Bob and Diane Frankle, the founders of Building Bridges Together™, have been married more than 40 years. Bob is a practicing Jew and a member of a local Reform synagogue where he serves on the Board of Directors. Diane is a practicing Christian, a member of a local Episcopal Church where she has served on the Vestry (the governing board of the church) and as Lay Eucharistic Minister.
Bob and Diane respect deeply each other’s faith and religious traditions. They value insights derived from their diverse religious experiences. They raised two sons, who were both bar mitzvah and confirmed at their synagogue, and also attended Christmas and Easter services with the family.
A “bridge” between the church and synagogue runs through their home. Bob and Diane developed a vision that Christians and Jews would be strong allies for each other in healing the world, standing up to bigotry and hate. The key to such alliances was relationship building through dialogue and shared experiences. Inspired by an earlier program offered by the Union for Reform Judaism, “Open Doors, Open Minds: Synagogues and Churches Studying Together - A Guide for Jewish Christian Dialogue,” Bob and Diane developed a new curriculum to promote interfaith dialogue between Christians and Jews.
Building Bridges—An Interfaith Dialogue was launched in June 2013, with the primary objective to build trust relationships among participants from Christian and Jewish faith communities. This multi-session dinner program has been offered seven times, and now has more than 160 alumni. Four different churches and two synagogues have served as sponsors for these seven programs. Beyond the introductory program, strong alumni programming has included annual Interfaith Passover Seders and opportunities for further dialogue among alumni on books, films and religious and spiritual topics.
A project to develop a new tri-faith curriculum to promote interfaith dialogue with Christians, Jews and Muslims began in 2019. Bob and Diane founded Building Bridges Together™, a non-profit devoted to promoting interfaith dialogue, and Phil Palmer, a member of a local Episcopal church, and a long-time Building Bridges facilitator, joined our Board of Directors and management team.
Our Interfaith Advisory Board began work together to develop a new Tri-Faith Interfaith Bridges curriculum in 2019, and we continued this work via Zoom during the 2020-2021 COVID pandemic. We had 14 participants actively involved—here are some of us on a Zoom call late in 2020! We continued our program development work into 2022. In January 2022 Oktay Erbil, a member of our Interfaith Advisory Group and a key contributor to our Interfaith Bridges program resources, joined our Board.
Our Interfaith Bridges™ program is now available. We offer bi-faith (Christianity/Judaism, Judaism/Islam and Islam/Christianity) and tri-faith (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) versions of our Interfaith Bridges program. Check out our description of our Interfaith Bridges program on our website!
Our friend Don Frederico recently interviewed us for his podcast series, Higher Callings. He said: "Bob and Diane Frankle are an interfaith couple who have developed and launched a program to bring together Christians, Jews, and Muslims for meaningful dialogue about their faith traditions and to build enriching friendships among them. In this episode of Higher Callings, they discuss their interfaith marriage and family life, and the work of their nonprofit organization, Building Bridges Together." Check out the podcast here!
Gesher Tzar Me’od
כל העולם כולו גשר צר מאוד, והעיקר – לא לפחד כלל
Kol ha’olam kulo gesher tzar me’od,
veha’ikar lo le’fached klal.
All the world is a very narrow bridge,
and the most important thing is not to be afraid.
Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, 1772-1810
Link to video of song https://youtu.be/U7fJLHGrDkc