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Crisis and Faith: An interfaith discussion on finding the Holy in the midst of the COVID-19 Crisis

Wednesday, April 1, 2020 7 Nisan 5780

6:00 PM - 7:30 PMvia Zoom (

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About our panelists

Rabbi Michael Rothbaum serves as rabbi of Congregation Beth Elohim. A distinguished leader, speaker, and writer, Rabbi Mike has devoted his life to teaching Torah, building community, and making justice. Currently working with T’ruah on its nationwide racial justice effort, he serves on the Advisory Committee of Bend the Arc affiliate JALSA, as well as the board of the New England Jewish Labor Committee. Rabbi Mike’s writing has been featured Ha’aretz, Jewschool, the Forward, Tikkun, the Huffington Post, and Zeek, among others. He lives in Maynard, Massachusetts with his husband, international Yiddish performer Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell.

Reverend Jill Cowie currently serves the Harvard Unitarian Universalist Church in Harvard, Massachusetts. Prior to serving in Harvard, she served as minister at Unitarian Universalist congregations in Vineyard Haven, Martha’s Vineyard, in Cohasset and as a sabbatical minister in Duxbury, Massachusetts. She is a facilitator for the UU Minister’s Association’s continuing education programs, and SURJ (Show Up for Racial Justice), Boston. She is committed to racial justice, and has facilitated service trips to New Orleans, Haiti, and Guatemala. She periodically serves as a volunteer chaplain at Brigham and Women’s hospital, and volunteered as a chaplain-in-residence for the Standing Rock community. For enjoyment she sings in the Yiddish community chorus “A Besere Velt” (A Better World), and joyously shares life with her husband and four young adult children all living in Boston.

Imam Dr. Khalil Abdur-Rashid is the first full-time University Muslim Chaplain at Harvard University, Instructor of Muslim Studies at Harvard Divinity School, and Public Policy Lecturer at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He serves all Muslim students at Harvard, Chairs the Board of Religious, Spiritual and Ethical Life at Harvard, and manages the staff of the Office of the Chaplains at Harvard University.

Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, he completed his Doctorate in Liberal Studies in American Islam from Southern Methodist University and holds both a Master of Arts in Islamic law and Middle East Studies as well as a Master of Philosophy in Islamic Law and Middle East Studies from Columbia University in New York City. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Georgia State University and worked for the state of Georgia as a social worker for several years. He then pursued Islamic studies academically and traditionally which led him overseas to study for numerous years in the Middle East and in Istanbul, Turkey. While in Istanbul, Khalil pursued a master’s degree in Comparative Islamic Law at Marmara University and completed two advanced Islamic seminary doctoral licenses (ijaza) in Islamic Sciences.

He has taught numerous courses on Islam and Islamic law at NYU and Columbia University and taught Arabic language at Georgia State University. He was the first paid Muslim Chaplain for Columbia University and Barnard College in New York City and served as an advisor to the NYPD Police Commissioner. He also served as Imam for several years in New York City and several years as Scholar-in-Residence at a major Islamic Center in North Dallas. He is the co-founder, along with his wife, of the Islamic Seminary of America in Dallas and has worked as instructor of Islamic Studies in the Graduate of Liberal Studies Program at Southern Methodists University. He serves the entire Muslim community at Harvard University though his mentoring, programs, lectures, interfaith work, and the courses he offers in the Divinity School and Kennedy School of Government.


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