Eight religious leaders drew their parishes together for eight days in one area. It was a dangerous move
In a small building in the foreboding shadow of Jerusalems Mount Zion, Rabba Tamar Elad-Abblebaum gazed upon a mob 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 congregation 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 wear in her synagogue, there were some crisscross worn around necks. Others sat in the traditional pitch-black robes of the Copts, another in the Muslim hijab and various nuns in their attires be gathered at the back of the room. Many were wearing no religion garment at all. But they were all there to pray.
Last week, and for exactly eight dates, a music school in the lowest hollow of Jerusalem was transformed into a communal house of prayer, called Amen, bringing together Jewish, Muslim and Christian religious leaders and their gatherings to worship together in one area. It was a sight rarely seen in this segregated municipality.
The project, part of the Jerusalem season of culture, was launched by Elad-Abblebaum and the Muslim Sufi Sheikh Ihab Balah nearly a year ago. They contacted out to six other religion figures two rabbis, a Franciscan monk, a Catholic priest, a Coptic deaconess and a female Muslim community leader who were very conventional in their beliefs and rules, but too open to discussions with other faiths.
Elad-Abblebaum said: I never guessed something like this would be possible in my lifetime. Jews who live in the territories publicly praying together with Palestinians, this is a big jeopardy and a huge step. But this is not a political programme; we wanted parties to come from the right and from the left and to demonstrate that faith is beyond ideology. Here, “weve been” reshaping reality and we are doing it through prayer.
She emphasised how Amen is not simply brought closer Israels discordant religions, but likewise men and women, which is almost unheard of in such inter-religious gatherings.
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