“When you wish someone joy, you wish them peace, love, prosperity, happiness… all the good things.” — Maya Angelou
The idea was simple – a dinner of camaraderie with friends from every walk of life, ethnicity and religion. White attire was a must – the color of peace. The event was held on August 13 at a middle-eastern restaurant Kan Zaman and organized and sponsored by Leonard Goldberg of Geneva Seal and Patrick Farah of The Power Company. The hosts treated guests to middle-eastern delicacies, while attendees brought their favorite libations to complement the dishes.
When I among eighty fortunate guests received an invitation to attend this event, it dawned on me that among the multitude of events in Chicago, this would really be the first event of such kind. Sure, there are many worthwhile events in Chicago supporting a variety of causes and I have had a good fortune and a privilege to experience some of them – this was different. The event had no agenda or purpose other than to demonstrate to the world, to ourselves, our friends and close ones, that we are all inherently human, regardless of color, ethnicity, or religion; and in the spirit of one of the oldest tradition we joined together to break bread in peace and respect for each other’s differences.
As guests began to arrive decked out in white, friendly banter was heard all throughout the restaurant. People of many religions, places of origin and of ethnic backgrounds were present. Leonard Goldberg, one of the event organizers, later summed-up the event, “This dinner was in celebration of friendship. It is a reminder of the possibility of peace and mutual respect. It is a show of tolerance and celebration of our differences regardless of race, ethnicity, or religion.” He went on to say that “people were getting to know each other on a basic human level through the oldest and purest traditions of any culture, simply by sharing food and drinks. No sides-taking, no associations, no conflicts, no colors… just friendship.”
Perhaps there is something to idea of coexisting – “existing together at the same time or in the same place” (as in dictionary.com). Many misunderstandings in the world seem to be caused by people failing to work to reach a common ground. After all, one can find a way to compromise with other people without compromising once beliefs. As they say, you’ve got to give a little to get a little. I’m certain that if more people would find ways to break bread together we just might attain that equilibrium of “…peace, love, prosperity, happiness.”
Photos by Larisa Pevtsova