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Mitzvah Theological Discussion

Date of Event: March 06, 2013


by: Dan Ludwig


On March 6th at the Westminster Presbyterian Church (724 Delaware Ave), members of the Islamic, Jewish and Chr

istian faiths gathered to engage in a theological discussion regarding the common threads between the

three religions and how th

ose common threads can be used to bring about social justice.

The night began with a brief lecture by the event’s emcee, Tom Yorty, who began by discussing the term ‘credo.’  Loosely defined, credo can mean the ideas and principles that a person holds close to him or herself regarding his/her own faith. From there, the discussion broke into smaller groups, where members began discussing how their credo could be folded int

o the larger theme of social justice.

The night’s discussion was put on pause as the attendees enjoyed a robust meal provided by Karen Goodman Catering.  In the spirit of the evening, the food options included selections that were unique to each faith — the Islamic dish was a fruit salad that included grapes, papaya, coconut, mango, orange, pineapple, cornflakes and honey. The dinner, which reflected one dish from each fait

h, was an appropriate representation of the theme of the evening.
After the plates were cleared, Yorty expanded on his idea of social justice. For Yorty, social justice is not synonymous with the word tolerance – “it must move beyond tolerance,” said Yorty.  He went on to explain that Islam, Judaism and Christianity do, in fact, have several common threads. The most important of these threads is that all three faiths can trace their origins back to Abraham.
From here, the discussion broke into smaller groups, where attendees discussed ideas on how

to move beyond tolerance. Margaret Macleod, a member of Westminster elaborated on Yorty’s points, explaining that she views everyone, even those outside of her own faith, as a “child of God.”

The dinner and discussion on social justice was the third part of a four-part Lenten series that

the Westminster Presbyterian Church is hosting. Previous topics have included the role of music in worship and the newly enacted NY SAFE Act, which provides New York with the most comprehensive gun laws in the nation.