Center for Interfaith Cooperation

Hoosiers of Many Faiths in Community

Shari Rudavsky: “A Jew, Christian and Muslim walk into an art studio…”

April 29th the Center for Interfaith Cooperation joined the Jewish Community Relations Council to host a showcase of a remarkable project for healing. Shari Rudavsky of the Indianapolis Star reports.

Shari Rudavsky
A Jew, Christian and Muslim walk into an art studio…
Indianapolis Star May 1 2015

Piece by piece, the mosaic came together — for peace.

mosaic 2During the past year and a half, about 4,000 people in Indiana and in a country half a world away painstakingly cut glass, matched colors and carefully affixed tiny tiles to the appropriate spots.

Next week, two out of the three panels of the Tree of Life mosaic will travel to Israel where they will join the third panel. Together they will hang in a new maternity wing of the Galilee Medical Center in northern Israel.

The hospital prides itself on serving a mix of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Druze patients in a country where people of different faiths do not often come together.

And the mosaic represents a shared endeavor that transcends religion, politics or differences of any sort. On one day, 30 girls from an Arab School visited the hospital in Nahariya to help tile; the next day, 30 girls from a local Orthodox Jewish school took their place.

mosaic 11

It all began in Indianapolis two years ago when artist Joani Rothenberg started an art therapy program for cancer patients, survivors and their family and friends at St. Vincent Hospital.

Learn more abut the mosaic project

Read The Times of Israel article, “The Galilee Medical Center A Microcosm of the Best Israeli Society Has to Offer

Joani Rothenberg has helped organize cancer patients and survivors to construct a mosaic at St. Vincent Cancer Care.

Barbara Bamberger, A Galilee Mosaic, Jerusalem Post March 27, 2015, p. 12

There, Rothenberg and others noticed a strange phenomenon: The people who participated found common ground no matter what their backgrounds.

“It’s great to see we can bring people together from all faiths, all backgrounds, all religions,” said Fuad Hammoudeh, executive director of St. Vincent Cancer Care, who was born a Muslim and is now Christian. “Unfortunately, cancer does that.”

When the head of the Galilee Medical Center visited St. Vincent about a year ago, he admired the first mosaic the art therapy program produced and asked for one for his own hospital.

Rothenberg, who lived in Israel for a decade, agreed. A grant from the Glick Fund of the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis helped get the project started.

From the start Rothenberg, thought a community mosaic would be a perfect fit for the hospital.

mosaic 7

“It’s a place in Israel where you see diversity, acceptance and multiculturalism, and I feel that peace is possible,” she said.

In the St. Vincent art studio, Jews, Christians and Muslims worked alongside one another to complete one of the panels. Rothenberg shepherded the second panel to Jewish communities across the Midwest as part of Partnership2Gether, which pairs American communities with Israeli ones. People of all ages, including about 500 Indianapolis preschoolers from the Jewish Community Center’s Early Childhood Education program, took part.

But the work held special meaning for those cancer patients for whom the art studio became a place where they could shed the mantle of being a person with a serious disease. Many had had no previous art experience and did not think of themselves as having an artistic side. One tile later, and they were hooked.

“I dropped in and never left,” said Judith James, a Northside resident who had breast cancer. “It was a support group without being a support group.”

Tmosaic 3he mosaic work inspired one participant, Fatema Amro, to create her own design, a portrait of her parents, who died three years ago within weeks of one another in Lebanon. At the time, Amro was undergoing treatment for breast cancer in Indianapolis.

After Amro discovered the mosaic project about a year and a half ago, she embarked on her own memorial to her deceased parents, Abed and Souad.

“Every time I work on it, I feel memories come back to me,” she said, “and I feel they’re really proud of me.”

Amro hopes to take the mosaic with her on her next trip to Lebanon and hang it in a mosque that her father helped to build.

While she has never been to Israel, Amro did not let Middle East politics dissuade her from participating in the Israel mosaic project.

mosaic 4

“I work on it because of the group, because I really like my friends here,” she said.

Mosaics work as an easy metaphor for people going through a trauma, tragedy or illness, said Risé Friedman, who started in the art therapy studio after going through treatment for breast cancer.

“What are mosaics? Broken pieces of glass,” the Northeastside resident said. “What happens to your life when you are given a diagnosis of cancer? It’s just like a mosaic — joining all of those broken fragments to make something beautiful.”

Call Star reporter Shari Rudavsky at (317) 444-6354. Follow her on Twitter: @srudavsky.

mosaic 8

Judith James lays tiles on a mosaic, during a program at the Indiana Interchurch Center, Wednesday, April 29, 2015. The work, by artist Joani Rothenberg and tiled by a very diverse group of people, will end up in a hospital in Israel

Judith James lays tiles on a mosaic, during a program at the Indiana Interchurch Center, Wednesday, April 29, 2015. The work, by artist Joani Rothenberg and tiled by a very diverse group of people, will end up in a hospital in Israel

More reports about events organized by the Center for Interfaith Cooperation

KP Singh’s remarks at the State Bicentennial Celebration

KP Singh’s remarks at the State Bicentennial Celebration

Many of CIC’s friends and board members were guests of Governor-elect Eric Holcomb and Vice President-elect Mike Pence at “Ignite the Future” … an interfaith …

Inaugural Indianapolis Sikh Day Parade

Inaugural Indianapolis Sikh Day Parade

Beards and turbans abounded on October 10 with the first Sikh Day Parade in Indianapolis. Governor Mike Pence was in attendance, and surprised CIC board member KP Sign with the “Sagamore of the Wabash,” the highest award bestowed by the state of Indiana.

