NewGround Addresses 600 People at Los Angeles Religious Education Conference

On Friday, March 23rd, Rabbi Sarah Bassin addressed 600 Catholic educators as part of a panel entitled “Global Events/Local Events: Religious Perspectives of a Jew, a Catholic and a Muslim.” Father Alexei Smith, ecumenical and inter-religious officer of the archdiocese of Los Angeles convened the panel to help educators develop strategies on furthering interfaith cooperation. Panelists offered practical advice on how not to allow tensions in the Middle East to destroy partnerships. Rabbi Bassin noted NewGround’s unique approach to integrating conflict into our interfaith training.

“NewGround sessions are also designed to integrate conflict, not avoid it. My rabbinic training taught me that one of the questions we should ask when counseling pre-marital couples is “how do you fight?” Not do you fight. But how do you fight. Conflicts are natural…. The key is cultivating the skill set to handle them effectively and not let them derail the entire relationship. And NewGround is very attuned to that. The fellowship does take on Israel/Palestine… but only once strong relationships have been established- and in an American context. We’re not going to solve the conflict in the Middle East. That’s not the point of what we do. We do create leaders who can talk about conflict…. effectively… respectfully. Once fellows complete the program, they draw upon the friendships and networks they developed during the six months to help network existing Muslim and Jewish organizations.”

Sharing NewGround’s methodology with Muslims and Jews as well as other faith communities is an essential component of our strategy in providing thought leadership in the field of interfaith work. To learn more about the Los Angeles Religious Education Conference, click here.