Abrahamic Reunion Panel Discussion in Boynton Beach & Lake Worth, Florida
by Rev. Chris Miller, US Coordinator
On a Monday evening, around 65 people including multiple local clergy from all Abrahamic Faiths came together at L’Dor V’Dor, a reformed synagogue in Boynton Beach, FL. The meeting was hosted by Rabbi Barry Silver, with organizational help from Ted Brownstein of the Lake Worth Interfaith Network, and covered a wide range of topics.
Sheikh Ghassan Manasra told the group of people from many religions that “When we are together, we can be stronger in connection with God – because each one is the bridge for the other to the way of God.” Rev. Shahabuddin David Less, Rev. Dr. Anna Less, and Rev. Chris Miller all spoke on behalf of the Abrahamic Reunion, while Rabbi Barry Silver, Ted Brownstein, Bassem Alhailabi a local Syrian Professor at FAU.
Rabbi Silver mc’d, posing questions and moderating through the event, letting each speaker on the panel share who they were and why they came to that event. In a wide-ranging discussion, people at the gathering voiced their support, qualms, and their own ideas for making peace in the Holy Land, the Middle East, Syria, interfaith projects in the local area, and other collaborative opportunities arose.
David Less introduced the work of the Abrahamic Reunion, Sheikh Ghassan spoke of the need for religious peoples to know each other and to work together, and Rev. Dr. Anna Less led a meditation sending peace to people all across the planet.
Prof. Alhalalbi shared that “No matter how much you intend to do good, intention is not enough you have to do good works. And the name of the game is fairness”
He then told a story about two brothers. The brothers shared the same room, the same bed, the same parents, and the parents loved them equally, but they gave one son one piece of chocolate after dinner, and the other got two. Pretty soon what happens? They’ve created a fight. Between two brothers who love each other. We have to share fairly to create a fair world, said Alhalabi.
“The Jews, and Muslims, we are brothers, we are cousins, we are family, we have been separated for far too long by this family dispute, and I believe that when Jews and Muslims can show the world that Jews and Muslims can coexist in peace, we will establish as a fact that any two groups can get along,” said Rabbi Silver, our host for the night.
“Our father Abraham would be urging the kids to get along because fathers hate to see their kids fight. I’m thrilled to have this convocation here tonight,” he said.
Rabbi Silver was excited for the proposal to participate in another Abrahamic Reunion meeting, and we are in discussion for a follow up meeting in April or May.
Ted Brownstein pushed for further development. David Less said that if there was as much funding going into Coexistence and Peace in Israel as there was going into Israel to sell Coca-Cola, there’d be a much greater chance of changing the 13 million minds in the Holy Land.
Both Rabbi Silver and Emanuel Morel expressed concern that the Bible, Torah, and Qu’ran all have a significant amount of violence in their texts, but Pastor Morel shared in his opinion that “we must evolve, we must be able to say you know what, this is wrong, there is a better way.”
Emanuel Morel, Pastor of Lighthouse Ministries in West Palm Beach, shared a closing benediction. “One thing have I desired of the Lord that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his steps.” Rabbi Silver closed by leading the group in “We Shall Overcome.”
“I was deeply impressed by the level of interest, intelligence, and heartfulness of this diverse group of believers in peace and harmony among religions,” said Rev. Less.
We are deely grateful to Ted Brownstein (Lake Worth Interfaith Council) and Rabbi Barry Silver (who hosted us at L’Dor V’Dor Reformed Synagogue) for their deep support and inspired words.
This was the first meeting that the Abrahamic Reunion has organized near West Palm Beach, FL, with plans for future meetings in April and May.
Chris Miller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Press Coverage thanks to the Florida Jewish Journal –