Marking Ramadan & Sukkot - A Jewish-Muslim Event
October 26, 2005
The past few days have marked Holy events on both the Jewish and Muslim Calendars.
To honor the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, The Jewish Council on Urban Affairs cosponsored an Iftar at a Lakeview Synagogue for Chicago Muslims Sunday, October 23rd. The event held at the Anshe Sholom B'nai Israel Congregation (cosponsor) featured prayer, dinner, and plenty of socializing.
"It was my first time inside a Synagogue observing Jews pray," said Dina Rehab, CAIR-Chicago's Outreach Coordinator. "The Rabbi was very friendly and astute to the fact that there were guests observing, he made sure to explain things. I very much appreciated the opportunity."
The Sukkot Jewish holiday, also an agricultural festival, commemorates the forty-year period during which the children of Israel were wandering in the Sinai desert. The word "Sukkot" means "booths," and refers to the temporary dwellings that Jews were commanded to dwell in during this holiday.
After observing the prayers in the Synagogue, Muslim guests were given an opportunity to perform their own obligatory prayers in the adjacent school. On their way there, guests paused to check out a traditional Jewish structure set up in the backyard, the colorful Sukkot.
After prayer, dinner was served followed by an open session for chit chatter.
The event brought in a good number of attendees. CAIR-Chicago attendees included Safaa Zarzour, Chairman of the board; Hina Sodha, Board Member; Yaser Tabbara, Executive Director; Dina Rehab, Outreach Coordinator; Director; Ramah Kudaimi, Communications Intern; Ahmed Rehab, Director of Communications; and Veronica Zapata, Public Education Intern.
"Inviting each other to our holy places of worship to share meals and engage in conversation is a great way for Muslims and Jews to build understanding and positive relations," said Yaser Tabbara, "though we may have certain differences, we certainly have enough in common - past, present, and future- to merit meaningful interaction."
"JCUA has been invited to so many iftars in the Muslim community, it is simply our pleasure to return the hospitality. Let's make it a tradition," said Guy Izhak Austrian, Director of the Jewish-Muslim Community-Building Initiative, a program of the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs.
"We can't allow our differences to divide us absolutely, because we have so much in common as minorities, as people of faith, and as Chicagoans. It's only by working together that communities can make progress on issues like civil rights and civil liberties, religious freedom, good schools, health care, and so much more."