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by Rhonda Spivak, posted June 15, 2012

In March of this year, a  rabbi, a priest and an imam  in Canada began sharing a new blog to offer their respective faith’s perspective on current issues and common problems.
Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz of the modern Orthodox Congregation Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem in Côte St. Luc; Father John Walsh, retired pastor of the Catholic St. John de Brébeuf Church in LaSalle, and Imam Ziyad Delic, leader of the South Nepean Muslim Community in Ottawa, created  this unique website-

They’ have known each other not through formal interfaith dialogue. but through  public speaking and writing over a number of years. They explain on their site that they gope to share their traditions and dispel misconceptions.
As they say in their welcome message:
"We are not strangers to each other.  We have shared time together.  We have no intention to convert each other and we have no intention, in any way, to attempt to convert you.  We know that people of many faiths live on the same street, work side by side, share the same cities, and are trying to build better neighborhoods.  We can no longer pass each other as strangers.  We want to share our three traditions on a variety of subjects so that you will come to know our many similarities while respecting our differences.  We hope to  offer you three convergent faith perspectives on life.  We are not competing with each other for the best answers.  However, we are very interested in your reactions that will cause us to think and rethink what we have shared on the blog.  We want to make the world a better place in which to live.

'We believe there is place for a faith reflection on life to offer meaning to our human lives and to humanize our world.  We have evolved different faith traditions that lead us to the one God.   We recognize that in our collective history what was done in the name of G-d begs for forgiveness.  We begin with reconciliation and we hope to build stronger bonds of friendship and of faith with all who come to read our blog.  All three of us share the golden rule; do unto others what you would have them do unto you, which is but the beginning of what we can share with you.

"We remember that there was a Golden Age when all three faith communities were in dialogue with each other.  Today we will again hope that dialogue will help all of us interpret our respective faiths to allow G-d’s love to shine upon all of us.   When hope dims, the loss of faith is at stake and love falters.  We are hopeful clergy who wish to offer you, the readers of our blog, ways to find hope in your lives.  We welcome you to OUR new blog: www.'
One topic they explore, for example ,is whether religion prompted Mohammed Merah (the murderer of Jews in Toulouse)to kill.
Imam Delic wrote on the blog in answer to this:
"Much of the media portrays violence committed by Muslims resulting from an understanding of their faith. When the media describe Mohamed Merah and others like him, and their relationship with Islam, it is implied that what they did is born of their faith. This is totally repulsive and an insult to Islam and faithful Muslims. In proceeding in this manner, the media create a disastrous oxymoron – a clash of two mutually exclusive entities that cannot co-exist in God’s universe.
"Merah’s action – the Frenchman killed several soldiers and three Jewish schoolchildren and the Rabbi in southern France in March – doesn’t have any relationship to Islam. There is nothing in Islam that says it’s okay to kill people because you don’t agree with them or you don’t like them. The sanctity of human life is at the heart of Islam. It is supreme! The Qur’an affirms this reality in the following verse: “. . . that to kill one person is like killing all of humanity . . . And to give life to one person is like giving life to all of humanity.” (Al Maida 5: 32)
"Mohamed Merah was a pathetic young man who is guilty of committing acts of terrorism that rational human beings find hard to comprehend. The reality is that the murderer did not lash out in violence because he is a Muslim. He acted the way he did because he did not know how to be a true Muslim. The result of being unable to act properly as a Muslim completely defies – and defiles – Islamic logic."
The descriptions given on the website about the three clergy are as follows:
Imam Dr. Zijad Delic was born in Bosnia and studied in Pakistan, USA and Canada. He received his Doctorate from Simon Fraser University.  He is invited everywhere and widely acknowledged as a leading lecturer on being a Canadian Muslim.  He has been published in many Canadian 
national newspapers and is a regular guest on TV/radio shows. He has been twice included in the new book “The 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World.”  He is the resident Imam with the South Nepean Muslim Community.  He resides in Ottawa with his wife and two daughters.

Father John Walsh, Pastor Emeritus, born in Montreal studied at the Université de Montréal, The Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome and Hebrew University in Jerusalem acquiring a Licentiate in Theology (S.T.L.) and a Licentiate in Sacred Scripture (S.S.L.).  He is a published author and has lectured in Canada and the United States and his work has appeared in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines.  Until his recent retirement he was a Talk-Show Host for fifteen years on CJAD in Montreal.  Presently he writes book reviews and articles locally and nationally.  He is founder and President of Contemporary Publications and Communications an e-book publisher on redefining human nature, human consciousness, the human planet, and who we are in the twenty-first century.  He resides in LaSalle, Quebec, and is often busy on weekends preaching throughout the Montreal region.

Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz is the Rabbi of a 500 family congregation in Montreal, Quebec, and a much sought after speaker and teacher. Chaim presents timeless wisdom from ancient texts in a contemporary fashion.  He is a well known communal leader in the Canadian Jewish community and his involvements include being a Vice President of the Federation-CJA of Montreal, a Past President of the Montreal Board of Rabbis, and a Past President of the Rabbinical Council of Canada.  He has written a regular column for the Canadian Jewish News for the last ten years and his articles have also appeared in Canadian newspapers including The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, The National Post, The Montreal Gazette and La Presse, as well as the Jewish publications such as The Jerusalem Post, The Forward and The Jewish Week. He has appeared on TV and radio, and has a weekly segment on Radio Shalom, Montreal’s Jewish radio station.  He has an online blog of articles entitled “The Happiness Warrior,” is a regular on Facebook (1966 followers as of this writing) and Twitter (@rabbichaim).
Oher topics explored on the website:



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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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