Friday, April 9, 2010

Bridging religions: 'Challenge of the 21st century'

NEW YORK - Rabbi Marc Schneier's Upper East Side office at the Foundation For Ethnic Understanding is relatively stark; a bookshelf here, an abstract painting there, and little hint of the outsized role he's played in bringing opposites together.

When he founded the FFEU 20 years ago, it was geared toward improving relations between the black and Jewish communities. Then three years ago, he switched to a much harder mission: Muslims and Jews.

"The challenge of the 21st century," he said in an interview, "is to narrow the chasm between Judaism and Islam."

So he threw his energies into meeting with the world's top Islamic leaders. In 2007, he hosted a summit of rabbis and imams in New York. In 2008, the FFEU began a yearly "twinning" weekend each November, when a mosque and synagogue in the same city would pair up, attend each other's services and begin the slow and cumbersome business of getting to know each other. (Read more - Washington Times)