Omaha, an interfaith mecca (you should pardon the pun)

Don’t look now, but Omaha, Nebraska is blazing a trail in interfaith relationships. The Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska, Temple Israel and the American Institute of Islamic Studies and Culture, have launched the Tri-Faith Initiative, and are planning to build a religious neighborhood which will house a mosque, a temple and a church plus a shared facility on adjacent properties.

Columnist Michael Kelly of the Omaha World-Herald describes the latest developments:

Much money needs to be raised by each faith group for the multimillion-dollar project. But architects are being selected and fundraisers are being hired.

Typical of the goodwill among planners is that the local American Institute of Islamic Studies and Culture has engaged Vic Gutman, who is Jewish, to help raise funds to build a mosque.

The focus isn’t just on the campus, which would include a shared fourth building where people of different religions could strengthen their own faith while learning about and gaining more respect for the faith of others.

As they have for the past several years, interfaith gatherings continue. More than 250 people are expected for a Passover Seder this week at St. Martha’s Episcopal Church, an event hosted by the Rev. Ernesto Medina. The ceremony will be led by Rabbi Aryeh Azriel of Temple Israel.

There will be 15 readers — five Jewish, five Christian, five Muslim. About 60 young people plan to attend.

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