Eight religious leaders produced their parishes together for eight periods 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 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 gathering 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 tattered in her synagogue, there were some spans worn around cervixes. Others sat in the traditional black costume of the Copts, another in the Muslim hijab and various nuns in their garbs gathered together at the back of the room. Numerous were wearing no religious outfit at all. But they were all there to pray.
Last week, and for merely eight periods, a music academy in the lowest hollow of Jerusalem was transformed into a communal house of prayer, identified 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, the members 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 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 rules, but too open to discussions with other faiths.
Elad-Abblebaum said: 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 threat and a huge step. But this is not a political assignment; we wanted people to come from the right and from the left and had demonstrated that faith is beyond ideology. Here, the administration is reshaping actuality and we are doing it through prayer.
She emphasised how Amen is not merely brought together Israels discordant religions, but too men and women, which is almost unheard of in such inter-religious gatherings.
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