Jewish tradition teaches that Abraham (pbuh) was not a preacher. He delivered his message through hospitality. His tent was open on all four sides to invite guests from all walks of life to enjoy his food, his company and that of his fellow guests, and in the process learn about the message of ethical monotheism. For years, I have found that the single most successful Jewish/Muslim dialogue events I have ever seen have taken place in my home around my Shabbat table. In an atmosphere of spirituality and fellowship, closed hearts open. Conversations that might not otherwise take place, suddenly become possible. Doubts and suspicion give way to respect and appreciation. I have brought this atmosphere to college campuses, in California, Toronto and Asheville, North Carolina.
Over the last few years, through social media, I have developed a significant following on the internet through a thriving interfaith group "Abraham's Tent" on Facebook and a twitter account @JihadiJew with close to 25,000 followers, mostly Muslim. In those online venues, I have helped to create a sense of spiritual community between Muslims and Jews.
Will this bring peace to the Middle East? Perhaps not today. But I believe Abraham's Tent is helping create the kind of community that can generate solutions to even the toughest problems based on our common values. I deeply believe that Faith is not the problem, but in fact, a large part of the solution.
This summer I want to take Abraham's Tent on the road. With a stop in Chicago and a road trip through the Eastern United States, I will host small gatherings organized by friends to explore with them the common spiritual heritage of Judaism and Islam. We will eat together, study texts together, sing together and simply hang out together. I am seeking funding to cover the costs of airfare, car rental and food. I am not seeking remuneration for my time or extra money for lodging. I am happy to stay with families and I hope that people will have a couch or bed to offer me as I travel this summer. That way I get to really know folks around the country, spend time with them and keep costs to a minimum.
As I travel, I will be creating a blog of my experiences on the road and sharing my reflections on the role of faith in repairing a broken world.
Please support this journey of peace. As a bonus, if you contribute $20 or more, you get a vote in where I go (Maybe to YOUR house.). Can't make any promises but I will try.
I look forward to meeting you on the road!
Risks and challenges
The big challenge of this project is the logistics. I have had lots of interest from potential mini-organizers but ultimately it will be up to them to get people together. Hopefully resources like MeetUp can help people get it together. Even so, meeting will very small groups and families might also be productive. Finding a route for the road-trip is a challenge. People are on vacation during the summer and figuring out where to be when will be a challenge. I am thinking it may require a lot of night driving and improvisation. All in all, I think I can do this and will look to my friends and supporters for inspiration and assistance.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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