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Annual Interfaith Fellowship Day

We started off the month of February by attending the annual Interfaith Fellowship Day on Monday morning at the La Villa Banquet Center on Brookpark Road in Cleveland. On this day a panel of representatives from various faiths each addressed the topic, "Life After Death; What does Your Faith Believe?" for a few minutes. These panelists were Reverend Dr. Rena Baker from IMG_7575Church Women United (Protestant); Rabbi Jordana Chernow-Reader from Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple (Jewish); Dr. Ramez Islambouli from Uqba Mosque (Islam); Dr. Devi Gursahaney, M.S.W.; M.Ed from the Shiva Vishnu Temple (Hindu); Sister Juanita Shealey (also a Ph.D) from the Congregation of St. Joseph (Catholic); and Dr. Gurdass S. Dass from the American Sikh Council. The program was coordinated by Ms. Surayya Ahmed, VP of the Executive Council of the Islamic Center of Cleveland.

What impressed us the most about the program was how similiar these faiths were in many ways. For instance, they all seemed to agree that people should concentrate on living the best life that they can here on earth instead of dwelling on the hereafter. For us, this was a very reassuring message and we La Villa feeling very positive and upbeat. Along these lines, we talked to Dr. Mansoor Ahmed, M.D. for a while about the advantages of getting adequate sleep at night and physical exercise in order to prepare oneself to realize one's potential.

We arrived earlier and got to meet Dr. Bashir G. Ahmed, President of the Islamic Council of Ohio who journeyed from Dayton to be with us. Our mutual friend Ms. Julia Shearson of CAIR told us that Dr. Ahmed has done a lot to promote peace in Palestine and Kashmir so we were pleased to make his IMG_7561acquaintance.

Another person that we talked to was Ms. Marty Bergman, of the Swedish Community, who remembered us from our attendance at the Lucia Festival in Highland Heights. We told her about Ms. Nadia Jensen's presentation about Greenland at the Danish Sisterhood on Sunday and Ms. Bergman said that she was very sorry that she missed it but was happy that Mr. Gerald Kramer, her good friend who was once stationed in Greenland, was able to go.

The designated project for 2016 that would be the beneficiary of the money donated here was the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. In fact, we sat right beside its representative, Ms. Charlene C. Torbert, an Outreach Specialist. We spoke to Ms. Torbert for a few minutes about the special services for immigrants who are the victims of sexual violence.

IMG_7563Speaking of immigration, we talked about the services provided by Margaret W. Wong and Associates to people who have immigrated to the United States with Ms. Charlotte Bull of the First Baptist Church of Greater Cleveland. When we told her that Ms. Margaret W. Wong immigrated here, herself, Ms. Bull said that this was very important because no one can address a problem or situation like someone who has had a similar experience because only such a person can speak with both empathy and sympathy. Thus, unless a person has been through the experience of immigrating to a strange land, he/she can only sympathize with what the immigrant is going through but a fellow immigrant can empathize too because he/she has been through the experience.


Written by:

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC.


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