Eight religious leaders brought their flocks together for eight days in one room. It was a dangerous move
In a small building in the foreboding shadow of Jerusalems Mount Zion, Rabba Tamar Elad-Abblebaum looked upon a gathering sitting attentively before her. We have had a long way to go to prepare for this evening, she read 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 bridges worn around necks. Others sat in the traditional black robes of the Copts, another in the Muslim hijab and various nuns in their habits gathered together at the back of the chamber. Many were wearing no religious clothe at all. But they were all there to pray.
Last week, and for merely eight days, 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 metropolitan.
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 reached out to six other religious illustrations 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 rules, but likewise open to discussions with other faiths.
Elad-Abblebaum added: I never accepted 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 great step. But this is not a political projection; we wanted parties to come from the right and from the left and to show that faith is beyond dogma. Here, we are reshaping world and we are doing it through prayer.
She emphasised how Amen is not simply brought together Israels discordant religions, but also men and women, which is almost unheard of in such inter-religious gatherings.
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