Eight religious leaders created their flocks 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 ogled upon a audience 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 meagre dress and kippah wear in her synagogue, there were some intersects worn around cervixes. Others sat in the conventional black gown of the Copts, another in the Muslim hijab and several nuns in their attires gathered together at the back of the area. Many were wearing no religion garment at all. But they were all there to pray.
Last week, and for only eight epoches, a music academy in the lowest valley of Jerusalem is turning into a communal house of prayer, mentioned Amen, bringing together Jewish, Muslim and Christian religious leaders and their parishes to worship together in one room. It was a sight rarely seen in this segregated metropoli.
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 figures 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 patterns, but too open to discussions with other faiths.
Elad-Abblebaum spoke: I never speculated 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 programme; we wanted beings to come from the right and from the left and to show that faith is beyond dogma. Here, “were about” reshaping reality and we are doing it through prayer.
She emphasised how Amen not only brought together Israels discordant religions, but too men and women, which is almost unheard of in such inter-religious gatherings.
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