Eight religious leaders fetched their gatherings together for eight daytimes in one chamber. It was a dangerous move
In a small building in the foreboding shadow of Jerusalems Mount Zion, Rabba Tamar Elad-Abblebaum looked upon a bunch 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 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 worn in her synagogue, there were some bridges worn around necks. Others sat in the traditional pitch-black robes of the Copts, another in the Muslim hijab and several nuns in their habits gathered together at the back of the area. Numerous were wearing no religious garb at all. But they were all there to pray.
Last week, and for just eight epoches, a music institution in the lowest valley of Jerusalem was be converted into a communal house of prayer, named Amen, bringing together Jewish, Muslim and Christian religious leaders and their gatherings to worship together in one room. It was a sight rarely seen in this segregated metropolitan.
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 religious representations 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 likewise open to discussions with other faiths.
Elad-Abblebaum did: I never felt something like this would be possible in my lifetime. Jews who live in the territories publicly praying along with Palestinians, this is a big gamble and a huge step. But this is not a political project; we wanted beings to come from the right and from the left and have demonstrated that faith is beyond ideology. Here, we are reshaping actuality and we are doing it through prayer.
She emphasised how Amen not only brought together Israels discordant beliefs, but likewise men and women, which is almost unheard of in such inter-religious gatherings.
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