In promoting interfaith understanding and mutual respect, the Kaufman Interfaith Institute offers a broad range of programming (over 200 events/initiatives each year) that seeks to create a more inclusive and equitable West Michigan Community for persons of diverse cultural and religious/secular/spiritual identities.
The spirit of the Kaufman Interfaith Institute is represented in the cooperative programs held in the community to enlighten, inform, and promote inclusivity. These events bring together diverse voices and worldview traditions to find common ground, foster interfaith cooperation, and elevate individual experiences and stories.
Whether it is working with others in the community to host a healthy discussion about polarizing issues or organizing celebrations that welcomes all and encourages learning through differences, the institute has found great success carrying out its mission through these community collaborations.
We are honored to host two art exhibitions in our new office space, CHS 290. Both exhibitions focus on antisemitism, from the Holocaust to present day.
The Holocaust Unfolds, assembled by Detroit Jewish News Foundation Archivist Mike Smith, shows the history of what we now call the Holocaust as it unfolded on US soil. Clippings from the pages of the Jewish News and its predecessor, the Detroit Jewish Chronicle, show that Detroiters and Michiganders were provided with continuous reports about the atrocities taking place.
From Darkness to Light responds to the horrific shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. Artists from around the US and six countries created mosaics to turn outrage into action. Through their pieces, these artists tackle themes ranging from antisemitism and injustice to hope, resilience, and peace.
Both exhibits will be open for public viewing in CHS 290 every Tuesday and Thursday from 10:00 PM. to 3:00 PM from January 5, 2023 to February 15, 2023.
Click poster for more information.
Talking Together Initiative
Tired of the toxic level of polarization in the U.S.? Interested in talking with people whose perspective differs from your own in ways that stay constructive? We invite you to join us for a year focused on creating a culture of conversation rather than division.
The Kaufman Interfaith Institute, Padnos/Sarosik Center for Civil Discourse, Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies, and WGVU Public Media are pleased to partner for Talking Together: Strengthening our Communities through Conversation, a dialogue initiative aimed at interrupting polarization and investing in the principles of civil discourse and respectful conversation.
Each month will feature at least one structured activity for students, staff, faculty, and community members to engage in conversation with one another across differences in perspective, identity, and life experiences.
Building Interfaith Bridges: West Michigan’s Journey toward Principled Pluralism.
Interfaith efforts in our area were recently recognized by the Aspen Institute. On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of Aspen’s Religion & Society Program, they released a report titled, Building Interfaith Bridges: West Michigan’s Journey toward Principled Pluralism.
This study traces the beginnings of interfaith relations and the Kaufman Institute going back to the 1980s in Muskegon and in Grand Rapids. It also documents the development of Jewish-Christian-Muslim dialogues, the Academic Consortium conferences, and the various special years beginning with the Year of Interfaith Understanding, as well as the years which focused on Service, Friendship, and Healing.
We are excited that our local and regional efforts are being recognized by this respected national organization. Our Director, Doug Kindschi, was on a panel with other interfaith leaders including Eboo Patel, president of Interfaith America.