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Out & About in Cleveland

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Interfaith Fellowship Day

> There was a lot of snow in the early morning hours of Monday, February 2nd but we managed to dig ourselves, along with our car out of it, and drive on fairly clear freeways over to Executive Caterers in Mayfield Heights to attend Interfaith Fellowship Day which is organized each year by Church Women United. Ms. Illene Rosewater told us that she has been on its council for 32 years and has never seen it snow on the day of the event like it did on this day. There were quite a few vacant seats but probably 3/4 of those who had committed to come made it through the snowy streets.> > Ms. Rosewater explained that the goal of this organization is to put aside politics and learn about each other's faith. Each year a different topic is addressed. On this day the topic was "Getting to Know You Through Your Faith" and a prior one was titled "Myths and Mysteries of Faiths." Different faiths and/or different speakers are invited each year and today's speakers were Dr. Bhupinder Sawhny (Sikh), Reverend Carmen D. Cox Harwell (Presbyterian/Christian), Ms. Julia Shearson (Islam), Mr. Sudarshan Sathe (Hindu), and Rabbi Enid Lader (Jewish). > > Each speaker talked about his/her faith and all of them agreed on the importance of getting along and interacting with people even though they may not see eye-to-eye on religious issues. > > ***Rev. Harwell said that if God can tolerate all of us-the least that you and I can do is to embrace one another...we must tolerate, appreciate, and live peacefully with each other and by doing so we honor God. > > ***Ms. Shearson said that because of our creator, we owe each other dignity and respect. > > ***Father Hillinski said that God has called all of us to the light and provides us with eternal life. > > ***Mr. Sathe said that he believed that interfaith understanding is more important than ever and, at this time, we are really close to obtaining world peace and mutual understanding. But we need to accept that "my God is my God, instead of my God is the only God." > > ***Rabbi Lader quoted the Book of Salomon and said that it is good for all of us to dwell together. > > ***Dr. Sawhny said that interfaith is a group for religious peacemaking and to prevent future conflicts. Unfortunately we live in a world where good values don't get credit but selfish ones are glorified. Goodness is a first step towards happiness and success. One must find one's own morals and speak in a way to give oneself honor. > > In addition to the aforementioned speakers, a project is selected each year to receive freewill donations and a spokesperson for the project is given a few minutes to talk about it. The selection for this year was Family Promise of Greater Cleveland which helps homeless families regain their independence and its Executive Director, Ms. Joan Mazur, came forward and said a few words. > > Before the program started, we met Reverend Father Hratch Sargsyan, Pastor of St. Gregory of Narek Armenian Church in Richmond Heights. He told us that it is the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and his church is planning several events so we asked him to please let us know about them because we would like to go and Father Sargsyan told us that he certainly would keep us informed. > > We shared a table with Ms. Bennie J. Williams-Roper who is the President of Church Women United in the Cleveland area. Ms. Williams-Roper recalled that within the last several years they had a program which Ms. Wong was unable to attend herself but she sent several representatives from Margaret W. Wong and Associates and free copies of her book, "The Immigrant's Way" for everyone who attended the event and they were very much appreciated. > > By Monday evening the snow had pretty much tapered off so we decided to venture over to Mac's Backs-Books On Coventry in Cleveland Heights because an author would be there talking about his book. The title of the book was "American Cornball: A Laffopedic Guide to the Formerly Funny" and the author was Professor Christopher Miller who teaches literature at Bennington University in Vermont. > > The book deals with humor and what was funny in particular time period but has dated by now and what still gets a laugh. Professor Miller said that aspect of his research involved watching old cartoons and finding consistent devices that were good for a laugh such as fights within dust clouds and a ring of stars around a character's head after he has been clobbered. His book contains 200 examples of such devices. > > He attributed the fact that some things were no longer funny to world changes (we are not as familiar with murphy beds, castor oil, and chamber pots like our grandparents were) and attitude changes (a man wearing an apron and doing the dishes no longer signifies that he has been emasculated). > > We asked him about dated ethnic humor and racial stereotypes and Professor Miller told us that he certainly mentions it but in order to give it the discussion that it deserves he would have had to devote half of his book to it and he didn't want to write that kind of book; we think that he wanted give the reader an experience that would be a combination of education and fun. And he readily agreed with us that many of the racial/ethnic stereotypes of yesteryear were quite damaging. Professor Miller said that he would like to think that these things are unfunny today because we, as a society, grew up.

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