Back in 2017, I wanted to offer a "manifesto" of sorts to the incredible volunteers who offered to help me host the first set of Shabbat Salaam interfaith dinners. I also wanted to answer questions I was receiving from people outside of my immediate community who were not involved in the interfaith programming I was designing with other individuals and organizations. Early on, we were met with skeptics who were wondering who I was and what I was doing. At the intersection of faith and food, I understood that I was entering very personal and sensitive spaces for many people.
What's your agenda? Who funds your work? Is there government involvement?
The answers continue to be the same as before. We are bootstrapped through our ticketed events (thanks for your support! And spoiler alert: Kickstarter coming soon!) and we have no shareholders who influence our decisions. We simply get feedback from our attendees who want to see us evolve into a sustainable organization.
But I needed to make it clear that I would never preach any religion or create differences between faiths. In fact, I wanted everyone to know that our programming was about celebrating the commonalities that exist within our backgrounds. Whether it is using musical performances or food tours, I wanted people to be part of a space where they could connect with each other on common ground.
Scribbles on the side of my notebook ultimately became "Our Testament" for Interfaith Ventures and for each project incubated out of it since, including Abe's Eats.
Interfaith Ventures was born out of the radical notion that we are all part of one crazy family with a common set of universal values that guide us to be happy, productive members of our communities. These merits are reflected in our faiths. At its core, our temple is built on the foundations of love and respect. Around the world, people teach these principles in different forms — through the life of Christ, from the stories of the Quran, by practicing ahimsa, and so on. These beliefs guide billions of people around the globe to be the best they can be, in direct contrast to the minority of fractured souls who use the power of religion to cause harm. | 2017
Today, Interfaith Ventures incubates a portfolio of products and programs — from hosting Shabbat Salaam interfaith dinners to producing the first-ever Interfaith Meat that follows both Halal and Kosher dietary laws — to explore how interconnected our faiths are across our existence. In doing so, we celebrate the very essence of being human.
With Peace, Love, & Burgers,
Founder, Abe's Eats