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Panel :: Panel Discussion- Abrahamic Table: Art & Faith

Raleigh : 03-13-2016

The Institute of Islamic and Turkish Studies - NC (IITS-NC) hosted an afternoon of tranquility where the participants enjoyed presentations of faith and art around The Abrahamic Table on March 13th, 2016. In this special gathering, distinguished speakers of three faiths, Rabbi Ariel Edery from Beth Shalom, Barbara Longmire from St. Luke's Episcopal Church and Imam Nihat Fidan from IITS-NC presented how the faith in various religions shaped the art and vice versa throughout the history.

Rabbi Ariel Edery
Originally from Argentina, he was involved in Jewish life from a very early age. His father was a rabbi, his mother a Jewish teacher, and his brothers and Ariel himself were active members of Jewish organizations. Ariel Edery has a degree in International Relations and Humanities by the Hebrew College of Jerusalem. He obtained the smijah in the Hebrew Union College of Cincinnati and a Ph.D. in Hebrew Literature. Currently he is the Rabbi of Beth Shalom, Wake County, in North Carolina, and he lives with his wife Andrea, a teacher, and his sons.
Rabbi Edery will speak about music and art within the Jewish tradition. He will point some of the artistic elements around the synagogues, and how they are used to convey religious meanings; and then briefly speak on how music is used in synagogue and Jewish ritual.

Barbara Longmire
Barbara Longmire, MSN, is a retired nurse and clinical research administrator. She lives in Durham, NC. Barbara grew up in Raleigh, NC, in the Southern Baptist (Christian) tradition. She joined the Episcopal Church (ECUSA, part of the world-wide Anglican Communion) in 1979. She is certified by the School of Theology at the University of the South in Sewanee ,Tennessee, to be a Mentor in their Education for Ministry (EfM) distance learning certificate program. EfM is a four-year program covering Old Testament (Year 1), New Testament (Year 2), Church History (Year 3) and Theology (Year 4). Barbara mentors both a day and an evening group at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Durham, NC.
Many scholars point to the end of the first century and beginning of the second as the formative period of what we now call “Christian art”. In the intervening centuries, Christian art took many different forms, influenced in large part by the cultures into which Christianity spread. It would be difficult today to point to only one form of art as a representation of all Christian art. In our discussions we will explore some of the more prevalent art forms in our current American culture that reflect Christianity’s “art”, including stained glass windows, hymns, textile art, various Christian symbols, and icons.

Imam Nihat Fidan
Imam Fidan was born in 1967. After primary school, he got three years Islamic education from a private institution in Turkey. Then he started Religious Vocational High School in Turkey. He holds BA degree from Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt. He worked as teacher and at different administration positions in Azerbaijan for 11 years. Then, he came to US, and coordinated interfaith dialogue and inter-cultural relations in Ohio, San Francisco and Delaware, respectively. Currently, he works as Imam at IITS, Cary.
The term Islamic art not only describes the art created specifically in the service of the Muslim faith (for example, a mosque and its furnishings) but also characterizes the art and architecture historically produced in the lands ruled by Muslims, produced for Muslim patrons, or created by Muslim artists. During this event we will demonstrate as it is not only a religion but a way of life, Islam fostered the development of a distinctive culture with its own unique artistic language that is reflected in art and architecture throughout the Muslim world.

The Abrahamic Table Events: Three monotheistic faiths in the world (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) accept Abraham as the father of all nations. To honor Abraham with regard to the spirit of dialogue, the Institute of Islamic and Turkish Studies plans to hosts regularly a panel discussion program that brings community leaders and clergy from the three Abrahamic faiths to engage in a dialogue about the commonalities of and common issues concerning the Abrahamic communities over delicious food. Each speaker gives a brief interpretation on the given topic from their own background followed by a collective discussion over the topic. This event acknowledges the demand and importance for interfaith dialogue and the positive role it plays in society. Although this event represents Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, all religions are welcome to the table.

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