Join your neighbors to explore diverse religions as Dawn Unity Group begins the 19th year of its Interfaith Discovery Series.

Each 90-minute program is free and cookies are served to encourage participants to dialogue about the topic.

Here's the schedule for this season:

The Exodus, Oct. 29, 7:30 p.m. at St. John Fisher Catholic Church—A panel consisting of Rabbi Mark Diamond, LMU, Prof. Amir Hussain, LMU, Rev. Reinhard Krauss, UCLA, and Msgr. David Sork, St. John Fisher Catholic Church will explore the Bible’s account of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt.

Exodus describes God’s destruction of the greatest army in the world by His hand alone and His giving the Law at Sinai which are definitive events in the creation of Judaism and therefore Christianity.

It is so important that the Bible tells us to recount the story every year at Passover.

What do history and archaeology have to say about the historical accuracy of the text? Is historical verification important? What does Islam teach about the Exodus and its role in Muslim theology?

St. John Fisher is located at 5448 Crenshaw Blvd.

Disputes in My Religion, Jan. 14, 2020, 7:30 p.m. at Congregation Ner Tamid—Panelists Rev. Jonathan Chute, Rolling Hills United Methodist Church, Rabbi Brian Schuldenfrei, Congregation Ner Tamid, and Fr. Alexei Smith, Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles will discuss the internal dispute over ordination of gay and lesbian clergy in The United Methodist Church. Catholics and Jews always have internal disagreements though not threatening schism… the role of women, dealing with the wide spectrum of cultures within the faith, and the degree of religious observance as well as differences over the role of gays and lesbians are examples worthy of discussion.

Congregation Ner Tamid is located at 5721 Crestridge Rd.

Searching for Civility in a Partisan World, March 10, 2020, 7:30 p.m. at the Rolling Hills United Methodist Church—The panel of Rev. Clayton Cobb, Presbyterian Church USA, Rev. April Herron, Rolling Hills United Methodist Church, Rev. Reinhard Krauss, UCLA, and Rev. David Young, The Neighborhood Church have a lot to talk about.

Civility is declining, and the willingness to listen too often is dependent on what one wants to hear. Discussion among families and neighbors can become nasty and divisive. Disrespect for differing points of view creates walls between people, and we lose out by not considering other perspectives.

Has this happened before to the same degree, or has contemporary media magnified the problem? Can this be reversed, and where will the leadership come from to do so? 

Rolling Hills United Methodist Church is located at 26438 Crenshaw Blvd.

Annual Interfaith Bible Lecture, April 19, 2020, 7:30 p.m. at the Rolling Hills United Methodist Church—Rev. Reinhard Krauss, UCLA, and Rabbi Joel Rembaum, Rabbi Emeritus of Temple Beth Am will teach us about “Jesus Through Christian and Jewish Lenses.”

The two scholars will describe how Jesus has been regarded differently by Christians and Jews over the past 2,000 years.

How was Jesus, an observant Jew, viewed by the Jews and gentiles in his lifetime and during the formative years of Christianity? How did Paul and the early church leaders influence Christian understanding of Jesus? How do Jewish scriptures define the messiah and how does the Christian view differ? 

Rolling Hills United Methodist Church 26438 Crenshaw Blvd.

Am I My Brother’s Keeper?, May 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—The panelists are Rev. Amy Aitken, Riviera United Methodist Church, Rabbi Cassi Kail, Temple Beth El, Rev. Paula Vukmanic, St. Francis Episcopal Church, and President Joseph Whitaker, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

What are our obligations to support the needy, and how should we do it? How do we define and identify the needy?

Do the recipients have obligations in return? Are government programs replacing community responsibility and the traditional leadership of religious and private organizations, and what is the effect? 

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is located at 5845 Crestridge Rd.

Dawn Unity Group has a YouTube channel where recent panel discussions can be viewed and are accessed as dawnunuitygroup. I find the opportunity to watch again enriches my understanding and invite you to do the same as well as tell your friends. 

Bob Rothman is chair of the Dawn Unity Group. He can be reached via email at bobroth@alum.mit.edu.

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