Before the main event of the celebration commences, a table of refreshments of Turkish coffee and dates welcome all those who enter the social hall. Filled with persons from all walks of life, the social hall’s atmosphere turned from that of a large universal space to a Middle Eastern auzuma, which is Arabic for an “invitation to food,” similar to that of a gathering or party. And opposite to that of the weather, the celebration was a warming event that created a family-like environment.
This celebration of Eid Al-Adha was held on November 7th and hosted by the Saudi Club and ELS students with the support of the Saudi Cultural Mission in Washington D.C and DU’s Interfaith Cooperation Committee. It was held not only to mark the end of the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca (the Holy Land of Islam), but also to observe the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) [SAW] to obey God’s command by the intended sacrifice of his son. Eid al-Adha means “Day of Sacrifice,” which represents Prophet Ibrahim [SAW] and God’s message of sacrifice.
Food arrived from a restaurant called, “Middle Eastern Flair” and was served by the people who brought the event to life. People were able to choose the food they wanted to try, sit down at a table where they could then intermingle and socialize in small groups that they probably wouldn’t interact with everyday, take in their surroundings, and inquire about the reason for the special occasion. Eating dishes that are not traditionally of our home cooked meals allowed for the opportunity for everyone to try different and new foods and experience another world unlike the ones we are usually exposed to.
The event was one of the Interfaith Engagement Series which permitted the Dominican University community to celebrate key holy days from various religious traditions. Through this celebration and the many others it has to offer, the community of different faiths Dominican embodies represents the commitment to respecting and cooperating with those around us of various faith traditions. Dominican exemplifies these differences through the lessons it has to teach us and mission it wills to instill in us. Because Dominican is open to everyone’s beliefs and backgrounds, it’s no wonder the University suggests and operates in a way where everyone is exposed to another’s traditions of faith in a constructive and hospitable manner.
To taste the foods of another culture is my favorite pastime and to talk with others about religion is my other favorite. To have this come together and celebrate Eid al-Adha for the first time fully, lifted my spirit to a level that increased my Iman (faith).
By Lauren Tocik, class of 2012
The Interfaith Engagement Series continues in the spring semester. Open to the public. All are welcome.
An Interfaith Break-Fast, February 29, 6-8pm in the East Dining Hall of the Priory Campus. What does fasting have to do with creating a more just and humane world? Join us as we explore this question from multiple faith perspectives. Hear from a panel, dialogue with others, and share in a simple meal of Haitian food with those who will be completing their 3 day Fast for Haiti. Free and open to the public. Donations welcome and will go to support Dominican’s on-going relief efforts in Haiti. Hosted by DU’s theology club and Interfaith Cooperation Committee. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by Feb. 22
March 21, 5:30p.m. – an experience of the Jewish Seder at Dominican University hosted by Rabbi Robyn Damsky of the West Suburban Temple Har Zion and DU’s Interfaith Cooperation Committee. Location TBD. RSVP to email@example.com by March 14.
Contact Matt Palkert (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information about the Interfaith Engagement Series
On November 1st, 2011, Dominican University looked like it had put on its finest tuxedo and was ready to host the World’s Fair…or something of the sort. The parking lots were filled and people flowed into Lewis Hall like they were coming to claim their winning lottery ticket. However, everyone was asking where the Chapel was.
The Chapel was about to be the venue where Dr. Eboo Patel was to give his lecture on interfaith cooperation. The students of Dr. Patel’s and Cassie Meyer’s class had an amazing “speed faithing” event immediately following the lecture. Being a part of this enlightening class, I was fortunate enough to be a part of the planning. And boy did it pay off! The Chapel could not have looked any better. Lights and balloons hung from the entryway, hundreds of chairs overflowed from the chapel into the reading room, and Chartwells put their finest catering skills to the test. The guests were left in suspense for what the night was about to entail.
When everyone took their seats, and seating was at capacity, Dr. Eboo Patel presented an inspiring lecture on the importance of interfaith literacy. Hundreds of people from different backgrounds, religious identities, and cultures attended, many of whom had never heard of interfaith.
Dr. Patel presented the audience with examples of how public opinion can shift in short periods of time. He gave an example of President Kennedy’s campaign at a time when Catholics were viewed unfavorably and the fear of a Church-State unification. Today, Americans view Catholics as one of the most favorable religions. Dr. Patel repeatedly exemplified the importance of interfaith cooperation and how it can directly relate to how one views another religion. Many Americans come ill-equipped with the skills to instigate a discussion outside their own religion. This is foremost, the reason for misconceptions about people of a certain faith, for example Muslims. Since the rise of terrorism and Muslim extremists, people have been skeptical about what the meaning of Islam is all about. Without knowledge of the world’s religions, it is easy to come to premature conclusions. He iterated, “only knowing the bad of something, how can one view it favorably?”
Our class put Dr. Patel’s presentation into action by allowing participants to engage in their own interfaith dialogue. Two rows of chairs were set up to face one another so that the participants could get lost in conversation with the person across from them. Every two minutes, one side shifted down a seat to meet a new acquaintance ready to conquer the next question. 70+ people joined in on this “speed faithing” event. I did not see one closed mouth. Questions like, “What do you value in your faith or non-faith? What is your idea of an ideal world? Is interfaith possible and how can it be accomplished?” were presented to the speed faithers. It was a huge success! People eagerly exposed their religious values and found that they were analogous with their new friends of different faiths. Laughter, smiles, and head nodding were non-stop.
45 minutes later, the event ended but the conversations continued into the halls. In this short time period we were able to organically equip one another for future interfaith dialogue. These same people who entered the room 2 hours ago unfamiliar or doubtful of interfaith cooperation were now pros in meaningful interfaith conversation – a huge step in eliminating misconceptions and skepticism. Such a simple thing, such a huge reward.
Large scale Interfaith cooperation is a vast reality in the near future! All that it takes is an open mind, motivation, and you!
by Brad London
By Dominique Finley ’14
Hello DU blog readers, and thanks for sharing another week with me.
Do not let the title of this post fool you, I will not be providing food coupons. Instead, I will try to feed your need for information and knowledge by telling you about the Hunger Banquet last Thursday.
On October 6, at the Priory campus, students, faculty, staff and people from the local community, ranging in all ages, came together to participate in this event where folks are served meals dependent on world ratios of famine. We all came together to answer the question, “what do we hunger for, a better world, an end to hunger?” I think we all have desires for changes in our world, and our own personal lives, but on this night, we addressed why one-billion people in the world are hungry and what we can do about it right now. It was a time for reflection and interfaith among everyone form all backgrounds, belief systems and values. Not only was there an opportunity for discussion, but there were numerous ways for everyone to respond to the call to action. For example though: Exodus World Service, the Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry, PADS, Feed My Starving Children, Building clean water sources in improvised countries, etc…
There is a global disparity of food, but also on a local scale, in Oak Park, River Forest and other nearby neighborhoods, people also go hungry and do not know where there next meal will come form. The Oak Park-River Forest Food Pantry was represented at the event. They provided a service and real life example for the attendees. Dominican has created pathways for volunteering and raising awareness about social issues in the community and the world. I feel the most valuable thing people took away about the evening; learning and sharing it with others is what gives words meaning and impact. It was a busy couple of weeks leading up to the Banquet with planning, but it was well worth it. Until next time!