Miami, the Gateway to the Americas, has long been an entry point to a nation of immigrants. Geographically, the city’s location on the southeastern coast of Florida has made it a prime location for encounter, from sixteenth century meeting of Spanish colonists and the Tequesta people living in the region to more recent waves of refugees from the Caribbean and Latin America who have made Miami home. The “MagicIn Paganism, “magick” refers to the ritualization of one’s spiritual intentions. It is often spelled with a ‘k’ after the usage of Aleister Crowley, a twentieth-century esotericist who wished to differentiate his practice from stage magic. Today... City” saw rapid growth in the late nineteenth century, ballooning from a small town in the late 1880s to a bustling metropolisA Metropolitan is the title given to a bishop, used especially in the Orthodox family of churches today. with a population of over 400,000 a few decades later. The arrival of the railroad in 1896, the real estate boom of the 1920s, and the city’s use as a training base during World War II contributed to this boom, and brought waves of new arrivals to the Florida coast. The city’s religious diversity reflects this vibrancy and energy.
Although Miami’s Jewish community arrived relatively recently when compared to other Florida cities, JudaismJudaism is the worldview, the way of life, and the religious practice of the Jewish people, living in covenant with God and in response to Torah, the laws and ethics which guide the pattern of Jewish life. Jews today interpret their three thousand year ol... is today one of Miami’s most prominent religious traditions. Beth DavidDavid was the King of Israel (c. 1000 BCE) credited with uniting the many tribes of Israel into a centralized kingdom with Jerusalem as its capital. David is said to have planned for the Temple in Jerusalem, which was subsequently built by his son Solomon..., Miami’s Pioneer SynagogueSynagogue, shul in Yiddish, is the most widely used term for a Jewish house of worship. Meaning a “place of gathering,” it is the central institution of Jewish communal life. The structure and role of synagogues has changed through the centuries, but ..., was founded in 1912 and is today just one of over 75 synagoguesSynagogue, shul in Yiddish, is the most widely used term for a Jewish house of worship. Meaning a “place of gathering,” it is the central institution of Jewish communal life. The structure and role of synagogues has changed through the centuries, but ... in the city.
Afro-Caribbean traditionsAfro-Caribbean religions include a wide range of religious traditions that have roots in Africa, came to the islands of the Caribbean with African captives, and developed distinctive forms in this new environment: Santería or the Lucumi tradition in Cuba... are widely practiced in Miami, creating a unique aspect of the city’s culture in no small part thanks to the arrival of large number of Cuban and Haitian refugees during the 1960s and 1980s, respectively. Botanicas, or stores that sell religious items, abound in to meet the needs of practitioners of Afro-Caribbean traditions who often worship at home altarsAn altar is a raised platform or stand which bears the central symbols of a religious tradition—whether in a temple, church, shrine, or home—and at which offerings are made, worship is offered, or prayers are said. rather than in public spaces like churchesThe term church has come to wide use to refer to the organized and gathered religious community. In the Christian tradition, church refers to the organic, interdependent “body” of Christ’s followers, the community of Christians. Secondarily, church ... or synagogues. Shelves in botanicas might be lined with statues of the BuddhaBuddha means “awakened one” and specifically refers to Shakyamuni Buddha, also known as Siddhartha Gautama (traditional date, sixth c. BCE), the historical founder of the tradition that became known as Buddhism. All Buddhist traditions agree that ther..., images of GaneshaGanesha is the elephant-headed son of Shiva and Parvati and the keeper of the thresholds of space and time, to be honored at the doorway and at the outset of any venture. He is both the “lord of beginnings” and the “remover of obstacles.”, or candles depicting Christian saintsSaints are human beings whose lives have displayed extraordinary holiness and devotion. As such they become examples for others. Indeed some of the faithful may understand them to be intermediaries and seek their help in time of need. Roman Catholics and ..., among eclecticEclectic Pagans bring aspects of many spiritual paths together. Some Pagans pride themselves on the high degree of authority granted to each person to develop his or her own spiritual path. Hence, many practitioners adapt practices from a variety of Pagan... items from various religious traditions, reminders of Miami’s religious diversity in microcosm.
