Then on Wednesday September 22, Rabbi Dr. Rachel Mikva, CTS’s Interim Dean and Professor of Jewish Studies, convened Zeenat Rahman, the Executive Director at UChicago’s Institute of Politics, Nikki McDaid (Shoshone-Bannock), a doctoral student in Learning Sciences at Northwestern University working at the intersection of land-based education and Indigenous resurgence, for a conversation entitled: "Environmental Justice and the Climate Change: The Role of Faith" as part of Wednesday Gatherings.
In addition, one of the customs of the holiday is ushpizin, extending hospitality not only to the living but also to those who have gone before us. We invite significant spiritual ancestors to “dwell” in the sukkah with us, focusing on one each night. Traditionally, it was Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, and David. Of course, contemporary tradition has added Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Leah, Miriam, Deborah, and Ruth. So we invited members of the community to send in the names of ancestors they wanted to honor in the sukkah this year as well. Names and notes about the ancestor were hung on brightly colored paper in the sukkah for all who enter to read and reflect on.
On March 30, 2021, we were joined by national speaker, New York Times writer and Daily Beast columnist Wajahat Ali for our annual Spring Lecture. Almost 100 people engaged in a lecture entitled: "Invest in Hope (But Tie Your Camel First...) A Practical and Spiritual Look at Confronting our Multiple Crises"
The evening included a hysterical, poignant and inspiring keynote by Wajahat Ali, the awarding of the Rabbi Herman E. Schaalman Interreligious Leadership Award to Jeff/Lisa Simpson, powerful spoken word by Adarah Hale, an interreligious reflection by CTS graduate Shelby Perez and a robust conversation between Ali and author/former CTS president Susan Thistlethwaite.
WAJAHAT ALI is a new kind of public intellectual: young, exuberant, optimistic, and funny. And though today’s doomsday headlines report growing division and racial strife, Ali hasn’t given up on his vision of a truly multicultural America—free of hate, fear, and bigotry. With refreshing honesty and humour, the New York Times writer and popular political commentator shows us how we can come together as a “multicultural coalition of the willing” and drive lasting social change.
On February 18, the IRI co-hosted a dynamic spoken word event: BLACK VOICES OF TRANSFORMATION. It featured artists from diverse spiritual communities express socially conscious messages through poetry, music, and comedy.
Artists included: Adarah Hale, Jason Williams, J.Kwest, K-Love, Maggie Brown, Obbie West, Preacher Moss, Emcee'd by Tasleem Jamila.
200 people joined us on Zoom! It was a powerful and moving evening of Black voices. This event was co-hosted by Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago's A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement in partnership with the American Islamic College. Inner-City Muslim Action Network, Interfaith Youth Core, Silk Road Rising and Young Chicago Authors were also partners in this program. We are grateful for these partnerships!
Panelists included: Jihad Turk(moderator) - Bayan Islamic College; Petra Alsoofy - ISPU; Aliya Husain - Illinois Muslim Civic Coalition; Salam Al-Marayati - MPAC; Dr. Rukhsana Chaudhry - AMHP; Wa'el Alzayat - Emgage. The YouTube link to watch the event is found here: https://youtu.be/CD9z--V0gWM
Trentaz was joined by Michelle Lang, with her moving, artistic piece, "The Guitar Section" as part of her larger "Art of Tough Talks". This launched our day and really got us talking! Other presenters included Uzma Jamil, Fellow of Muslim Studies at IRI, Rachel Brown, Executive Director of OverZero, Rabbi Menachem Cohen, Mitziut Jewish Community, Nora Gaines, Adjunct Professor of Africana Studies and Organizer and Trainer with Chicago Regional Organizing for Antiracism, Sana Syed, Inner-City Muslim Action Network, Dr. Miguel De La Torre, Professor of Social Ethics and Latinx Studies at the Iliff School of Theology, activist, author. This was our first event fully integrated with our online community.