutheran Theological Seminary of Philadelphia (LTSP) and Palmer Theological Seminary (PTS) on our Resources Page.   As well, there is information about Hevruta.  Please feel free to be in touch with Rabbi Melissa Heller for more information about these programs at:  mheller@rrc.edu

My husband recently joined a group of American law professors who are responding to the Park51 controversy by “putting their money where their principles are.” Rather than just issue a statement, the three law professors who organized this initiative decided to raise funds to show their support for the endeavor. Amazingly, a letter of support signed by 219 professors of law accompanied a collective pledge for $18,000.

The professors are hoping that this initiative will receive wide press coverage. In the meantime, you can read the letter and list of signers here. LawprofsforPark51