As part of the Tri-Faith Initiative, Temple Israel invites its members to attend the annual picnic on Sunday, September 9. The picnic will be held at 13906 Gold Cir., from 1 – 3 p.m., and will include families from each of the three congregations involved in Tri-Faith–Temple Israel, the Episcopal Diocese of Nebraska and the American Institute of Islamic Studies and Culture.

“[The] Tri-Faith picnic is an opportunity for the members of our religious groups to meet each other in a quiet and comfortable environment, outdoors, and play, eat, enjoy each other and bless God for the gift of living in America,” Rabbi Aryeh Azriel said. “Away from the confinement of our institutions, with a plate and a ball, life becomes amazingly more simple and sacred.”

Lisa Lewis, who has been a longtime supporter of Tri-Faith, also applauds interfaith events like this.

“It’s a great opportunity to have different families mingle,” Lewis said. “It’s fun to see all the kids play together.”

The Tri-Faith picnic is a casual, informal get-together that is a wonderful way for people of different faiths to get to know one another better, Lewis added.

Held at the AIISC’s interim worship location, the Tri-Faith picnic will include children’s activities, games for everyone and plenty of time to socialize and share stories with one another, according to the Tri-Faith Initiative website.

If you’d like to attend, no RSVP is required, though you are asked to bring a dish to share. But please, no pork, shellfish or gelatin. Breads, fruits, vegetarian dishes and salads would be appreciated.

The Tri-Faith Initiative was first proposed in 2006 as a way to build bridges and forge lasting friendships between the three Abrahamic religions–Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Temple Israel and AIISC came together to discuss a plan to build new homes for their congregations next to each other. After the initial meeting, the two groups realized that they consisted of two Abrahamic religions, and if they were able to find a Christian congregation with which to partner, they could together build something truly historic.

By the end of 2011, the three Tri-Faith congregations had together purchased a 35-acre plot of land near 132nd and Pacific, land that used to be part of Ironwood Country Club, which was Highland Country Club when it was first founded in the 1920s as Omaha’s first Jewish country club at a time when Jews were banned from joining other clubs.

Once completed, the Tri-Faith Initiative will comprise three distinct houses of worship, the first of which, the new Temple Israel, will be completed in the fall of 2013. There will also be a fourth building that will serve as a non denominational community and education center.