Rabbis, NYU imam and Chelsea Clinton share interfaith prize


(JTA) — Two rabbis, an imam and Chelsea Clinton were among the recipients of an annual award from the Temple of Understanding, a U.S. interfaith dialogue body.

Rabbi Yehuda Sarna, 34, who leads the Jewish Learning Fellowship at New York University, NYU Imam Khalid Latif and Clinton, the daughter of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton, won the award for their work "advancing a new model of integrating interfaith and cross cultural education into campus life," which is noted on the Temple of Understanding’s website.

The New York Jewish Week credited Sarna with building “a reputation for engaging Jewish students in creative ways and for encouraging interreligious dialogue, especially through his close friendship with NYU Imam Khalid Latif.”

Rabbi Awraham Soetendorp, a Dutch Holocaust survivor and former president of the European Union for Progressive Judaism, won the award for “including interfaith-oriented leadership” in work on sustainable development, the Temple of Understanding’s site said. His work “helps build bridges between the cultures, spiritual traditions, and generations.”

“It is important to finally understand that openness increases when one no longer feels one’s identity is threatened,” Soetendorp told JTA.

The other two recipients are May Rihani, the Lebanon-born co-chair of the United Nations’ Girls’ Education Initiative, and James Alexander Forbes, founder of the Healing of the Nations Foundation of New York.

The award is to be presented at a ceremony Tuesday in New York.

Recommended from JTA