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Shalom Quilt "peaced together" by Amy Smith being auctioned at Congregation Mishkan Shalom of Manayunk, Philadelphia, PA on April 6 to support the work of the Shalom Center.

Prophetic Voices Celebration
Religious leaders honored in Roxborough.

-- Nick Alpers

The Shalom Center in Mount Airy will host its Prophetic Voices celebration will Sunday April 6, 2008 at Congregation Mishkan Shalom, 1401Freeland Avenue, Roxborough.

This year three national religious leaders along with three local leaders are being honored. National honorees are Ruth Messinger, head of the Jewish World Service who built a multi-religious campaign to end the genocide in Darfur; Reverend Bob Edgar, former Pennsylvania Congressman, now head of Common Cause, who pioneered in bringing the National Council of Churches into much fuller dialogue and shared action with the Jewish and Muslim communities; and Dr. Sayyid Muhammad Syeed, Secretary General of the Islamic Society of North America, who has worked to bring somewhat insular American Muslim communities into partnership with the Jewish and Christian communities.

Three Philadelphia-area residents, who have also promoted multi-religious and multi-cultural efforts to bring about peace, justice and cooperation within their own religious communities and secular American life, will also be honored. They are Rabbi Rebecca Alpert, former Dean of Students at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, lesbian activist, author and academic who works for full equality of women and the lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender communities; Iftekar Hussein, Chair of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who strives for civil rights, liberties and respect for the Muslim community through teaching courses on Islam at synagogues and churches; and Beth Stroud, former United Methodist minister who was “defrocked” by the Methodist church for her vigorous presence as an out lesbian and who continues to lead by example by continuing her ministry as a pastoral assistant at the First United Methodist Church of Germantown.

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Shalom Center Founder and Executive Director, hails the work and commitment of all of this year’s honorees. “These prophetic voices have not only spoken out for peace, justice, and the healing of our wounded earth within each of their own families of the larger Abrahamic family; they have also reached across the boundaries between the traditions to partner with people from other communities in these efforts.”

The honorees are dedicated to increasing understanding and cooperation between Jews, Muslims and Christians and Rabbi Waskow says their work is particularly poignant during this time when stress and misunderstanding seems most entrenched among these groups. “God told Jeremiah to ‘Uproot and tear down, build and plant!’ Our honorees are doing just that with grace and authenticity. They truly are the prophetic voices of our generation.”

The Shalom Center located in Mt. Airy, is a progressive voice in Jewish, multi-religious, and American life that draws on Jewish and other spiritual and religious teachings to work for justice, peace, and the healing of the earth. Every two years the Shalom Center honors Prophetic Voices, contemporary thinkers, leaders, and voices of protest that follow in the tradition of the Biblical prophets. These are individuals who strike the balance between resisting what is oppressive and creating what is just, compassionate, and healing.

A luncheon with the honorees will be held at 1:30 p.m., with reservations required for a $360.00 donation. A program that is open to the public will run from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Tickets are $36.00 in advance and $45.00 at the door.

For more information and reservations contact Nick Alpers at 215-844-8494.

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