Jewish Star of David, Arab- Christian Cross and Crescent on the front of Beit Hagefen, Arab-Jewish Center in Haifa since 1963./Flickr photo by zeevveez

Humanities Washington, Jewish Family Services to host interfaith discussion

By Peter Houston-Hencken

Humanities Washington and Spokane Area Jewish Family Services have partnered up to bring in Antonio Davidson-Gomez to lead an interfaith discussion.

Davidson-Gomez is a member of Humanities Washington that specializes in fostering musical dialogue. The presentation will focus on Muslims, Jews and Christians in Medieval Spain. It will shine a light on the commonalities between these three major religions.

“Formerly a K-12 teacher, Tony has developed curricula for PBS and the Experience Music Project Museum/Smithsonian,” a press release said.

The presentation will be held on Thursday, Sept. 8. A dinner will be held beforehand at 6:30 p.m., with the presentation beginning at 7:15 p.m.

The dinner and presentation are free, but those interested in attending must register with Neal Schindler. He can be contacted at (509)-747-7394, or at director@sajfs.org.

The event will be held at Temple Beth Shalom, 1322 E. 30th Ave.

About Peter Houston-Hencken

Peter Houston-Hencken is a recent graduate of Whitworth University with a degree in journalism. Peter currently works for a background investigation firm but is passionate about freelancing on the weekends. Peter grew up as the son of a Presbyterian pastor. He feels strong in his faith and his commitment to Jesus Christ. He aspires to have a career in journalism and help people get more informed about the events in their communities.

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  1. Do you think the genocide being committed by the Buddhist in Burma http://www.amnesty.org.au/refugees/comments/35290/ or by Israeli’s in Gaza http://www.globalresearch.ca/disgustingly-biased-the-corporate-media-on-the-gaza-massacre/5393128 will be topics of discussion?

  2. Mary, you’ll have to come and find out!

    • Thanks but no thanks. In the thousands of years of Christianity, Judaism and Buddhism existence, they have yet to discuss how to stop religious ethnic cleansing and religious genocide on a serious level. Here’s the proof:



      These two (very real – very current) examples do not even represent the total sum of current crimes committed against humanity in the name of religion.

      It strikes me as bizarre, how individual members of these religions do not hold their religions accountable for ‘current’ acts of genocide.

      Why is that Neal?

      At least protest or, become better informed about what your religions are doing because, it negates any good you do; and brings everything you do into question. (as far as actual motivation for your doing good)

      People can no longer wrap their minds or hearts around an ideology that saves the lives of the needy on one hand, while taking the lives of millions on the other hand. It is either love all or love nothing. Anything less screams hypocrisy Neal.

      Thank you again for the invite but, I hardly think that your meeting will reverse thousands of years of hypocrisy, and set the matter straight, let alone discuss what all religious people should be discussing. More importantly, what they should be doing about it.

      Peace to you and yours.


      • Mary, I’m not sure how Buddhism entered the mix, as this event isn’t about Buddhism, but I get that you’re making a general point about atrocities committed “in the name of religion,” as you put it, and citing examples.

        “In the name of” is exactly right. No child was molested because that’s the truly Christian way. No innocents are murdered because that’s what the Buddha would want. Faith traditions can be twisted into dogmas and ideologies and used to rationalize all sorts of mayhem. That doesn’t mean the traditions themselves are irredeemable. And I know plenty of people of faith who are sharp critics of their own traditions and are working to better them — not just the faiths’ reputations, the actual faiths themselves — in short, to apologize to those harmed in the past and make a better, more inclusive future.

        Hypocrisy is unavoidable in larger organizations or movements (and in individuals; we’re imperfect). The urgent matter is keeping it, and harm to individuals and groups, to a minimum. “Love all” is an ideal, and a worthy one. It’s not as easy as snapping one’s fingers. Jesus advocated loving one’s enemy. A lot easier said than done, yet surely the key to lasting peace. And it comes from the Christian tradition. (Judaism advocates welcoming the stranger, and other faiths do, too.)

        Our event won’t undo history. I do think interfaith dialogue can correct misconceptions and increase understanding. That’s one small step for humankind, but 1,000 small steps, or a million, add up to something.

        I’d be happy to discuss all of this with you in person someday, if you’re up for it. I get that you won’t be attending our event. But I do think it has the potential to be very worthwhile for our communities, religious and otherwise.

        • Usually, during conversations of emotionally charged
          topics like religious genocide or child rape, someone will make the comment that, someone like myself, has an issue with religion. I don’t. I can readily see the beauty, truthfulness and necessity of all the major religions.

