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After the Trump assassination attempt, defining democracy gets even harder; Trump picks Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, a once-fierce critic turned loyal ally, as his GOP running mate; DC residents push back on natural gas infrastructure buildup; and a new law allows youth on Medi-Cal to consent to mental health treatment.

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Donald Trump is formally put up for GOP nomination and picks Ohio Senator J.D. Vance as his running mate. Former presidential hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy and swing state delegates consider ticket.

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Enticing remote workers to move is a new business strategy in rural America, Eastern Kentucky preservationists want to save the 20th century home of a trailblazing coal miner, and a rule change could help small meat and poultry growers and consumers.

From Conversation to a One-of-a-Kind Community in Omaha

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Thursday, April 20, 2023   

Omaha's Tri-Faith Initiative, the only faith community of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, started with a conversation and is now the worship home for members of Jewish, Muslim and Christian religions.

It began when leaders from Omaha's Jewish and Muslim faiths discovered they shared the common "logistical needs" of parking and land for growth. After many "honest conversations" and a lot of planning, the nonreligious nonprofit Tri-Faith Initiative was formed.

Ultimately, a former golf course became the home of the Tri-Faith Initiative and the site of a new synagogue, mosque and church, followed by an interfaith center, jointly referred to as the "Tri-Faith Commons."

Corey Oldenhuis, communications manager for the Tri-Faith Initiative, said it shows how powerful it can be when people with differences sit down to talk. He stressed they hope to be a model for the country and the world.

"We want people to see the collaboration we have and the beauty of being neighbors and share that, and take that back to their communities and replicate it," Oldenhuis explained. "It doesn't have to be exactly like the Commons, but the lesson from the Commons is what we'd like them to replicate."

Each religious community at Tri-Faith is independent, but Oldenhuis noted a lot of their events are designed to engage all three communities. One of their monthly events, Making the Familiar Strange, involves a member sharing the meaning and significance of a particular passage from their religious text, with those attending encouraged to read and react to it as well.

Oldenhuis pointed out it is not uncommon for texts from the three faiths to share the same, or similar, stories.

"So that leads to really interesting conversation," Oldenhuis observed. "That's one where the event is certainly bolstered and enlivened by representation and more people from the different buildings."

Amal Alexander, a member of Tri-Faith's AMI Mosque, said she has never seen anything like the Tri-Faith community. She emphasized considering the conflicts between the three religions over the years, it is amazing to sit together and learn from each other.

"I would really urge people just to come and experience it," Alexander stressed. "Everybody who comes to visit, they always go away with so many things that they learned, and they leave with just feeling enlightened, so to speak."

The Tri-Faith Initiative's second annual Race, Religion and Social Justice Conference will be held June 7-8 and is open for registration.


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