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Tanenbaum named 2018 Nissan Foundation Grant Recipient

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Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding named 2018 Nissan Foundation Grant Recipient

  • Nissan Foundation grant to fund “Combating Extremism and Promoting Respect: A Public Education Campaign” aimed at promoting critical thinking, conversation and reflection to address religious-based fear, misinformation and prejudice.

  • In 26th year, Nissan Foundation maintains its singular focus on recognizing nonprofits promoting
    respect among racial and cultural groups

New York, NY, July, 2018: The Nissan Foundation today named the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding as a 2018 grant recipient. The Nissan Foundation grant will help fund partnership building efforts to expand the campaign’s reach, including a public panel featuring experts and former members of extremist groups, as well as six new resources that counter extremist rhetoric, and promote connection, critical thinking and understanding for the diversity within our communities.

“We are grateful to the Nissan Foundation for supporting our Campaign to counter fear and misinformation with knowledge that fosters respect for difference,” said Mark Fowler, Deputy CEO of Tanenbaum, “This grant will help us build new partnerships and opportunities to extend the campaign’s reach and impact.”    

The Nissan Foundation’s 2018 grantees include 29 nonprofit organizations located in Southern California, North Central Texas, Middle Tennessee, Central Mississippi, Eastern Michigan and the New York and Atlanta metro areas. In total, the Nissan Foundation is awarding grants amounting to $730,000.

In 1992, Nissan North America formed the Nissan Foundation in response to the civil unrest that occurred near Nissan’s then U.S. headquarters in Southern California following the Rodney King trial verdict. Every year since, the Nissan Foundation has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars to organizations that offer educational programs that inform, inspire and celebrate diversity among the various cultural and ethnic groups that make up society.

Over its 26-year history, the Nissan Foundation has awarded more than $10 million to approximately 120 organizations promoting respect and understanding among cultural and ethnic groups.

It is a privilege to recognize the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding with a Nissan Foundation grant for the work it is doing to promote the value of racial, ethnic and cultural diversity,” said Nissan Foundation President Scott Becker, who is also senior vice president, Administration, Nissan North America, Inc. “The Nissan Foundation has a proud history of recognizing and supporting organizations making a real impact in this regard.”

The Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, founded 25 years ago and based in Lower Manhattan, offers programs and resources providing educators, physicians and corporate leaders with practical tools for addressing religious differences and creating cultures that respect religious diversity. It was founded in

1992 by Dr. Georgette F. Bennett, in memory of her late husband, Rabbi Marc H. Tanenbaum, a humanitarian interfaith leader.

Since September 2015, Tanenbaum has been responding to the further escalation of Islamophobia and other forms of hate that marginalizes religious communities in New York and beyond. Through a public education campaign called Combating Extremism, Tanenbaum creates and disseminates public education materials that address fear, misinformation and prejudice. These monthly materials provide thought-provoking resources to counter divisive rhetoric, promote critical thinking and spread greater appreciation and understanding of our shared values amid diverse religious (and nonreligious) beliefs.

Mark Fowler, Tanenbaum’s Deputy CEO added, “The Nissan Foundation has been a valuable partner in our work to create spaces in our communities for mutual respect and understanding. We are thankful for their continued support.”

Call for 2019 grant applicants

The Nissan Foundation will begin accepting letters of intent for the 2019 grant cycle in October with a submission deadline of Friday, Oct. 26. Nissan Foundation grants are awarded annually; the next grants will be awarded in June 2019.

For more information about the Nissan Foundation and its application process, visit the Nissan Foundation page at https://goo.gl/e3hkuf.

About the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding

Based in New York City, Tanenbaum is a secular, non-sectarian nonprofit that promotes mutual respect with practical programs that bridge religious difference and combat prejudice in schools, workplaces, health care settings, and conflict zones. More information about Tanenbaum’s offerings can be found here: https://tanenbaum.org/.

About the Nissan Foundation

Established in 1992, the mission of the Nissan Foundation is to build community through valuing cultural diversity. The Nissan Foundation is part of Nissan North America’s commitment to “enrich people’s lives” by helping to meet the needs of communities throughout the U.S. through philanthropic investments, corporate outreach sponsorships, in-kind donations and other charitable contributions.

About Nissan North America

In North America, Nissan’s operations include automotive styling, engineering, consumer and corporate financing, sales and marketing, distribution and manufacturing. Nissan is dedicated to improving the environment under the Nissan Green Program and has been recognized annually by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency as an ENERGY STAR® Partner of the Year since 2010. More information on Nissan in North America and the complete line of Nissan and Infiniti vehicles can be found online at www.NissanUSA.com and www.InfinitiUSA.com, or visit the U.S. media sites NissanNews.com and InfinitiNews.com.

