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Building Bridges of Faith: U.S.A. 

We were delighted to welcome two more Japanese young adults into our group. They were studying in the USA and affiliated to the member groups in Japan whom we had just visited.

This time the group’s first experience was visiting a museum commemorating Jewish Heritage, specifically focusing on the Holocaust.

Andy Goldsworthy installation in the Museum's memorial garden (Statue of Liberty in background)

 

a Holocaust survivor listens to Jewish team members explaining a prayer

The group then spent time in St. Paul’s Chapel, close to the site of the World Trade Center. This has become a place of meditation for those visiting the site.

In the calm of the church, they prayed for peace & made more paper cranes. These were placed by a Jewish & a Buddhist young adult on the fence that surrounds the site.

Again the deep need was recognised to rescue humanity from violence arising from intolerance.

 

 

In the evening, the young adults really appreciated the lively Shabbat (Sabbath) service at West End Synagogue. This was led by Rabbi Ridberg, from the Reconstructionist Jewish community, a member group of IARF. She made it particularly memorable as she used a hand-held drum as accompaniment to the singing. The participants enjoyed being part of their Jewish friends’ celebration.

At the Islamic Center of New York, where there is a beautiful mosque, the group witnessed its rich tradition of prayer, and spent time with Imam Omar.

The places of worship of all three Abrahamic faiths in New York had been visited.

The Unitarian Universalists of America (UUA), which had also taken a leading role in promoting, organising & funding the Building Bridges of Faith project, introduced the non-Unitarians to a worship service at All Souls Church before proceeding to their headquarters in Boston. The group met with UUA President Rev. Bill Sinkford, and learned much of UUA & IARF history.

They visited the grave of the Rev. Dana Greeley in Concord, and could appreciate the pioneering role played by him & RKK’s Founder Niwano, who had met together & decided on a new vision for the IARF a generation ago. In today’s context of the continuing need for understanding of, and commitment to, religious freedom & interfaith harmony, this pilgrimage is one fruit of their vision.

Entertainment on the last evening of the tour in Boston:

A Japanese song

 

A Jewish dance, taught by Sam (in striped t-shirt)

Final group photo, at UUA headquarters

 


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