Building Bridges and Battling Hatred

Building Bridges and Battling Hatred December 1, 2022

Hatred Captures Our Attention

Much of the world’s attention is often turned toward words of division between faiths, of hateful rhetoric and divisive action.

It’s easy to understand why – influential figures with hundreds of millions of followers have recently made headlines for divisive remarks.

Instead of building bridges between faiths and traditions, we focus on what divides us.

Faith, in all colors and creeds, shares more than just ideas and religious figures.

All congregations spread hope and light among the communities that they create and inhabit.

I always viewed faith as one of the many ways to build bridges between humans.

Growing up in Israel, where division was presumed, I realized the importance of serving as a bridge, seeking out conversations with people who are different.

I longed to discover the diverse people of my country and beyond.

 

Battling Hatred by Honoring Differences

Times like these urge us to remember not what is different between us, but what we share.

Beyond the scriptural commonalities that monotheistic religions share, or Buddhism and Hinduism’s shared acceptance of karma, dharma, and moksha, religion plays the same central role in all of our lives.

We must focus on which bridges we can create, which pathways we would like to traverse in our journey to discover the new, the unknown, our fellow humans.

Only by traveling across these bridges, reaching out toward the other, and battling hatred we can begin to unearth the core that unites us all – that of compassion, kindness, and good.

By building those bridges and battling hatred, not only will we realize that we all experience the same human experiences – grief, sadness, love, and laughter – we also learn to appreciate the differences that make us unique.

Cafe opening ,a place of interfaith bridges
Photo by Conner Burke

Ahmed Dairy, Bridge Builder

While our attention is often grabbed by hate-filled headlines, real stories of good, compassionate human beings are all around us.

Take, for example, the story of Ahmed Dairy, owner and operator of In-House Cafe in the Brighton Campus of 2Life Communities.

Dairy, born in Syria, is a devout Muslim catering to a predominantly Jewish community.

For him, battling hatred isn’t anything new.

He recounted times that he, as a young boy in Syria, would help the local Jewish community perform household tasks that they were not allowed to perform during the Sabbath.

His current work at In-House Cafe is a direct extension of his life as a builder of bridges.

He is a fixture in the lives of the mostly Jewish residents of 2Life, where his cafe is a gathering place for residents and visitors of all backgrounds.

Dairy’s story is powerful, but popular.

If we keep our hand open to hold and our heart open to listen, a moment of togetherness will lift our soul above the hatred.

Ahmed Dairy opening the In-House Cafe

I wrote this Morning Inspiration after an incredibly inspirational meeting of people of all faiths.

CONTAGIOUS HUMANNESS

I had the great fortune of spending a day with a unique group of people.

Each one of them proud of their origin.

They came together in search of commonality as a basis to better today and tomorrow.

Nor race nor religion, gender or status kept them apart.

A passion for hope and justice united them.

Belief in the human spirit in all its beauty caressed each soul, this was their faith.

Compassion and honesty filled the air.

Their contagious humanness lifted my soul.

Today and every day, let the faith of kindheartedness and thoughtfulness unite us all.

 

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