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Our Neighbors, Our Border

Dear Friends,

Across our nation, we are agonizing—and debating—the fate of children being torn from their parents at our border. This is a policy debate. It is a moral debate. And, it is a religious debate. How we read and understand our faith traditions is fueling our views. How we respond reveals our core values.

Today, is World Refugee Day.

It is a time to remember how our many traditions require us to care for the stranger. To encourage Congress to act and to affirm the Governors who will not let their National Guard participate in the separation of families. It is also time to make sure we are informed. To help, Tanenbaum has updated its Combating Extremism resource, A Q&A on Refugees.

We can call the children at our border, and their parents, many names. Often, refugee, asylum seeker, migrant and undocumented are appropriate. But so is stranger. Let’s welcome them and treat them as each of us would want to be treated.

Doing so would honor our traditions,

Joyce S. Dubensky
CEO, Tanenbaum


Image Credit: John Moore / Getty Images

TANENBAUM TAKES A NIGHT OFF! A Comedy Show with MIKE RAKOSI on 9/27

Event Phone: 212.967.7707 x129


  • Tanenbaum Takes a Night Off!
    September 27, 2018
    7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

TANENBAUM TAKES A NIGHT OFF!
Join us for a comedy show with Mike Rakosi on September 27th, 2018.
Take advantage of our Summer Special rates – good through August 1st!

Masterpiece Cakeshop – The Five Key Takeaways

Friends,

I don’t know if you’ve been following the Masterpiece Cakeshop lawsuit or the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in that matter yesterday—but we have. It’s the case of a religious man, a baker, who refused to bake a custom wedding cake for a gay couple.

At Tanenbaum, we see this case as raising core questions of our national identity. We actually filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court because this case challenges us to answer:

  • How can we live respectfully and honor our differences as a religiously diverse country?
  • What do we do, when core principles that guide us—like the right to freely practice our faith and the right to live and go into stores without suffering discrimination—clash?
  • Where do we draw the line between a religious baker who objects to baking a cake based on his deeply held beliefs, and a gay couple protected by their state’s anti-discrimination laws when they want to purchase goods for their wedding?

In the decision, a majority of the Court agreed that the case presented difficult questions. Rather than answer those difficult questions, however, the Court focused on the conduct of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which it described as “inconsistent with the State’s obligation of religious neutrality.” In fact, the Supreme Court held that their deliberations reflected “religious hostility” and were neither “tolerant nor respectful of” the baker’s religious beliefs.

By ruling that the underlying procedures were unfair and declining to reach the difficult questions, the Court put these foundational questions off for another day. But that is only one of The Five Key Takeaways from Masterpiece Cakeshop.

1. “IT’s not over”… The court’s ruling was narrow… the question of how to implement religious freedom when it results in not complying with anti-discrimination laws is yet to be determined.

2. YES! Those who implement the law must be neutral and practice respect (including respect for religion and diverse religious beliefs)! The principle behind the court’s narrow decision is spot on. Those who implement our laws must do so in an even-handed, neutral way and that means…they cannot demean / evidence bias against / or ridicule religious beliefs (or non-religious beliefs) with which they disagree during a legal proceeding. And that principle applies both to regulatory commissioners and judges in our courts, whether they are secular or deeply religious.

3. The Court says the LGBTQI community deserves dignity…but members of that community still have to ask, “What happens when I get married?” Though the Masterpiece Court spoke of the critical need to respect LGBTQI people in the public square, there is now an aura of uncertainty for the gay community. Yes, they can legally marry. But they still have to ask: “Will I be able to purchase the wedding cake, flowers, or hire the best photographer in town?” AND, “Will I be able to adopt a child?”

4. The U.S. Supreme Court mandates tolerance in the application of the law, religious freedom, and in our treatment of the gay community—but what do we really mean by tolerance? The Court tells us what it doesn’t look like. But what does it look like? And how do we put it into practice?

5. The Supreme Court has a critical role to play in how our country moves forward. Objections to providing services based on religious beliefs can have long-term implications for religious freedom—and whether it survives for all of us. Freedom of religion is preserved in the First Amendment. To put it into practice, however, we rely on anti-discrimination laws that require people to provide goods and services no matter someone’s religion. Those same anti-discrimination laws also protect people against racial bias, age discrimination, bias based on ability status, and in some states, bigotry based on sexual orientation. If the religious beliefs of someone choosing to serve the public are legally able to undo these laws when it comes to a person’s sexual orientation, why can’t those same religious beliefs allow for discrimination based on a customer’s religious or non-religious beliefs? Why couldn’t a baker refuse to bake a cake for an interfaith couple, because one of them was Jewish and her Christian partner might be led astray? Or because the couple were atheists? Muslims? Sikhs?

So where does the ruling leave us, as a country? That, my friends, is up to us.

