A Piece for Peace: A smashing success!

Monday night saw Tanenbaum at the gorgeous Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, where we presented A Piece for Peace, a night of music and reflection.

The venerable Sir Gilbert Levine, famed conductor and collaborator with the late Pope John Paul II on "concerts of reconciliation" spoke powerfully at a special reception prior to the performance, explaining the importance of openness to the "other" in interfaith work, the connections between the universal language of music and peace, and his relationship with our namesake, Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum.

Sir Gilbert also introduced our performer, 16-year-old prodigy Conrad Tao, who dazzled a packed house with a program that included Bach, Debussy, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky and his own award-winning compositions.

Tanenbaum thanks everyone who was able to join us for this very special evening; special thanks go to our Event Committee, Adam Smith, Susan FIlan and Mary Jane Brock, and to our co-chairs for the evening, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, Kathryn and John Hart, Mona Aboelnaga Kanaan, and Richard Smith and Mirinda Page.

We'd love it if you'd leave us a comment letting us know about your experience. You can also check out some photos of the night.

Thanks again to everyone who made Monday night as wonderful as it was!

The Prodigy and the Maestro: Tickets Still Available!

Tanenbaum is proud to present an exciting event coming up this Monday, January 31st at the Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for music lovers: the New York City debut of an exciting young piano prodigy, Conrad Tao, preceded by remarks by internationally acclaimed conductor Sir Gilbert Levine.

Conrad Tao is an up-and-coming presence in the world of classical piano, and Maestro Gilbert a longstanding force in the music world who is sure to speak powerfully and eloquently.
Hailed by Musical America as "the most exciting prodigy ever," 16-year-old pianist Conrad Tao has already thrilled audiences across the U.S. and in the U.K., France, Russia, China, Singapore, Germany and South America. As a composer, Conrad is a seven-time consecutive winner of the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award.
Conrad will perform pieces from a diverse range of composers including Bach, Debussy, Chopin, Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky, in addition to his own compositions. He will be introduced by Sir Gilbert, also known as “The Pope’s Maestro” for his work with Pope John Paul II creating “concerts of reconciliation.”  Sir Gilbert will also offer remarks during a special VIP reception prior to the concert.
Monday night’s performance, titled A Piece for Peace, will showcase both the diversity within classical music and the universal power of music to move us beyond our differences, highlighting our common humanity.
Tickets are still available! Visit our A Piece for Peace page for more information, or contact Guirlaine Belizaire to purchase tickets.


Teaching Religion in the Secular Classroom: Tools from the New York Public Library

In our work at Tanenbaum, we regularly come across public school educators who believe that they are not supposed to talk about religion in the classroom. On the contrary, we feel that teachers can and should teach about religion.

In fact, the American Academy of Religion recently published its Guidelines for Teaching about Religion because religion is embedded in curriculum standards across disciplines, and religious illiteracy fuels prejudice and antagonism, hindering efforts at promoting respect for diversity, peaceful coexistence and global citizenship. Further, the U.S. Supreme Court has stated: “It might well be said that one’s education is not complete without a study of comparative religion, or the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization.”
That's why we feel it is heartening to see how many students have participated in The New York Public Library's "Faith on the Street" photography project, which is an off-shoot of its current exhibition, Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, now on display at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street.

Inviting the public to submit photographs of contemporary expressions of faith and religion in New York City to the "Faith on the Street" gallery helps to normalize the inclusion of religion in how we view ourselves and society. It is just this kind of practical application that we at Tanenbaum believe is necessary to work toward the vision that people of all beliefs, from the most religiously devout to the most committed atheist, can live, learn, and work peacefully together in a spirit of true respect.

“Faith on the Street” is a fantastic example of how religion and faith can be brought into the secular classroom. As a class assignment, the project can act as a catalyst to valuable classroom conversations and stimulating curiosity, by allowing the students to personalize the experience as they are the artist and witness to whatever they choose to photograph.

"Faith on the Street" is also a useful tool for teachers even if students don't go out to take their own photographs. Whether or not students submit their own work, it is certainly worth it for young people to view the gallery to spur conversations about the ways that religion and faith−broadly defined– appear all around us.

What’s wonderful about the gallery is that faith is interpreted in many ways. A couple of entrants submitted photos of their siblings and friends with moving captions explaining where the student saw faith in this. There is also a photo of Halloween as well as many traditional images of religion. Questions educators could consider asking after viewing the gallery could be: How do you see faith represented in this picture? What do people consider faith to be? What is considered religion? What faiths and religions were represented in these photos? Which weren’t? How do we see atheism and agnosticism represented in contemporary society?

It is imperative that educators and students are able to have conversations that include religion as an aspect of culture. The New York Public Library, through the Three Faiths exhibit and the “Faith on the Street” project, has provided a wonderful lens through which to explore these topics.

A version of this post has appeared on the NYPL website.

On Feb. 5, Tanenbaum, The New York Public Library, and Facing History and Ourselves will host a free educator workshop examining religious tolerance historically and in the contemporary classroom. The workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (registration begins at 9:30 a.m.) at NYPL's Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 5th Avenue and 42nd Street in Manhattan. Please RSVP at

Facing History and Ourselves will begin the conference by looking at religious tolerance in America’s early years based on a 1790 letter from George Washington to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island. Building on this, Tanenbaum will address current issues of religion and religious freedom in the classroom using our "Seven Principles for Inclusive Education." At the end of the workshop, participants will have an opportunity to enhance their learning by exploring the Library’s exhibition Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam.

Previously, Tanenbaum joined The New York Public Library for a panel discussion called "Teaching the Sacred in the Secular Classroom" held at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture on Oct. 26, 2010.


Give Bigotry No Sanction

The Religion and Diversity Education Program is in the midst of exciting planning meetings for an upcoming February 5, 2011 event for educators! We will be collaborating with Facing History and Ourselves and the New York Public Library for an educator's workshop on addressing religious diversity and tolerance, in history and today.

Facing History and Ourselves will use George Washington's 1790 letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, Rhode Island to examine religious tolerance in the early years of the American republic. This event is part of a multi-year Facing History initiative, “Give Bigotry No Sanction,” which draws upon this exchange to begin a public dialogue on the nature of citizenship, religious liberty, and equality in a democracy.

Tanenbaum will use our pedagogy, The Seven Principles for Inclusive Education, to provide tools for educators to address religion and religious freedom in their classrooms. Educators will workshop current issues of religion and religious freedom they are facing in their classrooms; gain a better understanding of Religion and the Law; and apply the day’s content to their own curriculum.

The event will take place at the New York Public Library, and at the end of the workshop, participants will have an opportunity to explore the Library’s Three Faiths exhibition, which explores the Word – quite literally – in a gorgeous collection Jewish, Muslim and Christian texts.

Stay tuned for new developments!


Religious Diversity in the Workplace: A Free Session in NYC on 3/18

Join us this Thursday from 6-8PM for a session on Religious Diversity in the Workplace: Accommodation, Discrimination and Understanding. Now is your chance to see Tanenbaum in action! 

Tanenbaum will co-presenting with representatives from the Association of Muslim-American Lawyers and the New York City Commission on Human Rights, and the session will be moderated by Fatima Shama, New York City Commissioner of Immigrant Affairs. We’ll be covering:

  • Preventing Discrimination in the Workplace
  • Public Enforcement of Anti-Discrimination Laws
  • Private Employment Discrimination Litigation

This session will be helpful for anyone in human resources, diversity and inclusion or management. We hope to see you there!

Download the flyer or RSVP to Caity Goodman.