Pacifica Institute hosted an Interfaith Iftar Dialogue Dinner on May 31, 2018 to celebrate the holy month of Ramadan with the community. The event started out with a performance from John Erlich, a former jazz guitarist and composer who played the ‘Oud’, a traditional stringed instrument used in many middle eastern countries including Turkey.
Following that, the distinguished guest speaker of the evening Dr. Sophia Pandya, a professor of Religious Studies at California State University Long Beach, gave a presentation on ‘The Art of Living Together’. She focused on how people can build relationships with others they may not be familiar with and how those relationships can influence changes around the world.
Another highlight from the evening was the ‘Whirling Dervishes’ performance of our young volunteers at Pacifica Institute. Sufi whirling is a form of Sama or physically active meditation which originated among Sufis, and which is still practiced by the Sufi Dervishes of the Mevlevi order. It is a customary meditation practice performed within the Sema, or worship ceremony, through which dervishes aim to reach the source of all perfection.
There was also a surprise video conf with Dr.Andrew Kille, a longtime friend of Pacifica Institute and a prominent advocate for interfaith dialogue in the community.
The event hosted over 150 people from across many interfaith congregations. Among the distinguished guests were also (in no particular order) Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith, Taylor Johnson from San Francisco FBI Outreach office, Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese, and Sarah Field from Jewish Community Relations Council.
After the event, one of the guests said: “A great night of breaking the bread together during the holy month of Ramadan! A Berkeley based talented musician! An upbeat song composed by Kevser Hanim from Ottoman era! Trilice ( an authentic sweet dish with milk). Was a night to remember. Great team of volunteers that I am always so proud of! Also, video conferencing with Andrew Kille was great!”. So true!!