"36 Rabbis Shave for the Brave" was an initiative started by rabbis to build awareness and fund pediatric cancer research. However, over time over 60 rabbis have devoted themselves to this cause. One would find it ironic that a secular concept is being promoted through a faith based community. I would beg to differ, charity, social work, and the greater good are common concepts to all faiths. For the Jewish community of America, leveraging on charity and social causes is a great way of strengthening their social capital, and translating their values to hegemonic society. The Jewish community is well known for their institutional completeness, and I believe their strong dedication to social causes within their own community and the greater community are the leading factors to that. It would be uplifting to see other minority religious groups leverage their teachings of 'do good', 'charity', and 'collectivism'; this will help them break negative stereotypes, reach out to mainstream society, reduce misconceptions. This will also allow for groups to open up doors for understanding, interfaith dialogue, bridging, and bonding; allowing groups to learn and face each others fears, so that society can genuinely exemplify a pluralistic society.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/08/36-rabbis-shave-for-the-brave_n_4904058.html?utm_hp_ref=judaism
Alpha Lamda Mu, a new Fraternity in University of Texas has put a whole new definition to the lived social experience of a university student. Alpha Lamda Mu, also referred to as Alif Laam Meem is a fraternity started to integrate muslim students into the lived American university experience while simultaneously integrating values of their faith, Islam. I think this is a great move; American muslims feel a disconnect when it comes to 'Western culture' and their 'faith'. Not only that, but constant struggle and disconnected at an intergenerational level from their parents and their culture. The existence of a muslim fraternity can help young Muslim students find a place where they can develop themselves spiritually and culturally with like mind individuals. This move, for building faith based fraternities depicts the increase in institutional completeness Muslims are attaining within the Americas. I hope, it will not be far enough, that other religious groups can grow that level of awareness and social capital to also be presented in common 'western university life' to show that they too are common faces in the overal human landscape of the Americas. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/05/alif-laam-meem-america-first-muslim-fraternity_n_3865722.html?utm_hp_ref=islam
After several years of hate crimes against Sikhs due to 9/11 and the misconceptions people have had about Sikhs, the khalsa, and their practices. A group known as The Surat Initiative decided to host a Turban Day at Union Square in New York City. This initiative is a great way for the Sikh society to bridge relations with the rest of the community, while breaking stereotypes of violence and fear from themselves. I hope the Sikh community, alongside other communities coping with negative stereotype, work towards educating mainstream society of their traditions, the importance of certain practises, and building a bond of humanity within the grander community. This can help combat and gain voices against hate crimes as a whole.
The Embassy of Indonesia, in Washington DC was seen to erect a Hindu Goddess statue. Originally I was curious as to why a country comprising of mainly Muslims would choose a Hindu goddess to represent its embassy in the United States. However, Indonesia felt it necessary to represent all members of their society equally. After reading this article it was quite clear, that religious tolerance is necessary for fostering peace, acceptance, and growth within society. This movement that started in Indonesia is vital to the Americas; This strong interfaith bonding in Indonesia has led to interfaith dialogue within the United States. The cultural landscape has been redefined in the Unites States; with Saraswati, an Islamic Centre located near one another, it is becoming more evident that minority groups are beginning to be welcomed into the greater society.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alissa-stern/a-statue-grows-in-dc_b_3349274.html?utm_hp_ref=hinduism
As we all know, Dalai Lama is a Tibetan Buddhist leader. He has helped strengthen the Buddhist community, while developing social capital through bonding and bridging initiatives. the Dalai Lama fostered the Buddhist values of charity, non violence and a 'middle-way'. I believe this helped the Dalai Lama further his initiatives and receive a positive response from the hegemonic society. Recently, Dalai Lama was seen with Barack Obama negotiating ways to harbour positive relations between the Tibets and the Republic of China.Through this, the Dalai Lama is once again seen trying to strengthen his bridging social capital. This event also indicates how strong the social capital and representation has become for the Tibetan Buddhist community; they can expand their ties and reach out to various countries for support within another nation. I found it interesting that, how some of my religion course readings would point out the importance of expressing charity, peace, and other social values as such help gain positive response from mainstream society, the buddhist community is seen doing just that.
This article might seem rather lighthearted to a few, but for me it really seemed like a deep matter. It showed me that to be a multicultural society, or a pluralistic one, it isn’t necessary to turn to secularized views to help integrate everyone into one community and make them belong. This collusion of the two cultural festivals was a true visualization of just that. N belief had to assimilate into the other, or even compromise on their values and practices to assimilate with a 'status quo'. Both the Christian and Jewish communities were welcome to work together and be in harmony when celebrating what is dear to both of them. This also reminded me of my childhood in Canada. I remember a time when Eid, Hanukkah, and Christmas all fell around the same time of year. It was common tradition in public schools to hold assemblies where people would engage in carol singing, really getting in the Christmas festivities feel. But that time of year was different, the school and students would put on plays expressing who, what, how and why each culture or faith celebrates Eid, Christmas, and Hanukkah. Schools became the source of not only common literacy, but religious literacy. People of different faiths expressed their beliefs, educating society and making people feel welcome, rather than feeling forced onto someone. This also made me realize that maybe the ban in Quebec really isn’t the best solution for ‘moving forward’. It might be better to find ways to incorporate religious literacy into schools, whether it be through plays, assemblies, presentations, or even just allowing people to express their beliefs; that way we can all get along with one another without having to feel the need to hide our beliefs in order to belong.http://www.therecord.com/living-story/4195586-thanksgivukkah-a-meeting-of-two-holidays/
The Tri-congregational churches really give me an uplifting feeling about the changes soon to come in Canada due to this pluralistic movement. This strong community makes me look at life much more optimistically. Two Anglican, and one Pybestrian church have collaborated together to build a miraculous centre for the Christian faith. After reading the article on social capital and its importance, I thought of this church. Their collaboration together to work for a common cause has really outlined and exemplified what it means to have strong bonding social capital. There ability to bond several sects of Christianity under one roof allows for them to raise funds to help strengthen their community; not only through faith based activities, but also stuff like annual garage sales, seniors dinners, etc. This allows for the community to work together and be able to look at their commonalities vs. their differences. What really touched me was, as a minority myself I can easily see the importance of bonding social capital, and how maybe implementation of this sort is possible and quite necessary in both my cultural and religious communities. This will allow for my communities to be less divided, strengthened, and able to do more for both their personal communities, as well as the greater Canadian Community. It will also allow for them to generate more funds to support grand scale initiatives rather than wasting resources on similar initiatives run by several smaller groups. http://www.tri-church.ca/index.htm