Joyce S. Dubensky
CEO, Tanenbaum

 


Photo credit: AP

Religious Diversity Leadership Summit: Raising the Bar

This year’s third annual Religious Diversity Leadership Summit was the largest one yet, with attendance near capacity and a waitlist in hand. Tanenbaum’s first full day Summit boasts 155 attendees and 23 speakers plus moderators from 64 companies, spanning 18 industries. The day included four concurrent breakout sessions addressing focused topics, another first for the Summit. Hosted by Bloomberg, the Summit was sponsored by Bloomberg, DTCC, and the Walt Disney Company.

Speakers shared personal stories to highlight pragmatic approaches to handling religious diversity in the workplace, showing attendees that this topic is not just about professional policies, it’s also about the people. Amin Kassam, keynote speaker and Chief of Staff and Senior Counsel at Bloomberg, eloquently spoke of his trepidation of coming out of two closets, as gay and as Muslim, during his professional life and highlighted some of his challenges. He courageously discussed the intersectionality of his religious and sexual identities in a way that was moving and inspiring.

Panelists and moderators in the programs that followed repeatedly came back to the importance of “bringing ones’ whole self to work” and the positive impact, as well as sometimes challenges, this can have for everyone. This was addressed in the context of varying positions of power in a company, the impact of generational norms, and the influence of different company cultures (corporate, non-profit, government, etc.).

In response to the Summit, attendees shared the following reactions and takeaways from the day:

  • “I have attended the previous conference[s]. They just keep getting better.”
  • “I appreciated ‘respectful curiosity. As a baby boomer, I was taught never to ask questions about why people are different. However, I always found [that] by asking respectful questions, you get to learn the culture and practices of others.”
  • As organizations, we celebrate what we value. [Also,] don’t be paralyzed by potential backlash. Instead, be prepared to ask people what they want/need when they raise concerns and say ‘What about me?’
  • “The Senior Leadership Panel described strong actions implemented at their company that describes the financial [return on investment] from diversity and inclusion. Using the Learning Lab assignment with Senior Management will generate dialogue and ultimately result in exercise to implement with staff.”

Pragmatic approaches were presented together with presenters’ stories, which provided an element of transparency that many attendees were pleasantly surprised to experience. From Mr. Kassam’s speech to the six different panels to Deputy CEO Mark Fowler’s Learning Lab, the Summit provided attendees with personal insight and practical knowledge of how to handle religion in the workplace. The overarching message of the day as one attendee so powerfully articulated was that diversity of religion is a fact, but inclusion of religion is a choice.”

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Happy Vesak Day!

Dear Friends,

Vesak Day, also known as Buddha Day, is observed by Buddhists around the world. Although the exact date of observance varies from county to country, many people will be observing the day this year on May 29th.

For more information about Vesak Day, including the holiday’s history as well as scheduling tips, please explore our Vesak Day Fact Sheet. Please note that offices in many Southeast Asian counties may close in observance of the holiday.

Warm regards,

Mark Fowler
Deputy CEO


Photo: WikiMedia Commons

Tanenbaum Announces New Peacemakers in Action!

 

Dr. Sarah AK Ahmed feeds a young girl who fled Mosul – FRRME August 2017

Dear Friends,

Today we’re thrilled to announce our 201Peacemakers in Action—Iraq’s Dr. Sarah AK Ahmed, a Muslim, and South Sudan’s James Lual Atak, a Christian. Both are extraordinary peace activists, driven by their faith and risking their lives for the chance of peace in the world’s worst conflicts.

Sarah defies extremists and exemplifies compassion by providing resources for Christian, Yazidi, and other religious and ethnic minority internally displaced persons. James provides safe haven and educational opportunities for orphans and women—regardless of their religious or ethnic backgrounds. Both have been threatened or caught in crossfire, yet they persist, improving the lives of those with whom they work.

James with children at Make Way Partners

Dr. Sarah Ahmed and James Lual Atak join 30 Peacemakers from 24 conflict zones.

In peace,

Joyce S. Dubensky
CEO, Tanenbaum

Ramadan begins May 15th – What you need to know!

Dear Friends,

The holy month of Ramadan is approaching! This year, Ramadan will begin on the evening of May 15th and will come to a close on June 14th.

Muslim employees observing Ramadan may be fasting during this period. Some may request scheduling accommodations and your company may find that more employees require space for prayer during this time.

To learn about other tips and considerations regarding scheduling, dietary restrictions, and greetings, read and circulate our Ramadan Fact Sheet.

Warm regards,

Mark Fowler
Deputy CEO, Tanenbaum


Photo: Forte George G Meade via Flickr

Events

TANENBAUM TAKES A NIGHT OFF! A Comedy Show with MIKE RAKOSI on 9/27


Tanenbaum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your Sponsorship is tax deductible to the extent it exceeds $45.00 per ticket and, for Troublemakers $1,000 if they opt-in for a consultation.