A Thanksgiving Letter from a Rabbi

Dear Friends;

At this holiday season, our thoughts are focused on the various meanings of the word "Turkey."

Rabbi Larry was blessed a few weeks ago with the opportunity to spend a week in Istanbul, Turkey. This came about through a special invitation from The Fountain, a journal centered on "Life, Knowledge, and Belief". It was a wonderful opportunity to learn from and talk with a variety of people from different religions, who are serious about their religion, and serious about improving the world. The Hebrew phrase is "Tikkun Olam" -repairing the world. It reflects that we all share the mission to use our ability in service to others and to leave the world a better place. Many of our Muslim friends use the term Hizmet (service) as the banner for their service to others.

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Welcoming the Other

(This is the edited transcript of the speech Bishop Stalsett delivered at the General Assembly of Religion for Peace, Vienna 21 November 2013.)

At this 9th World Assembly of Religions for Peace, we are here to address the human and spiritual imperative to welcome the other. Our arena is multi-religious cooperation through both words and deeds. At a time of rising hostility towards the other, we want to use the positive energy of face-to-face interfaith dialogue to achieve important goals, like protecting basic human dignity, and achieving equal citizenship and shared well-being for ALL people.

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We Mourn for a Lost Hero

The great Nelson Mandela passed yesterday, moving on to the next life. Mandela, of course, was not only the first President of post-apartheid South Africa, but also an exceptional human rights hero whose work for economic and social justice, in the name of love, won him the Nobel Peace Prize.

A great deal has already been written, and will continue to be written, about Mandela's enormous personal achievements. Despite twenty-seven years in prison, Mandela emerged not broken, but made whole. He came out seeking peace instead of vengeance.

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News of the Death of Mr. Mandela

I dance and I weep.

Like many of my contemporaries, I first heard about Mr. Mandela and the struggle against apartheid on my own college campus in the mid-1960s. Flyers, posters, rallies and 'teach-ins' educated us about the struggle to resist racial oppression, to respond to world-wide events, to actually become agents of change for humanity. His example showed how we could all participate on behalf of humanity and how personal leadership can effectively respond with moral authority. Over the years, many of them darkened by persecution, torture and inhumanity, we learned that one person-joined with others-can truly matter on the face of the Earth.

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The Fountain Was a Finalist in The Eddie & Ozzie Awards 2013 Last week, Katharine Branning's article from The Fountain, "Mixed Greens of Hope," was a finalist for one of Folio's prestigious Eddie awards. Described as the largest awards competition in magazine media publishing, the Eddies celebrate the best pieces of magazine journalism.

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The Fertile Intersection of Science and Faith

The debate over science and religion - whether they're compatible or whether they're irrevocably at odds with one another - has been waged for quite some time now. Some of the loudest voices - most recently in a Slate article by Jerry A. Coyne titled "No Faith in Science" - have been dogmatic in their adherence to the belief that there is no room in science for faith.

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