Brothers support interfaith discourse at Yale
On Sunday, two of America’s foremost religious leaders, Imam Mohamed Magid and Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, came to speak at the Slifka Center for Jewish Life at Yale. The talk was sponsored by Jews and Muslims at Yale, an undergraduate organization dedicated to sustained dialogue and raising awareness of issues facing Jews and Muslims today. With many brothers interested in interfaith dialogue, the Alpha Epsilon Pi was well-represented at this Sunday afternoon lecture in the middle of midterm season.
Rabbi Telushkin presented a compelling message for Judaism, one of ethical monotheism. He argued that being religious is more than acting ritually; it is about acting in the ethical manner described in the Torah. To illustrate this point in light of the lecture’s focus on interfaith dialogue, Rabbi Telushkin provided the example of a gentile who once asked Hillel to convert him on condition that he be taught the entire Torah while standing on one foot. Hillel replied, “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the entire Torah; the rest is commentary. Go and learn.” Rather than turn the gentile away, Hillel practiced openness and a general acceptance of his fellow man. Hillel teaches that ethical behavior is the essence of Judaism while the rest of the Torah serves as a guide in interpreting what it means to live an ethical life.
Rabbi Telushkin argued that God, like any parent, does not want all of His children to be exactly the same. From this point, he extrapolated a larger acceptance of other faiths and stressed the importance of truly knowing and understanding members of different communities. He thinks it important that governments be secular while individual leaders remain guided by ethical principles found in religion and faith in God. He believes that this type of political organization will facilitate interfaith cooperation and a peaceful society.
The Brotherhood will certainly benefit from this lecture. The guides of Brotherhood are all found in the ethical monotheism of the Torah. It is important that as a community will live every moment practicing the tikkun olam and acceptance described by Hillel.