NYU, Manhattan discussed on Weekend Edition Sunday


Used to not being together and it just sitting in their homes and listening and feeling like they're watching as opposed to participating imam so Hey are you normally serve at the Islamic center on NYU's Manhattan campus but because it's not been closed for almost a month you've also a transition to all online a can you just describe a little bit of what that's been like says well under their purview kind of NYU week we kind of were able to jump in front of everything especially being in New York City so we shut everything down early on as the rabbi mentioned we had everything already in place for kind of the virtual set up so I think what we learned from this is that people need more from religious institutions than just religion so we have a program on the arts we have a program for yoga I run either programs for use we have a thousand young people signed up in a thirteen to fifteen all demographic so it allowed us also to realize how valuable if you will of the mosque the synagogue in the church is in people's lives in ways that aren't explicitly spiritual so that's been something that we learned I think the second thing is being in New York City one of our colleagues mother in law died this week so so we've had to deal also with the blunt of people calling us and saying that they can't bury their dead because there's too long of a line to bury people at the Muslim graveyard and what do you say I mean we have to come in now as pastors ministers and then also explain to them religiously that that's okay right because there's this duality there's the loss and then there is this does the religion expecting now immediately to follow everything that the religion in astronomy bury people pretty quickly so walking them through the process that theodicy brings about mercy mmhm Jesse I'm gonna bring you in you were a pastor for eighteen years and now you had an organization that oversees over eleven hundred individual Hispanic congregations across the state of Texas which is a huge area you've been helping pastors through the steps of transitioning online I understand it it looks very different from where you're sitting then the two story suite we just heard that's correct the vast majority of our congregations are smaller congregations fifty and under on average on a Sunday morning the churches besides the pastor tend not to have any a part time or full time staff so although some were already practicing online streaming or video streaming their their services many of them this was not even on their radar so we've spent a lot of our time early on resource scene and helping and encouraging those pastors that in turn have to turn around and do the same for their congregations and just see also in the state of Texas governor Greg Abbott has deemed religious services as essential and that took people are encouraged to hold services virtually personal out together is that confusing two people and and also to pastors yes it was it was pretty clear before that announcement most churches war words Ording to to streaming and video and telephones but then when that announcement was made it made it sound as if the churches could convene if they couldn't do the live streaming but what they were actually referring to was permitting churches to do the drive in type of churches where they could drive it drive up into the parking lot and parking their cars and listen to those so I've actually seen they've done here in San Antonio and other communities where the mayors have had to have the sessions explaining that you know did did ours are not open for the churches to gather but unfortunately it was taken that way just because the churches were deemed essential river Rosenberg I want to come back to you because of course Passover starts this coming Wednesday and and just listening to specifically what imams who hate was saying about how religious organizations have to function on so many different levels but of course Passover is enormously important moment in the Jewish faith how is your congregation dealing with the fact that you all won't be able to physically come together this year I know in my congregation there's that initial sense of mourning that Passover is not going to look like what it has looked like in previous years we have moved our congregational seder over to the virtual platform so on the one hand I think people are trying to work through it I do know last night a group of us had met and we really talked about just as the imam had said how can we say to ourselves these aren't normal times and so maybe the rules that that always seem a little bit strict we have to relax them a little bit in order to allow ourselves to find that space to celebrate this holiday so where is we may not be utilizing technology on a normal Passover we're going to be using at this time so that we can can act and I'm sorry but it this is of course something that you're going to face as well Ramadan starts later this month that also consists of big family meals long nightly prayers and that doesn't seem like it's going to be possible for the foreseeable future what what do you advising or doing but I think also just kind of piggybacking on what the rabbi said you know religion has been dealing with this for for centuries and in most some tradition in particular the bionic plague is something that Waleed Egypt's wailing aid Palestine waylaid Syria so you'll find within our tradition these dispensations what we call dispensations and acts of worship and one of them is Ramadan you know for people who are actually sick they're not expected to fast there are other things that are happening so we're seeing people talk about B. Y. O. I bring your own iftar iftar as the dinner that people have when they break their fast and people would be virtually you know like say three four hundred people on zoom you're all looking at each other and someone makes the call to prayer and makes the supplication so it's an opportunity to see how churches synagogues and mosques and other houses of worship can really adapt in unique ways just as you know we're entering Holy Week the president has said in a press briefing early on that he'd like to get the country back to normal by Easter he's now walk that back I can imagine that got people's hopes up for a moment absolutely can Christmas and Easter the the highlights of Christian celebrations and I've heard pastors suggesting that Easter morning when they would normally gather at the church say six or seven o'clock in the morning to maybe step outside of their homes and sure prayer or do a prayer walk around their neighborhood so we're definitely exploring how we can continues to be the church which has been a constant message that we are the church not because we gather in the building or facility but wherever our presence is we should continue to minister and serve our communities I'd like to ask each of you know if there's a particular story or line in scripture or just something that you are holding on to that is helping you get through this difficult time and just I'm gonna start with you a second Corinthians nine eight to the god is able to bless you abundantly so that in all things at all times having all that you need you will abound in every good work and I think it's easy for us in these moments when there is a shortage of everything from a toilet paper to an eggs and milk to think that our lack might keep us from continuing to fulfill our faith but that promise allows us that no matter what the circumstance we can continue abound in every good work rabbi Rosenberg and our community what we've been drawing on as we prepare for Passover is just this notion of how we've been here before thinking about the story that we're going to be telling next week the story of our redemption an exodus from Egypt what were our ancient ancestors sitting there thinking on that night thinking when is this gonna pass when are we going to be free all of this anticipation and yet as they sat as they listened to Moses as they followed god you know eventually they found that redemption and so in that message one of the things that we have been saying is what is it that each of us can do some of that is as simple as stay at home and then from the confines of our homes just as we've been hearing from everybody else how can you reach out to others and then when we are all working together that's when we're going to help get ourselves through this which will very much feel like that redemption from what we're experiencing right now at this moment imams who have so when this happened I was you know lucky enough to see a large number of our congregants who actually working in the emergency rooms one of them bushel a tidy who was an elderly gentleman who lost his life serving people it's profound to see the extension of your religious faith exercise by your congregants if that makes sense in ways that are more powerful than perhaps I engage it theoretically you're intellectually to be awed by your congregants to to see the grace of god shine back at you and then there's this very beautiful prophetic tradition and that Muhammad said somebody who is acting as a a nurse or physician in today's terms as long as they are standing to serve the sick they are recipients of transcendent mercy so when I see you know these people really sacrificing their lives for us that that tradition really kind of has impacted me those imams who have web resident scholar at NYU's Islamic center in New York City Robert Wilkie to Rosenberg of United Hebrew congregation in St Louis Missouri and just even going as executive director of the comments about the study spina Texas in Texas thank you all so very much thank you thank you so much thank you this moment is hard listening to the news seeing the numbers worrying about your friends your family your coworkers knowing people who have become ill from covert nineteen nine people who died it's hard to this change and how we go about our lives losing work losing businesses losing that sense of familiarity and routine losing physical community all the things that are the guard rails of our lives gone for now broken.

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