• Welcome to all New Sikh Philosophy Network Forums!
    Explore Sikh Sikhi Sikhism...
    Sign up Log in

USA Interfaith Fellowship Day Speakers Build Bridges And Embrace Diversity


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
MAYFIELD HEIGHTS -- Building bridges and embracing diversity was an easy topic for the speakers at the Interfaith Fellowship Day on Feb. 7.

The event was at Executive Caterers of Landerhaven.

Illene Rosewater, planning committee co-Chair, said this was the event’s 56th year.

Topics have ranged from women in religion to miracles.

This year speakers from the Jewish, Sikh, Islam, Catholic and Church Women United faiths came together to talk about building bridges and embracing diversity.

Rabbi Zachary Truboff of the Cedar Road Synagogue spoke for the Jewish faith.

Truboff talked about embracing diversity in Judaism. He said the Jews have been seen as the other, or the stranger, in the communities they live in. He said the Bible teaches that life is sacred and valuable. Humans impose uniformity because they want everyone to believe and look the same, but every human being was created to be unique in their own way.

“When we see a rainbow, there are many colors, but we know they all came from one source,” Truboff said. “Hate is an inability to accept the other. We have all felt what it’s like to be different.”

Ratanjit Singh Sondhe, of the Guru Narak Foundation, is an author, writer, radio and television professional.

“I came from India and lived here for 42 years. I guess that should make me some sort of Cleveland Indian,” was how Sondhe began. Laughter followed.

He said the Sikh faith is only 500 years old and its message is for all of the human race: We are all one. He said we can sustain ourselves with other religions.

“God sent you in human form, and you mistook it as ‘you,’” Sondhe said. “Recognize the true ‘you’ inside. The supreme soul is present in you.”

Ramez Islambouli of the Uqbah Mosque spoke about Islam.

He said Islam arrived in 610 in Arabia with a simple message – worship God, believe and live an ethical life. He, too, said all of mankind comes from one source and everyone was created uniquely so that we could know each other and learn, help, work, support and accept each other.

“Embracing someone else is a reward and supporting others is a way of peace,” Islambouli said. “This is our land and our society. We want it to be safe, but that can’t happen until we accept and support each other.”

Church Women United represents several faiths including Baptists and Protestants. Reverend Gailann Herd, an associate minister at Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland, spoke.

She said people love each other through faith, and faith makes it possible to see beyond human characteristics.

Rev. Joseph Hilinski, director of interfaith relations for the Catholic Diocese, said religious communities are part of each other, but they are all distinct.

“We need to look at our lives and see this may not be the way we should be relating,” he said. “We can learn we need to open our eyes.”

Rosewater said she hoped the over 140 people who signed up for the event learned something.

“We hope they found it a pleasant experience to sit with people of different faiths and races,” she said. “For some people, this will the first time they do something like this. We hope they will see them as people rather than color or religion.”