Interfaith dinner to focus on ‘the water we share’

By Stephanie Smartschan
JFLV Director of Community 
Development & Operations

The Lehigh Dialogue Center is partnering with the Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter, the Jewish Federation of the Lehigh Valley and the Lehigh Conference of Churches to present its 16th Annual Friendship Dinner on Thursday, Feb. 20.

The interfaith dinner, hosted by the Jewish Community Center of the Lehigh Valley, is open to all and will focus on the impact of flooding in our community.

“This is an issue we are all going to have to deal with going into the future,” said Rachel Rosenfeld, community outreach coordinator for the Sierra Club Pennsylvania Chapter. “This dinner will focus on what we can do as a community, as a group of organized faiths, to bring about awareness and action.”

David Brandes, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Lafayette College, will give the keynote address. He will speak about our regional climate and the impact of flooding, cross-collaborative mitigation strategies, as well as the importance of protecting the water quality of the Delaware and Lehigh Rivers from storm water runoff.

Rabbi Seth Phillips of Congregation Keneseth Israel, the Rev. Dr. Larry Pickens from the Lehigh Conference of Churches and a representative of the Muslim community will discuss the water we share from a religious perspective. 

“We are trying to give the message to the whole community that each religion and the scientific community, that we are all on the same page that it’s important to conserve our environment,” said M. Said Selmanlar, president of the Lehigh Dialogue Center.

The “Friendship Dinner” on Thursday, Feb. 20, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the JCC is free and open to everyone. Registration is required. To register, call 484-893-0584 or visit