          But, I do pray that the barriers, blocking Gods love from shining even brighter in the world, will be removed.

          Neal, let me re-phrase my statements in a way in which I believe will reach you.

          If any Jewish community was experiencing ethnic cleansing, genocide or child rape would you want the world to know?

          Would you want the Jewish faith, and other faiths, to ban together and protest? Demand justice, and keep demanding and
          protesting until the madness stopped and the guilty were brought to justice?

          Or would you do nothing?

          That same question applies to members of Christianity and Buddhism.

          Can Buddhists, Jews and Christians remove the barriers preventing God’s love from shining brighter in their lives; as the Muslims have?

          Muslims, for decades, have had to suffer the terrible stigma of a small group of fanatic Islamic murders, and Muslims have had to deal with the Western world condemning the entire Muslim community.

          How have sincere Muslims dealt with this humiliating and weighty burden?

          The vast majority have ‘repeatedly’ separated themselves, renounced and condemned the actions of that small group of murders -publicly and loudly.

          Many Muslims are actively involved in bringing an end to the madness. Not so much because, it makes Islam look bad but,
          because they are allowing the love of God to flow through them and to shine brightly unto the world -through their actions.

          But, this sterling example set by the Muslims has, for the most part, been lost upon the other religions which, have members committing
          genocide, ethnic cleansing and child rape.

          The world has yet to hear the voices of billions of Catholics, Jews and Buddhist say or, do anything to stop the insanity being committed by members of ‘their’ religion.


          One reason is; far too many are enclosed within one-sided walls of information, and you are not even aware of what other members of your religion are doing.

          And the leaders of your religion; have not taken a stand for righteousness or, shared with you information about the atrocities,
          instead, many times they have been caught covering-up the truth.


          Is this what God wants them to do?

          If you are waiting for a message from God to come forth – from your individual religious organizations – a message that says “Do Something!” “There are crimes against humanity being committed by some of your fellow brothers and sisters in the faith!”

          If you are waiting to hear ‘that message’ come from your religious leaders, you might have a very long wait.

          Let me ask everyone on favs just one more question, and then I’ll leave.

          How much time and effort did you exert for gay marriage rights, trans rights, or any other causes you may be very passionate
          about in the last 5 years?

          But, I can’t get you to take action against the sins being committed by your own religious organizations? Or expose them, renounce them, and condemn their actions loudly and publicly?

          Do you need your message from God to be in bright neon lights?

          You won’t acknowledge and follow the example God has sent you through the Islamic faith.

          And you won’t listen to what I and others like me have to say.

          I think fighting to stop genocide, ethnic cleansing and child rape; committed by members of your religious organization; is as worthy,
          if not more so, as gay marriage, trans rights and all the other causes we fight for. And I’m positive God agrees.

          Don’t you?

          Deep in your hearts and minds I know each of you do want this madness to end. (now that you know about it) and I know it will bring much peace and joy to your spirits when you are courageous enough to allow your love to be bold like Gods. Speak out. Protest like you do for so many other righteous causes.

          Neal, click on the link below because, it relates to your group (not singling you or your group out) I just think you should know because, I believe you truly do care, and there is a chance that you and others like you will understand, and do what is righteous, not only for
          your communities but, for the entire world. This article is from 2014 but, the UN is still trying to bring attention to the genocide.


          Favs members: I hope Gods love, which radiates within your
          souls, guides you to do ‘Gods’ will, and not the will of any other.

          • The thing is, Mary, there are plenty of people in Jewish communities all over the world who have a sense of what’s going on in Israel/Palestine but see it as something other than apartheid, genocide, occupation, etc. It’s not that they are not “aware of what other members of your religion are doing.” It’s that their perspective differs from yours and that of many other Israel/Palestine activists who DO use “genocide,” “apartheid,” and/or “occupation” in reference to the situation, or even compare Israel’s actions to those of Nazi Germany.

            One difference in POV seems to be: Is the situation in Israel and Palestine extremely complex, or extremely simple? Is it an obvious case of oppressor/oppressed, or is it a tangled mess in which big, broad, and gravely serious terms like genocide can’t be applied accurately? These are important questions, I think.

          • https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/08/05/jewish-groups-decry-black-lives-matter-platforms-view-on-israel/
            This recent article indicates how difficult it is for many American Jews to hear the word “genocide” associated with Israel/Palestine, and how untrue most consider it to be as a descriptor of the situation.

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