On Monday, November 18, Rumi Forum presented a comparative reading on the prominent 13th-century Sufi mystic Jelalludin Rumi and renowned 18th-century Swedish scientist, philosopher, and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg. With Ori Z. Soltes from Georgetown University and Richard Tafel from the Church of the Holy City as speakers, we will discuss personal philosophy, legacy, and impact of these two prominent luminaries. It was a captivating exchange between Rev. Tafel and Dr. Soltes as they presented how similar two prominent mystics were in such a variety of dimensions.


Ori Z. Soltes teaches at Georgetown University across a range of disciplines, from art history and theology to philosophy and political history. He is the former Director of the B’nai B’rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum, and has curated more than 85 exhibitions there and in other venues across the country and overseas. He has authored or edited 21 books and scores of articles and essays. Some of his recent books include Our Sacred Signs: How Jewish, Christian and Muslim Art Draw from the Same Source; Searching for Oneness: Mysticism in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; Untangling the Web: Why the Middle East is a Mess and Always Has Been; and Embracing the World: Fetullah Gulen’s Thought and Its Relationship to Jelaluddin Rumi and Others.

Rev. Richard Tafel is the pastor of Church of the Holy City where he working to create a spiritual entrepreneur incubator. Rich also serves as the Director of Marcum Social Capital Advisors helping social ventures with strategy and investment opportunities. He leads a democracy project at Pepperdine School of Public Policy called the American Project. He is the co-host of two podcasts: Democracy in America and Catalyst for Change. He serves on the governing board of the National Council of Churches where is the co-facilitator of the annual Christian Muslim Dialogue. He’s a graduate of Harvard Divinity School.