out this project I've been working on!
How the Exodus Speaks
to Jews, Christians, and Muslims
An Interfaith Commentary and Passover
Exodus Conversations is a website that uses the Passover Haggadah as a springboard for a much needed Jewish/Christian/Muslim
dialogue. Ruth J. Abram, founder and former President of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and the International Coalition
of Sites of Conscience conceived and coordinated the project which is funded by the Luce Foundation and sponsored by the Interfaith
Center of New York. Participating scholars include, Mary C. Boys, Professor of Theology at Union Theological Seminary, Muhammad
Shafiq, Imam and Professor and Executive Director of Interfaith Studies and Dialogue at Nazareth College in Rochester, NY,
and Dr. David Arnow, author, scholar and lecturer on the Passover Haggadah.
Our goal is to promote understanding
among the three Abrahamic faiths, to highlight some of the similarities and differences among these religions, and to illustrate
the differences that exist within each tradition which are sometimes as challenging as those between religions.We have chosen
the Passover Haggadah as the impetus for this dialogue because of the importance of the Exodus narrative in all three traditions.
For Judaism it embodies the Jewish People’s founding narrative and the archetype for the struggle from exile to redemption.
For Christianity it provides a rich array of symbols that are central to understanding the life of Jesus. For Islam, the story
recurs throughout the Qur’an as an example of God’s standing with the faithful and downtrodden against the arrogant
and abusive. Beyond this, the story of the Exodus has inspired struggles for freedom around the globe.The dialogue takes up
issues raised by the text of the Haggadah and explores questions including:
· What are the implications of believing your
group is chosen or exalted by God?
· What is the status of women
in your tradition today?
· How does your religious community
handle issues of dissent?
· Where has your community fallen short
of its ideals in its relationship to members other communities?
How do we understand God’s rescuing role in history?
what ways does your tradition serve as a basis for countering oppression?
In addition to our three scholars’ responses to these and other questions, Exodus Conversations
includes a side by side comparison of the story of the Exodus as it appears in the Bible and in the Qur’an. To the surprise
of those unfamiliar with the Qur’an, this story recurs throughout Islam’s sacred text. Aside from a few minor
details, the Bible and the Qur’an tell much the same story. For Jews, Christians, and Muslims, Exodus Conversations
will serve as a tool for new understanding and appreciation of their own and other faith traditions. Its stimulating set of
discussion questions and responses by our scholars provide any group interested in interfaith dialogue with rich material
to explore year round. Any Seder, interfaith or not, will benefit from this fresh resource to enliven the experience and make
it all the more meaningful.