This year Passover and the month of Ramadan will overlap – an occurrence that won’t happen again for 31 years. So Deena Grant and Aida Mansoor from Hartford International University for Religion and Peace decided to do something unique – blend two traditional meals into one. What emerged was a Model Seder-Iftar. In designing the special evening these colleagues had to navigate a host of constraints from food restrictions that honored both the Halal and Kosher needs of each community to negotiate the timing of when a meal could be served and what would be said during the ritual meal. The effort led to the creation of a unique Haggadah and more. Later in the episode, reflections on gun violence and faith from Pardeep Kaleka whose father was murdered 10 years ago in the deadliest attack on a Sikh Temple in the United States.
“I was uncomfortable…and part of interreligious engagement is sitting in that uncomfortably.”
To say that planning a Model Seder and Iftar was a learning experience would be an understatement. In this conversation, Orthodox Jew Deena Grant shares how surprised she was to discover many similarities between her tradition and those in Islam. For Muslim Chaplain Aida Mansoor, planning the dinner to be both Halal and Kosher was not so straightforward as she discovered that not all things kosher are halal and vice versa. But what was clear was the resonance of the redemptive, ancient story of Moses and persecuted Jews fleeing slavery. In this conversation with host Ambereen Khan, the two colleagues share what they learned about themselves and what it takes to negotiate shared spaces that honor differences, including the importance of being willing, at times, to be uncomfortable.
“We as a society need to understand what is in the soil of this country”
In this conversation with host Ambereen Khan, Pardeep Kaleka shares what he has learned about himself, how his faith has evolved, and how escalation in mass shootings demands a reckoning with the deeply held values of the nation. Ten years ago, a heavily armed man stormed the services at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, a Gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, just outside Milwaukee, killing Pardeep’s father Satwant Singh Kaleka along with five others. The brutality of the attack on a house of worship shocked the nation and galvanized faith communities to rally around their Sikh neighbors. The attack remains the deadliest act of anti-Sikh hate in U.S. history and was remembered at an anniversary event held in Oak Creek in August 2022. Pardeep led the commemoration, honoring his father and the other victims in a series of events including an interfaith service.