Dr. David Shulman, a family practice physician who practices in Olean, recently returned from a Union for reform Judaism conference.

His experience led him to write a message to our community. We share it here:

A pastor, a rabbi, and an imam ... sounds like the beginning of a joke. I recently got back from attending the URJ (Union for reform Judaism) 2019 Biennial conference. While there, The Maurice N. Eisendrath Bearer of Light Award was presented to Omaha, Nebraska’s Tri-Faith Initiative, whose extraordinary multi-faith work models pluralism and outstanding partnerships for us all.

It consists of a Christian church, a synagogue and a mosque, all built on one campus. The three Abrahamic religions coexisting on one parcel of land. Pretty impressive.

Now let’s look at Olean. Olean seems ahead of the curve. We’ve had numerous faiths living side by side, though not on one campus. For 18 years, United Faiths has been having conversations contrasting and comparing our beliefs.

Several interfaith functions have occurred throughout the years. I feel very fortunate to be living in the Greater Olean community. Just this week, I received an email from Dr. Tahir Chauhdry of the Islamic Center expressing condolences regarding the recent Hanukkah stabbings, which took place very close to where I grew up.

Let’s everybody have a healthy, happy and peaceful 2020.

Jim Eckstrom is executive editor of the Olean Times Herald and Bradford Publishing Co. His email is jeckstrom@oleantimesherald.com.)

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