Members of Keuka College's Interfaith Youth Core (above) speak last summer when they attended the national organization’s Interfaith Leadership Institute in Chicago.
Keuka College will celebrate World Interfaith Harmony Week, Feb. 1-7, with a variety of events. All events are free and open to the public.
Each day, a different religion will be highlighted, with a corresponding activity and presentation scheduled. A continuation of the work begun by the College’s Interfaith Youth Core, events for Keuka College’s World Interfaith Harmony Week have been funded with a grant the College received from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation.
“World Interfaith Harmony Week is about information, celebration, and building bridges of understanding,” says College Chaplain Eric Detar.
Keuka College will kick off the week Thursday, Jan. 31, with The Venerable Lama Tenzin Yignyen, an ordained Tibetan Buddhist monk, who will create a sand mandala in Lightner Library. Mr. Yignyen previously created a sand mandala at Keuka College in the fall of 2010. He will work on his mandala throughout the weekend.
Other activities throughout the week include:
- Friday, Feb. 1: Islam will be the featured religion, and members of the College community will celebrate National Hijab Day by learning how to tie a hijab, as well as how to write their name in Arabic from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in Dahlstrom Student Center. The celebration of Islam continues at 4:30 p.m. with a presentation on the Five Pillars of Islam, with guest speaker Rauf Bawany from the Islamic Center of Rochester. He and another member of the center will also lead both an afternoon and sunset prayer.
- Monday, Feb. 4: Members of the College community will be able to create a Buddhist prayer bracelet from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in Dahlstrom Student Center. Mr. Yignyen will dismantle his sand mandala at 4 p.m. On his previous visit to the College, the mandala was ceremoniously dismantled to symbolize the impermanence of all that exists. Members of the College and community took turns sweeping the sand into a container, and Mr. Yignyen poured the sand into Keuka Lake, so its waters would carry healing energies throughout the world.
- Tuesday, Feb. 5: The religion of Ba’hai will be featured with a presentation on what it means to be Ba’hai at 4:30 p.m. in Hegeman 109. Munir Ba’hai will lead the discussion, which will include the meaning of the nine-point star of the faith.
- Wednesday, Feb. 6: Members of the College community will learn more about Christianity, and the beliefs practiced by more than 2.4 billion people, including those who are Mennonite. Ivan Martin, who has previously spoken at the College about his faith, will present on “What it Means to be Mennonite” at 4:30 p.m. in the Phillips Lounge inside Dahlstrom Student Center. Mr. Martin and his family have lived in Yates County for more than 40 years.
- Thursday, Feb. 7: Judaism will be highlighted, as members of the College community can make a dreidel from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in Dahlstrom Student Center. In addition, Rabbi Ann Landowne from Temple Beth-El in Geneva will discuss what having a bar/bat mitzvah really means. Her discussion begins at 4:30 p.m. in the Phillips Lounge inside Dahlstrom Student Center.
World Interfaith Harmony Week was first proposed at the UN General Assembly on Sept. 3, 2010 by H.M. King Abdullah II of Jordan. Just under a month later, on Oct. 20, 2010, it was unanimously adopted by the UN and is observed the first week in February.