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Panel :: Panel Discussion around Abrahamic Table - Sacrifice and Selflessness

Raleigh : 09-25-2016

In this special gathering, our distinguished speakers were Rabbi Leah A. Citrin from Temple Beth Or, Rev. Chris Furr from Covenant Christian Church, Moulana Manzarul Islam Al-Azhari from Islamic Association of Cary. Theme was "Sacrifice and Selflessness" in Abrahamic Religions.

Venue: The Institute of Islamic and Turkish Studies - NC (IITS-NC)
Address: 1391 SE Maynard Rd. Cary, 27511
Date & Time: Sunday, Sep 25th, 2016 at 3pm

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.


Rabbi Leah A. Citrin, Temple Beth Or
Born and raised in Rye Brook, New York, Rabbi Leah Citrin was ordained in 2015 by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Cincinnati. There, she also earned her Master of Arts in Hebrew Letters. Before rabbinical school, Rabbi Citrin earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Educational Studies from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. She then taught sixth grade language arts and social studies at Windward, a private school for students with language-based learning disabilities. As the Assistant Rabbi at Temple Beth Or in Raleigh, North Carolina, Rabbi Citrin shares pulpit, pastoral, and educational duties with Senior Rabbi Lucy Dinner. In addition, Rabbi Citrin has curricular and Judaic oversight for our supplementary Religious School serving students from the age of 4 to 18.
Abstract:
As Jews around the world prepare for the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, they also prepare to hear the public reading of Torah, the Five Books of Moses. Specifically on Rosh Hashanah, the new year, Reform Jews read the story of the Akeidah, the sacrifice of Isaac by his father, Abraham. Through this encounter, Rabbi Citrin will explore the teachings Judaism shares about sacrifice and selflessness.


Rev. Chris Furr, Covenant Christian Church
Rev. Chris Furr is a native of Wilmington, North Carolina. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he graduated with a BA in Religious Studies in 2002 and Duke University Divinity School, where he received a Master of Divinity degree in December of 2005. He was ordained to Christian ministry in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in 2006. Rev. Furr served churches in Burntwood, England and Alexandria, VA before coming to Covenant Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Cary in October of 2014. Throughout his years in ministry, Chris has also served as a member of the Commission on Ministry for the Christian Churches in the Capital Area, a member of the Board of Trustees for the United Christian Missionary Society and the Mental Health Research and Design Team for the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). He has also been in leadership for the Spring for Alexandria Community Service Day as well as Hunger Free Alexandria. Chris is an alumni of The Bethany Fellowships, a program for newly ordained Disciple of Christ pastors serving in congregational ministry. He is passionate about preaching, teaching and serving alongside those in Christian community to transform lives and communities. Chris and his wife Katie have two sons, Noah and Jude. In his spare time, Chris plays a little guitar and follows the UNC Tar Heels, Washington Nationals, Boston Red Sox and Carolina Panthers.
Abstract:
Selflessness and sacrifice are the heart of the Christian faith, modeled most clearly in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. As Jesus instructed disciples (and would be disciples) about what it would mean to follow him, he often described the cost that would come with it. “The one who would save his life will lose it, and the one who would lose his life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will find it.” Another man wanted to follow him, but wanted to go first and attend to the burial of a deceased relative. “Let the bury dead,” Jesus replied. "No one who puts hand to the plow and looks back is worthy of the Kingdom of God." Other stories, like the parable of the widow’s mite, encourage a wholehearted commitment to material sacrifice that many, particularly modern Christians in America, find difficult, if not impossible. Yet, what Jesus teaches his disciples is that true freedom and the deepest understanding of the self are found in the sacrifice of servanthood and in being shaped by the example of Jesus. This is part of the paradox of Christianity: that one “finds” one’s self by losing one’s self in the pursuit of Jesus; one becomes rich by giving one’s self away in love and service.


Moulana Manzarul Islam Al-Azhari, The Islamic Association of Cary
Manzarul Islam Al-Azhari holds a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Duke University and is currently the Imam at the Islamic Association of Cary, NC. He has ijaza in ifta from Darul Ifta of Egypt, where he specialized in hadith at al-Azhar University. He also holds a Fadil and Alim degree from the traditional madrasa system in India.

Abstract:
The word “sacrifice” can be understood as al tadhiya in Arabic language. Semantically, the word al tadhiya denotes various meanings. But the most valuable and most significant meaning of al tadhiya is conceived in selflessness and the selflessness means to avoid caring about any issues related to self. The idea of selflessness is clearly manifested in the Qura’n, statements of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, Sufi poets, and in the word of Sufi masters. In order to correct one’s own world and therefore, the world around the individuals, these sources of Islamic culture emphasize that the human being must focus on purification of their hearts. Purification of the heart could be deemed as any way that guides someone to the path of God. A famous statement of Sufi master is al turuqu ala Allah adada anfas al khalaiq, this means that there are numerous ways to reach God. Therefore, an Individual has to choose the path which guides him/her to God and this can be understood as sacrifice and selflessness in Islam.


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