There are several Buddhist templesBuddhist temples differ considerably from one another depending upon culture and particular school, but most are associated with the residence of the sangha of monks. Theravada temples focus on one or more images of Sakyamuni Buddha. In Mahayana and Vajra... and centers spanning across Miami-Dade County and ranging from the various schools of BuddhismBuddhism is a multi-hued tradition of life, thought, and practice that has developed from the teaching and practice of Siddhartha Gautama (6th century BCE) who came to be called the Buddha, the awakened one. The three major streams of the tradition—Ther..., such as Tibetan KarmaKarma means action and the consequences of action, both in the world and for oneself. It is important in the Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain traditions where rebirth is presupposed and karma shapes one’s ongoing life. Every action leaves an imprint. In the Ja... KagyuThe Kagyu School is one of four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu, and Gelug. Durin. the 11th century, the Kagyu school emerged, founded by the great Indian tantric master Naropa, brought to Tibet by the translator Marpa, and solidi..., Korean, Thai, and Japanese. Zen Village, a popular Buddhist center located in the Coconut GroveSacred groves have historically been among the most important sites for Pagan worship. In Druidism, trees are thought to have specific attributes that contribute meaning to the site where they grow. Contemporary Druid groups are often called “groves.”... area offers classes incorporating ideas from various schools of Buddhism as well as ConfucianismThe Confucian tradition emphasizes the importance of following inherited rites (li) in a conscientious manner so that one can fully activate his or her humanity (ren) and thereby realize the Way (dao) of Heaven (tian). Major figures include Confucius (551... and DaoismThe Daoist tradition incorporates a highly diverse range of philosophical, religious, and folk values and practices, all of which share a concern for realigning human life so that it is in better accord with the natural rhythms of the universe. Symbols of.... The Hindu community in Miami is also quite prevalent, and there are SunniSunni Muslims emphasize the authoritative role of the consensus of religious scholars (‘ulama) in interpreting the Qur’an and the Sunnah (custom) of the Prophet. The community could thus choose any good Muslim as a successor (khalifah) to Muhammad, th... and ShiaThe Shi’at ‘Ali (the party of ‘Ali, for which Shi’ah is an abbreviation and from which the adjective Shi’i comes) believed that the Prophet Muhammad designated his son-in-law ‘Ali and his descendants to be leader (Imam) of the ummah after his ... mosquesMasjid (plural masajid) in Arabic means “place of prostration,” or the place where Muslims bow in prayer; in English, this word has become “mosque.” A masjid contains a prayer hall in which there is a mihrab or prayer niche, and a minbar or pulpit... across the city, including one of the oldest mosques, MasjidMasjid (plural masajid) in Arabic means “place of prostration,” or the place where Muslims bow in prayer; in English, this word has become “mosque.” A masjid contains a prayer hall in which there is a mihrab or prayer niche, and a minbar or pulpit... Miami, established in 1974.
Miami has a long, rich history of interfaith engagement. A clergyClergy are the body of ordained men (and in some cases women) who are authorized to perform the priestly, pastoral, or rabbinical duties of the community—as distinct from the laity whom they serve. dialogue group, sponsored by the Miami Coalition for Christians and Jews (MCCJ), began in 1935 and is thought to be the oldest continuous group of its kind in the United States. Although Miami has few existent organizations that focus specifically on interfaith issues, those that do are prominent and highly active within the community. People Acting for Community Together (PACTS), a coalition of congregations, universities, schools, and community groups, is one such example. The organization represents over 50,000 people in Greater Miami (the largest grassroots effort in South Florida) and works to build a community voice, express concerns to government officials, and promote justice and democracy. The City of Miami’s Office of Community Advocacy, St. Thomas University’s Ecumenical Institute, and the Anti-Defamation LeagueThe Anti-Defamation League is a Jewish organization founded in 1913 to fight anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry. Its mission is “to stop the defamation of the Jewish people, to secure justice and fa... are three among many of the city’s civic, religious, and community organizations that, while specifically “interfaith” organizations, form a viable network of partnerships that often include interfaith initiatives among its projects throughout Miami.
In recent years, Miami has seen a substantial wave of immigration from South and Central America, in addition to its continued immigration from other parts of the world, which should contribute to the city’s increasingly diverse religious landscape. While some cultural and religious communities are flourishing, new construction and development are placing pressure on others groups, like some residents of Little Haiti who feel they are being uprooted from generations-old cultural landmarks. As the city continues to change its shape, is not only in its skyline and structures that will evolve but also the diverse neighbors who call Miami home.