Category Archives: Events

Waking in Oak Creek screening and talk on April 29, 2017

The Groton Interfaith Council, in conjunction with the Groton Police Department, is sponsoring a showing of the film “Waking In Oak Creek”, a 34 minute documentary about a hate crime shooting in a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin, and the community’s inspiring response to the tragedy. The film will be followed by a panel discussion which will include Groton’s Chief of Police, Donald Palma and two people who are featured in the film.

The focus of the film and the discussion afterwards is how the town came together and learned about each other, working together to embrace their differences and to build a stronger community. It is the Groton Interfaith Council’s intention to also bring this focus to our community, as we welcome a large, new Shirdi Sai Parivaar temple this summer, and to continue fostering conversations in our town about our differences and our commonalities.

The event will be held on Saturday, April 29, at 6:30 pm. at the Groton Middle School Performing Arts Center, located at 344 W. Main Street in Groton. The event is free and refreshments will be served.

All are welcome, although there are parts of the film that can be disturbing to see, and it may be more appropriate for older teenagers and adults.

The Groton Interfaith Council, established in 2009, is made up of members representing various churches, worship communities, faith traditions and individuals in the Groton area. The mission of the Interfaith Council is to foster understanding, respect, justice and peace among people of various religious and faith traditions through worship, fellowship, education and service.

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Abrahamic Faiths Panel

Abrahamic Faith Poster

Speaker Biographies:

Rabbi Neal Gold – Speaking on Judaism

Rabbi Neal Gold

Rabbi Neal Gold has been the Senior Rabbi of Temple Shir Tikva since July 2005. He arrived at Shir Tikva with a wealth of experience after eight years as Associate Rabbi of Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick, NJ.

Rabbi Gold is committed to building and maintaining a Jewish Sacred Community at Shir Tikva. As he explains, “A Jewish Sacred Community is a community embodied on traditional Jewish priorities, including the study of Torah, performing Mitzvot, worshipping God and doing acts of kindness, social justice and peacemaking.  In that context, every individual is valued for the unique gifts that he or she brings and is encouraged to grow spiritually by discovering his or her special niche in communal life.”

The Rabbi has been involved with creating meaningful interfaith projects and is an active leader of the Wayland  Clergy Association. For many years, he served proudly on the board of the Ziv Tzedakah Fund and is a founding board member of the Kavod Tzedakah Collective.  He also serves on the Executive Committee of the Massachusetts Board of Rabbis and the President’s Council of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.

Rabbi Gold was ordained by Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1997 and graduated from Colgate University with a B.A. in Philosophy and Religion. He and his wife, Heidi, have two sons, Avi and Jeremy, both students at The Rashi School. Rabbi Gold enjoys fishing, writing, skiing, reading and highly amplified music.

Joseph T. Kelley, Ph.D., D.Min. – Speaking on Christianity

521_joekelley_finJoseph Kelley is Associate Professor in Religious and Theological Studies at Merrimack College where he also directs the Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations. He has served the college as Provost and Vice-President, and is a clinical psychologist. Kelley is the author of five books, including Saint Augustine of Hippo: Selection from Confessions and Other Essential Writings (SkyLight Paths Publications, 2010) and What Are They Saying About Augustine? (Paulist Press, 2014), and three other books in Christian theology. He and his wife Alina live in Methuen, Massachusetts, and enjoy their two adult children who have moved out of the house—mostly.

Celene Ayat Lizzio – Speaking on Islam

celene-ayat-lizzioCelene Ayat Lizzio is Islamic Studies Scholar-in-Residence and Co-Director of the Center for Interreligious and Communal Leadership Education (CIRCLE) at Andover Newton Theological School and Hebrew College

Ms. Lizzio is a Faculty Associate of the Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations at Merrimack College, a lecturer in Islamic studies at Episcopal Divinity School, and Co-Director of the Center for Interreligious and Communal Leadership Education at Andover Newton Theological School and Hebrew College. She earned a Master of Divinity Degree from Harvard Divinity School in Islamic Studies and completed a bachelor’s degree with highest honors from Princeton University’s Near Eastern Studies Department. Ms. Lizzio has published widely and has been recognized as a Harvard Presidential Scholar and a fellow in Religion, Diplomacy and International Relations at Princeton University, among other distinctions.

Ms. Lizzio has written numerous articles on themes related to interreligious relations, Islamic family law, feminist theory, women’s religious leadership, and Islamic Higher Education. Her recent publications include: “Religion, Gender, and Family Law: Critical Perspectives on Integration for European Muslims,” in Muslim Family Law in Western Societies, and “Women’s Leadership in North American Islam,” in Religious Leadership, as well as a study on women’s ritual purity in Muslima Theology: The Voices of Muslim Women Theologians. Her essays and editorials appear in a variety of publications including in Studies in Interreligious Dialogue and the Journal of Muslim World Affairs, and the Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Women.

9 March 2014 Panel on Christianity, Islam, and Judaism

abrahamicAll too often in today’s news, we are reminded of what appear to be stark differences among the faith traditions of the world. But, what about their commonalities, their similarities, where they intersect or overlap, what they share?

The Groton Interfaith Council is hosting a panel discussion to help us gain a greater understanding of the common ground between three of the world’s great religions–Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Often referred to as the Abrahamic Faiths, these three faith traditions share a common ancestry with the Biblical figure of Abraham held as the founder of all three.

On Sunday, March 9, 2014 from 5:00 pm until 7:30 pm a panel of 3 distinguished scholars will speak to the common heritage of these 3 faith traditions. Speaking on the Christian faith will be Dr. Joseph T. Kelley, Director of Merrimack College’s Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations. Speaking on Islam will be Ms. Celine Ayat Lizzio, currently a Faculty Associate at the Merrimack College Center for the Study of Jewish-Christian-Muslim Relations. Rabbi Neal D. Gold from Temple Shir Tikva in Wayland, MA will speak about Judaism.

This event will include a lively discussion among the three panelists as well as a question and answer time for the audience. it will be held at the First Parish Church of Groton located at 1 Powderhouse Road, Groton, MA. All are welcome and refreshments will be served.

The Groton Interfaith Council was established in 2009 and is made up of representatives of religious organizations and individual community members from the Groton area. The Groton Interfaith Council strives to meet its stated mission of fostering understanding, respect, justice and peace among people of differing religious and faith traditions through education, fellowship, service and worship. Some of the other events sponsored by the Groton Interfaith Council have included a Prayer for Peace Service on the September 11 Anniversary; a Breaking of the Fast celebration during Ramadan; Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on the Town Common; a celebration of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot; Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast honoring his birthday and his legacy of community service.

Please come join us for what we hope is an evening of great conversation and dialogue with the goal of enhancing our understanding of each other.

For more information please contact: Shua Arshad, Vice President, Groton Interfaith Council, or Judy Nauman, Secretary, Groton Interfaith Council, 978-808-4881, judy.g.nauman@gmail.com