“Fight ISIS by supporting Muslims in your community”

“Fight ISIS by supporting Muslims in your community”

Say David Carlson: “The Center for Interfaith Cooperation offers vibrant leadership and regular educational programming. Indiana Muslims are being invited to the houses of worship of followers of other religions more frequently now than ever before.”

Conversing with our Muslim neighbors @ Fairview Presbyterian Church

Conversing with our Muslim neighbors @ Fairview Presbyterian Church

eagerly anticipated event
On March 9th, around 80 people gathered at the Fairview Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis. The draw: Conversing with our Muslim neighbors

Reports from CIC’s Interfaith Lecture Series

Reports from CIC’s Interfaith Lecture Series

The Center for Interfaith Cooperation co-sponsored several events with Indianapolis universities as part of its Interfaith Lecture Series. Global Indy’s SPEA Scholars filed these reports.

Yoga & the Spiritual Trail

Yoga & the Spiritual Trail

Sophie Zinn shares her experiences leading a hike along the Spiritual Trail that focused on the practice of yoga

Punjab News Express on the Interfaith Banquet

Punjab News Express on the Interfaith Banquet

Indian-born and former student of Arts College in Sector 10, Chandigarh, Indianapolis-based renowned artist Kanwal Prakash Singh was conferred with the prestigious CIC Interfaith Ambassador of the Year 2016 Award … hometown boy makes good!

Sounds of Peace

Sounds of Peace

Sounds of Peace
On April 12th at the First Mennonite Church, members of the Nassim Al Saba and Peacebuilding choirs, joined together to perform unique and …

An evening of beauty in dark times

An evening of beauty in dark times

More than 165 people had their lives transformed by an evening of Arvo Pärt.

From the Interfaith celebration of MLK Day

From the Interfaith celebration of MLK Day

History was made with the 47th celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day at St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church with a grand interfaith celebration of Dr. King’s legacy.

Pagans host a Death Cafe — A reflection on life

Pagans host a Death Cafe — A reflection on life

Josh Hornberger gains a new perspective on life, death and pagans when he attends a Death Cafe

A Sikh reflects on the historic significance of KP Singh

A Sikh reflects on the historic significance of KP Singh

Hardarshan Singh Valia, one of the world’s most respected coal scientists, attended the Center for Interfaith Cooperation’s 2nd Interfaith Banquet. Dr. Valia reflects on the significance of KP Singh being named the Interfaith Ambassador of the Year:

An Exploration of Psalms

An Exploration of Psalms

“The Psalms are hymns of praise to God for his power and beneficence, for his creation of the world, and for his past acts of deliverance for Israel.”

Aarti Shah’s invocation at Statehood Day

Aarti Shah’s invocation at Statehood Day

“So, on behalf of the CIC a warm welcome to all of you and Happy 200th birthday to our beloved state of Indiana!”

Critical conversations at the Festival of Faiths

Critical conversations at the Festival of Faiths

One of the great new additions to the 2015 Indy Festival of Faiths were the Social Awareness Table Conversations: enjoyable and serious discussions of several of the most pressing issues facing Indianapolis and the world. They continued in 2016.

CIC hosts congregation emergency preparedness workshops

CIC hosts congregation emergency preparedness workshops

August 24th: The Center for Interfaith Cooperation hosted the first of a series of workshops on congregation’s emergency preparedness, organized by the Center for Interfaith Cooperation and Congressman Andre Carson’s office

George Kelley draws inspiration from the Interfaith Banquet

George Kelley draws inspiration from the Interfaith Banquet

“So to inoculate the world against the ignorant bigotry that is vomited at political rallies and draws this sickening behavior out of people I would like to challenge anyone reading this to do a few things. Some of which we were charged by KP Singh to do at the dinner.”

CIC’s community celebration of the Psalms

CIC’s community celebration of the Psalms

On April 24 Indianapolis witnessed the world premiere of the oratorio “Zabur,” a work by Mohammed Fairouz, widely considered the top composer under the age …

Collection from Pärt event delivered to Syrian families

Collection from Pärt event delivered to Syrian families

Five Syrian refugee families accepted money donated at the “Beauty in Dark Times” event … a sign that Hoosiers are eager to welcome them to Indiana.

Rob Saler on Beauty in Dark Times

Rob Saler on Beauty in Dark Times

Those who stepped into the basement of St. George’s Orthodox Christian Church in Fishers on a Thursday two weeks ago could be forgiven for experiencing a kind of visual shock at the assembly

Tags: , , ,

Leave your comment here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.