Eight religious leaders accompanied their parishes together for eight daylights in one area. It was a dangerous move
In a small building in the foreboding shadow of Jerusalems Mount Zion, Rabba Tamar Elad-Abblebaum ogled upon a audience sitting attentively before her. We have had a long way to go to prepare for this evening, she said with a soft smile. Today we all do something very brave.
Certainly this flock was unlike any she, the leader of an Orthodox Jewish community in Jerusalem, was used to addressing. As well as the usual meagre dress and kippah worn in her synagogue, there were some traverses worn around cervixes. Others sat in the traditional black attire of the Copts, another in the Muslim hijab and several nuns in their dress gathered together at the back of the area. Numerous were wearing no religion garment at all. But they were all there to pray.
Last week, and for merely eight eras, a music institution in the lowest hollow of Jerusalem was transformed into a communal house of prayer, mentioned Amen, bringing together Jewish, Muslim and Christian religious leaders and their congregations to worship together in one chamber. It was a sight rarely seen in this segregated municipality.
The project, part of the Jerusalem season of culture, was initiated by Elad-Abblebaum and the Muslim Sufi Sheikh Ihab Balah almost a year ago. They contacted out to six other religious figures two rabbis, a Franciscan monk, a Catholic priest, a Coptic deaconess and a female Muslim community leader who were very traditional in their beliefs and rehearses, but also open to discussions with other faiths.
Elad-Abblebaum said: I never speculated something like this is feasible in my lifetime. Jews who live in the territories publicly praying together with Palestinians, this is a big gamble and a great step. But this is not a political programme; we wanted parties to come from the right and from the left and to show that faith is beyond dogma. Here, “weve been” reshaping reality and we are doing it through prayer.
She emphasised how Amen not only brought together Israels discordant beliefs, but also men and women, which is almost unheard of in such inter-religious gatherings.
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