Interpreting An Embrace: A Jew And a Sikh In Kansas

March 24, 2010

Author: Rabbi Or Rose

Source: The Huffington Post

A shiny red, mid-sized rental car pulled up to the curb and from it emerged a very tall, dark-skinned man with an off-white turban, long graying beard, and boyish smile. "Come my friend, let me help you with your bags. On a hot day like this, we can all use some help." With that, Dr. Tarunjit Singh Butalia whisked me off to the Kansas City airport.

I had come to the Midwest from my home in Boston to attend the annual NAIN (North American Interfaith Network) conference. Tarunjit, vice president of this grassroots organization, and a leader in the international Sikh community, had graciously volunteered to return me to the airport.

A wise and warm person, Tarunjit gently engaged me in meaningful conversation as soon as I settled into the car. We had a wonderful time together discussing the similarities and differences between our faith traditions and the issues facing each of our minority communities in the United States. Though we had just met at the conference, we went deep quickly. Before I knew it, we had arrived at the Kansas City airport.