Tag Archives: religion

SCJC Statement on Refugee and Muslim Ban

The Smith College Jewish Community (SCJC) stands in strong opposition to Donald Trump’s executive order banning Muslims and refugees from entering the country. This executive order, signed on Holocaust Remembrance Day, is a haunting reminder of our obligation as Jews to fight for the humanity of other marginalized groups and to open up our arms to all people seeking refuge.

The SCJC is committed to making our organization and our physical space of the Kosher Kitchen (on Paradise Road behind Jordan House) accessible, safe, and welcoming to all students, regardless of religion, nationality, ethnicity, or race. In the next few weeks we will be holding sessions in the Kosher Kitchen, open to everyone, where we will be contacting our representatives and strategizing tangible next steps. The first of such meetings will occur at 4-5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 2 and will continue every following Tuesday at the same time. Additionally, we will be brainstorming ways that we can be in active solidarity with Muslim students, faculty, and staff on campus.

And of course, every Friday night we celebrate Shabbat as a community. Everyone is always welcome to join us in a space dedicated to being inclusive. We invite any and all ideas for how to grow this resistance and strengthen our solidarity.  We will continue to respond to policies put forward by the Trump administration that exacerbate existing inequalities that violate our Jewish values.

— Smith College Jewish Community Board

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Understanding Quaker Worship

Sitting in an hour of silence might not be the typical way to spend a weekend morning. But that’s exactly what I did on Sunday at the Northampton Friends Meeting.

Quaker worship is based on silent waiting, with the expectation of coming into the presence of God. Worshiping in silence brings the community together through love and faithfulness.  During this silent worship, anyone may feel inspired to speak and share a message. While at the Meeting, I listened to people who rose to their feet and shared their story. Continue reading

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The Justice, Identity, and Social Change Initiative: Spiritual Life Meets Social Justice

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It feels like the World is burning. This is what Sensei Ryumon Baldoquin, Community Religious Adviser, said at our first “Peace Meal,” a gathering for dialogue and discussion of difficult problems. Certainly in the last few weeks, with the earthquake in Nepal and the rise in media coverage of racially motivated violence, it feels as if the world is burning.

The Center for Religious and Spiritual Life (CRSL) must be a force for quenching fires; because religious and spiritual life on a college campus is most relevant to the extent that it confronts global and social Issues head-on. The Justice, Identity, and Social Change Initiative are the center’s formulation of its strategy for bringing together the internal, contemplative life of the spirit; and addressing the urgent, immediate problems of injustice that plague our world.
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SWANS: Beyond Atheism, Agnosticism, and Religion to Spiritual Intersectionality

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The first week in February was the United Nation’s “Interfaith Harmony Week”. While Smith will be commemorating this week later on in the semester, this is a good time to begin to talk about the what and why of “Interfaith Harmony.” Three Smith students, board members of the  Smith Spirituality In Action  Group have just returned from Atlanta where they attended the leadership institute of the Interfaith Youth Corps. The IFYC’s mission is to build religious pluralism, which they define as as respect for  peoples’ religious and non-religious identities which elicits mutually inspiring relationships and common action for the common good. Continue reading

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Is God “One?”

Earlier this fall I read this story about a group of Muslims in Peshawar Pakistan who made a human chain outside a church where Mass was taking place, standing in solidarity with the worshipers when a nearby church was recently destroyed by suicide bombing:

As many as 200-300 people formed a human chain outside the St. Anthony’s Church adjacent to the District Police Lines at the Empress Road, in a show of solidarity with the victims of the Peshawar church attack two weeks back, which resulted in over 100 deaths. The twin suicide attack on All Saints church occurred after Sunday mass ended and is believed to be the country’s deadliest attack on Christians. Standing in the small courtyard of St Anthony’s Church, as Mufti Mohammad Farooq delivered a sermon quoting a few verses of the Holy Quran that preached tolerance and respect for other beliefs, Father Nassir Gulfam stepped right next to him after having conducted a two hour long Sunday service inside the church. Continue reading

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Smith Explores Model of Interfaith Cooperation

In the first year of my interfaith fellowship at Smith, I have used the idea of Interfaith Cooperation as a guiding principle, operating within the belief that college students both long for contexts to explore and develop themselves spiritually; but also are compelled by conviction and circumstances to interact with religious difference. Therefore one of my primary goals has been to try to develop and strengthen interfaith organizing and leadership among students. A group called The Interfaith Council has been meeting over the course of the academic year and now has a leadership board which is in the process of submitting a charter to become a recognized student organization. Continue reading

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Christmas as an Interfaith Holiday

Perhaps we can look at Christmas, as it is celebrated in the U.S, as an Interfaith Holiday, in that its rituals are not drawn from just one religious tradition.

Advent, the season that leads up to Christmas in the Christian tradition, is a powerful reflection of this interfaith dimension.In terms of the Christan calender, we are “leading up to” the birth of the historical Jesus. But in fact, the practices of Christmas, such as the use of evergreen and the lighting of candles, predate Christianity and are associated with ancient Pagan traditions that mark and celebrate the winter solstice.  Continue reading

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