Printer Friendly Format Email a Friend

PR- 365-04
December 31, 2004


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today hosted religious leaders from the City's five boroughs who represent a variety of faiths including Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Baptist, Hinduism and Buddhism at the Mayor's 4th Annual Interfaith Breakfast.  Mayor Bloomberg, joined by former New York City Mayors David N. Dinkins and Edward I. Koch, New York Public Library's President and CEO Dr. Paul LeClerc, and New York City Housing Authority Youth Chorus, met with religious leaders at The New York Public Library.  

"For 400 years, this city has stood as a beacon of religious tolerance and cooperation to the rest of the world," said Mayor Bloomberg.  "Our forefathers vowed to create a place where everyone - regardless of color or creed - could observe their faith, and pursue their dreams. Although that ideal has been challenged over the history of our City, generations of New Yorkers have worked to ensure that it still remains true.  Today, I am proud to join with people of faith to reaffirm our commitment to each other and honor our diversity of faith and beliefs."     

Religious leaders participating in The Mayor's Interfaith Breakfast includes:

Iman Hilmi Akdaq is one of the founders of the Fatih Camii mosque in Brooklyn.  He is also the president of the United American Muslim Association of New York.   

Rabbi Saul Berman is the director of Edah in Manhattan, an organization devoted to the invigoration of modern Orthodox ideology and religious life.  He has made extensive contributions to the intensification of women's Jewish education, to the role of social ethics in Synagogue life, and to the understanding of the applicability of Jewish Law to contemporary society.  He is an Associate Professor of Jewish Studies at Stern College.

Venerable Bhante Kondannna is the spiritual leader of the Staten Island Buddhist Vihara, a Sri Lankan temple. The Staten Island Vihara in the borough's Elm Park neighborhood serves as the focal point for the island's expanding Sri Lankan community. The temple belongs to the South Asian, Theravada tradition and offers chanting and meditation ceremonies for locals as well as Buddhists throughout the tri-state area. 

Rev. Ms. Rosemary B. McNatt is minister of The Fourth Universalist Society in the City of New York, a 165-year old Unitarian Universalist congregation on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.  Before answering the call to ordained ministry, Rev. Ms. McNatt was an editor for The New York Times Book Review and a widely anthologized writer for more than 20 years.

Currently she serves as a member of the Association's Panel on Theological Education and is a founder of the Unitarian Universalist Trauma Response Ministry, created to provide culturally sensitive liberal religious responses to mass disaster and other significant trauma.  She was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, and is a graduate of Yale University and Drew Theological Seminary.  The Rev. Ms. McNatt lives in New York City with her husband, Robert, and their two sons, Allen and Daniel.

Rev. Fernando Rodriguez is president of the Latin American Chaplains Association (L.A.C.A). He also founded and is pastor of One Way to Heaven Christian Center located in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx.  Rev. Rodriguez also established the Christian radio station, Radio Renancer.  

The New York City Housing Authority Youth Chorus was established to provide an opportunity for youth to participate in year-round performing arts activity. Chorus members study music history, theory, vocal technique, and movement, and learn and perform a repertoire that includes Classical, Gospel, Pop, and Latin music.

"As we step into 2005, I ask for your blessings, your guidance, and the assistance of you and your congregations as we continue to rebuild our City and make every neighborhood in the five boroughs safer, healthier, and more prosperous," said Mayor Bloomberg to the assembled leaders.


Edward Skyler / Paul Elliott   (212) 788-2958

More Resources
View the photos
Watch the video in 56k or 300k