Eight religious leaders brought their gatherings together for eight days in one chamber. It was a dangerous move
In a small building in the foreboding darknes of Jerusalems Mount Zion, Rabba Tamar Elad-Abblebaum seemed upon a bunch sitting attentively before her. We have had a long way to go to prepare for this evening, she alleged with a soft smile. Today we all do something very brave.
Certainly this parish was unlike any she, the leader of an Orthodox Jewish community in Jerusalem, was used to addressing. As well as the usual modest dress and kippah wear in her synagogue, there were some pass worn around cervixes. Others sat in the traditional black robes of the Copts, another in the Muslim hijab and several nuns in their attires to gather at the back of the room. Many were wearing no religious outfit at all. But they were all there to pray.
Last week, and for exactly eight daytimes, a music institution in the lowest depression 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 chamber. It was a sight rarely seen in this segregated city.
The project, part of the Jerusalem season of culture, was launched by Elad-Abblebaum and the Muslim Sufi Sheikh Ihab Balah almost a year ago. They contacted out to six other religious representations 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 traditions, but also open to discussions with other faiths.
Elad-Abblebaum read: I never imagined something like this would be possible in my lifetime. Jews who live in the territories publicly praying along with Palestinians, this is a big jeopardy and a huge step. But this is not a political activity; we wanted beings to come from the right and from the left and to show that faith is beyond ideology. Here, “weve been” reshaping actuality and we are doing it through prayer.
She emphasised how Amen not only brought together Israels discordant religions, but likewise men and women, which is almost unheard of in such inter-religious gatherings.
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