Ramadan Iftar Dinner with members of Santa Monica Synagogue (August 10, 2012)
Santa Monica Synagogue and Pacifica Institute, two communities which have developed a deep friendship over the last couple of years, came together in their Los Angeles branch for a Ramadan Dinner. Pacifica volunteers greeted the guests with a warm welcome. Pacifica Institute Outreach Coordinator Mr. Ilker Yildiz started out the evening by greeting all the guests as everyone took their places around the tables. Mr. Yildiz expressed what a wonderful privilege it was to be hosting this dinner with Pacifica’s close friends from Santa Monica Synagogue. He pointed out the fact that Ramadan was a most wonderful opportunity to come together with close friends as they would be doing that very evening.
As the guests and hosts alike indulged in the delicious dishes adorning the tables, the melody of the friendly conversations lifted up from the tables as old friends caught up on each others lives. After Mr. Yildiz’s brief introduction of Pacifica Institute and its activities, he invited Ozgur Koca, Adjunct Professor in Claremont Graduate University, to the stage to give his presentation on Ramadan, the meaning behind the tradition. Mr. Koca expressed in a most striking way that Ramadhan was about “breaking the routine”, about seeing the miracles in our everyday lives, the small details we tend to take for granted. Ramadhan was about seeing life in a completely new and renewed light, as Mr. Koca said. He pointed out that fasting, which is a common practice among various divine faiths, gives the individual the opportunity to discipline the body and let the spirit, the soul blossom.
After Mr. Koca’s enlightening presentation, Mr. Yildiz invited his close friend Tim Bowler, a member of Santa Monica Synagogue for many years, to share his reflections of the evening.
Mr. Tim Bowler ended the evening with his remarks. Taking from Mr. Koca’s presentation he said, our meeting tonight “is breaking of the routine.” He said, “I hope that we have many more of these occasions and find new and better ways of communicating with each other.” He said that his next aim with Pacifica was to open a more personal line of communication where “individual families could meet with each other and get to know each other.”