Peace of Abraham, Hagar, & Sarah: Sacred Seasons, Fall 2006-07

ReNewing a Book for Rosh Hashanah: "The Tent of Abraham: Stories of Hope & Peace for Jews, Christians, and Muslims"

In 2004, as religious animosities worsened around the globe, I joined with Sister Joan Chittister, a world-renowned Benedictine nun, and Murshid Saadi Shakur Chisti (Neil Douglas-Klotz), a Muslim Sufi who has written a remarkable series of books on Aramaic, Gnostic, and Sufi spirituality --


You can order the book and get a 20% discount from the regular price by going to --   and inserting the word "tent" (with no quote marks) when it asks for a code.

We sent the manuscript to Karen Armstrong. She was so excited by the book that she wrote a Preface for it.

It was (June 2006) published by Beacon Press and won an enthusiastic "Starred Review" from the Library Journal. That review and others are below.

As we once again approach Rosh Hashanah and prepare to read once again the troubling stories of the expulsion of Hagar & Ishmael from Abraham's family and Abraham's binding of Isaac for an offering to  God, we might see this book as a spur to deeper spiritual reflection on these stories.

The review just below appeared on the Web in August 2006. As you'll see at the end of the review, it especially praises the "fascinating" last chapter of the book, "Why Hagar Left." It does not mention that this chapter, and an essay on "How to Pitch the Tent" –- suggested approaches for how to bring together an interfaith gathering in depth, connecting in all Four Worlds -- are by Rabbi Phyllis Berman.

Mourners' Kaddish in Time of War and Violence



[Jews use the Kaddish to mourn the dead, though it has in it only one word -- "nechamata, consolations" – which hints at mourning. And this word itself is used in a puzzling way, once we look at it with care. As we will see below, it may be especially appropriate in time of war.

[The interpretive English translation below may also be appropriate for prayers of mourning and hope in wartime by other spiritual and religious communities.

Interfaith Fast to Make Peace in Iraq

Dear friends of all faiths and communities,

If you want to sign on to the Call for the Interfaith Fast, please write to and explain what religious congregation, organization, or community you are working with. PLEASE ALSO SIGN UP AND DESCRIBE THE EVENT YOU ARE PLANNING, BY CLICKING TO --


Shalom, salaam, peace –
Rabbi Arthur Waskow


Dancing or Denouncing in the World-Wide Earthquake: Jews and Muslims

Dear friends,

For a YouTube video about the Muslim-Jewish event described here, see --

Sometimes the earth on which we stand begins to shake, uncontrollably. We can respond with measured concern, even fear, and reach out for help to each other; or we can respond with panic and rage against anyone we think might be responsible for the earthquake. We can try to grab on to some "immovable" strong point - or we can learn to dance, with each other, in the earthquake.

Why Do We Need a Tent of Abraham?

Reopening the Tent of Abraham

Rabbi Phyllis O. Berman and Rabbi Arthur O. Waskow *

The world is falling helter-skelter down a steep incline toward a fatal cliff: an endless world war between the whole Muslim world and the West, or perhaps the United States. A war between the different families of Abraham.

Sometimes it seems we are already over the edge of the cliff, but perhaps, God willing, im yirtzeh hashem, inshallah, not quite yet. Barely.

Such a war would leave us all at constant risk of death, impoverishment for all public and many private goods, ridden and riddled with fear and rage. Write large – write "global" -- the tip of Manhattan on September 11, 2001; the city of Baghdad all of June, July, August, 2006; Qana on July 30, 2006; Kfar Giladi on August 6.

Healing the Planet: Major Phila Inquirer feature article

Philadelphia inquirer, Oct. 7, 2006, p. B-4
By Kristin E. Holmes
Inquirer Staff Writer
[With dramatic photos of the wounded earth and with photos of Rev. Edgar & Dr.  Syeed, this article took more than half the page.]
Religious leaders will gather in Philadelphia tomorrow to discuss global warming, and to recognize special days in several religious traditions.
"Sacred Seasons, Sacred Earth: An Interfaith Call to Reflect and Act" will consider what believers can do to temper the effects of climate change that organizers call a "crisis of global scorching."
"We felt that 'warming' was a term that is too pleasant," said Rabbi Arthur Waskow, who will moderate a panel discussion at tomorrow's event. "It's not honest. The heating is not some kind of benign warmth. It's dangerous."

Faith-based climate care: Phila Inquirer Editorial

By - Philadelphia Inquirer, Editorial
Tuesday, October 17, 2006 - Web Link
October 17, 2006
Historians and scientists may someday tell us whether New Orleans was, in fact, the first city destroyed by global warming, as some believe. They're vigorously studying whether rising sea surface temperatures contributed to the wrath of Hurricane Katrina.
Regardless of their conclusion, the lesson is clear: Natural disaster hurts most those least able to cope with it.
Katrina could be a harbinger of things to come. Without mitigation, rising global temperatures are expected to cause ferocious hurricanes, tornadoes and floods; spawn heat waves, drought and famine; and prompt the spread of disease-carrying insects.

An Interfaith Plea to End the 'Global Scorching'

Philadelphia Jewish Exponent
October 12, 2006 - Rachel Silverman

[Photo] "Sacred Seasons, Sacred Earth: An Interfaith Call to Reflect and Act" attendees join hands for peace outside the Arch Street Friends Meeting House

At times, the headlines are dominated by images of inter-religious strife. The pope vs. the Muslims. Jews against Arabs. The religion-based tenor of the war on terror.

But on Sunday afternoon, leaders of various faith communities gathered in Philadelphia to say in one voice: "We must repair the world."

Drawing a diverse crowd to the Arch Street Friends Meeting House, "Sacred Seasons, Sacred Earth: An Interfaith Call to Reflect and Act," offered a daylong inter-religious program on halting environmental degradation and other forms of "global scorching."

Abrahamic Events for Global Healing

Events to mark the convergence of days were held in Maryland, Washington, California, Florida and elsewhere. They were initiated by The Tent of Abraham, Hagar & Sarah, a national network of Jews, Christians and Muslims, with the help of the Shalom Center

Celebration of Two Books
Philadelphia, PA, Thursday, November 16 at 7:00 PM


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