KI Interfaith Dinner Dialogue

[Archived from November 6, 2009]

Every year, Highlands Community Ministries sponsors an Interfaith Dinner Dialogue, at which representatives of six faith communities in Louisville make brief presentations about their faith’s perspective on a preselected topic.

This year’s gathering drew more than 200 people to Keneseth Israel on Thursday, October 29, to share a kosher meal and consider the topic, “What Is True Happiness?”

Johnny Alse, from the Hindu Temple, described three stages of happiness – worldly or impermanent happiness, mental happiness and spiritual happiness. The Hindu, he said, strives to achieve spiritual, everlasting happiness by becoming one with and totally surrendering the divine.

Rose Livingston, from the SGI Buddhist Center, explained the potential for “Buddhahood,” true indestructible happiness, exists in everyone, and each individual must create his/her own happiness by taking total responsibility for it, accepting whatever reality exists and looking at it as an opportunity to grow.

Rabbi Joel Wasser, from Congregation Keneseth Israel, explained that Judaism doesn’t really focus on happiness. He cited a few references to happiness in Jewish teaching and concluded that happiness can be found in connection to accessing the holy Torah.

Rev. Derek Penwell, from Douglass Blvd. Christian Church, said that Christian tradition teaches that happiness is being part of a community of friends in a relationship with God and a life lived according to Jesus’ values of love and service.

Dr. G.A. Shareef, the Education Committee Chairperson of the Louisville Islamic Center, stated that for the Muslim, life is to be spent working toward happiness, which can be earned by seeking peace and submitting to the will of the creator.

Rita Butler, from the Baha’is of Louisville provided an overview of the Baha’i religion then said her community seeks happiness through mystical experience. Spirituality, she said, is God’s greatest gift. Baha’is seek it through love and unity and by opposing war and hatred.

The Jewish Community of Louisville’s Community Relations Council was a cosponsor of this event.

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