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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

First Annual Interfaith Dinner at UMass Boston


From left to right: Rabbi Kideckel, Rabbi Dolinger, Imam Eid, Father Helfrich, Chaplain Hawkins, and Safwan Eid




On April 3, the UMass Boston Muslim Student Association, Hillel, the Jewish student organization, and the Sojourn Collegiate Ministry held the first annual Interfaith Dinner in the third floor ballrooms of the Campus Center. The event was well-attended, with an audience of about 125 people.

The dinner consisted of five speakers from Islamic, Christian, and Judaic faiths. The clergymen talked about how their religions should look to their similarities, and not their differences.

Speakers included Brandeis Muslim chaplain Dr. Imam Talal Eid, UMass Boston Father Paul Helfrich, Temple Beth Torah Rabbi Earl Kideckel, Congregation of Beth Shalom Rabbi Barry Dolinger, Sojourn Collegiate of Ministry Chaplain Tim Hawkins, and Imam Suhaib Webb.

In addition to keynote speakers, students of the various faiths read passages from the Bible, the Torah, and Qur’an.

Hawkins said that the event was important because “presence becomes the heart of conversation.”

Dolinger commented that meetings with Jews and Christians is very important; “elements of the conversation can be uncomfortable.”

The audience also participated in the discussion by tweeting their thoughts throughout the dinner. These tweets were then posted on a projection screen for everyone to read and discuss.

Audience member Andrea Ngatia tweeted “[I] hope this continues every year.” Freshman Nolan O’Brien wrote that the attendees were having “such an important dialogue.”

Helfrich said that while all religions are different, “We [all] have convictions about what is right and wrong.” He added that all faiths must “respect others who have different beliefs than ourselves.”