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Rumi Forum Podcast

Rumi Forum was founded in 1999 with the mission to foster intercultural dialogue, stimulate thinking and exchange of opinions on supporting and fostering democracy and peace and to provide a common platform for education and information exchange. The Forum contributes to this ultimate aim by means of conferences, panel discussions, community engagement, luncheons, publications and other activities. In particular the forum has an interest in issues regarding pluralism, peace building and conflict resolution, intercultural and interfaith dialogue, social harmony and justice, civil rights and community cohesion.

Mar 12, 2012

Tom Block spoke on his forthcoming book, "Shalom/Salaam: A Story of a Mystical Fraternity" (Fons Vitae Publisher, Louisville, KY, 2010) , which traces the virtually unknown story of Islamic mystical influence on the development of Jewish mysticism for over 1000 years. Mr. Block's introduced this story, exploring how Jewish thinkers and mystics, from Moses Maimonides (d. 1204) in Egypt to the Kabbalists in Spain (13th century) and the Holy Land (15th century), turned to their Islamic cousins for spiritual inspiration, as well as specific manners of understanding the relationship with the Divine. These medieval Jewish thinkers irrevocably turned Jewish worship, meditation and synagogue practice in the direction of their Islamic cousins. By the 18th century, when the Baal Shem Tov was developing Hasidism in eastern Europe, he was attracted to the same medieval Jewish thinkers who had, in turn, depended so much on Islam for inspiration. Although he didn't realize it, his interest in specific medieval Jewish thinkers and systems of thought continued the "Islamicization" of Jewish worship, an influence which still reverberates through Jewish practice to this day.