LIVINGSTON, NJ — In an effort to promote education about and understanding of the five major world religions—Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism—the Livingston Committee for Diversity & Inclusion (LCDI) has collaborated with the Livingston Vision 20/20 Committee and the Livingston Clergy Association to host the first Religions of the World event to be held at the Livingston Senior and Community Center on Nov. 21 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
According to Livingston residents and event co-chairs Saba Khan and Mike Ramer, Religions of the World is “not a religious service” but an “interactive, educational program” that will focus on “practicing kindness, gratitude and charity.”
Khan, an LCDI member, and Ramer, chair of the Vision 20/20 Education Sub-Committee as well as an LCDI member, also shared that the main objective of the evening is to promote understanding of these world religions through trivia games, engaging conversations, universal prayers, music and more. Other highlights will also include dessert provided by various local vendors and a family-friendly puppet show about the “Six Pillars of Character,” which include trustworthiness, caring, citizenship, fairness, respect and responsibility.
Attendees are encouraged to wear their personal religion’s traditional attire.
The concept of a world religion event was born when Khan and Ramer collaborated on a community project during Ramadan last year.
Khan observed that her non-Muslim friends didn’t know much about Ramadan and the traditional breaking of the fast. She invited Ramer and his Jewish family to dinner, and their families became good friends.
Khan, a community builder and realtor, described Livingston “as a melting pot of various cultures and religions.”
“When we connect with one another beyond race, religion and culture, understanding occurs, and it is impossible to hate,” said Khan. “The more we educate ourselves and be accepting of our religious and cultural traditions, the better we will grow as a community especially for future generations.”
She and Ramer then partnered with Pastor Dan Martian from the Presbyterian Church of Livingston, another member of LCDI and the leader of the Livingston Clergy Association, who assisted with the programming for the event.
Since the five major world religions will be represented at the event, there will also be five religious leaders on hand—a pastor (Christianity), a rabbi (Judaism), an imam (Islam), a pandit (Hinduism) and a professor/teacher (Buddhism)—to answer questions and lead 20-minute discussion sessions on each religion.
In a joint statement, Khan and Ramer invite the entire community to “join in celebration of Livingston’s diversity during the Thanksgiving season.”
“No matter how we look, what we wear and what religion we practice (or don’t), we all do good in similar ways,” they said, adding that the event promises to be a fun and entertaining learning opportunity for children as well as adults.
Several local organizations also jumped at the opportunity to sponsor the event. These include:
- Harte Orthodontics
- Keith Hines/KHC Maintenance LLC
- Kiwanis Club of Livingston
- Regal Bank
- Saba Khan/Homes by Sabs
- Assado Portuguese Steakhouse
- Dunkin Donuts of Livingston
- Jessica Imparto/Guaranteed Rates
- JIA Catering
- Justina Falafel
- Kings Supermarket
- Livingston Bagel