Eight religious leaders brought their congregations together for eight daytimes in one area. It was a dangerous move
In a small building in the foreboding darknes of Jerusalems Mount Zion, Rabba Tamar Elad-Abblebaum gazed 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 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 tattered in her synagogue, there were some pass worn around necks. Others sat in the conventional pitch-black attire of the Copts, another in the Muslim hijab and various nuns in their practices gathered together 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 just eight dates, a music institution in the lowest depression of Jerusalem was transformed into a communal house of prayer, mentioned Amen, bringing together Jewish, Muslim and Christian religious leaders and their flocks to worship together in one room. It was a sight rarely seen in this segregated city.
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 religion digits 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 practices, but also open to discussions with other faiths.
Elad-Abblebaum said: I never believed something like this would be possible in my lifetime. Jews who live in the territories publicly praying along with Palestinians, this is a big peril and a huge step. But this is not a political projection; we wanted parties to come from the right and from the left and to demonstrate that faith is beyond dogma. Here, “weve been” reshaping reality and we are doing it through prayer.
She emphasised how Amen not only brought closer Israels discordant religions, but likewise men and women, which is almost unheard of in such inter-religious gatherings.
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