Eight religious leaders delivered their congregations together for eight eras in one chamber. It was a dangerous move
In a small building in the foreboding darknes of Jerusalems Mount Zion, Rabba Tamar Elad-Abblebaum searched 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 meagre dress and kippah tattered in her synagogue, there were some intersections worn around cervixes. Others sat in the conventional black garb of the Copts, another in the Muslim hijab and several nuns in their dress to gather at the back of the chamber. Many were wearing no religious garb at all. But they were all there to pray.
Last week, and for precisely eight periods, a music academy in the lowest depression of Jerusalem was be converted into a communal house of prayer, called Amen, bringing together Jewish, Muslim and Christian religious leaders and their flocks to worship together in one area. 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 nearly a year ago. They contacted 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 practises, but also open to discussions with other faiths.
Elad-Abblebaum said: I never believed something like this would be possible in my lifetime. Jews who live in the territories publicly praying together with Palestinians, this is a big probability and a great step. But this is not a political projection; 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 not only brought together Israels discordant beliefs, but also men and women, which is almost unheard of in such inter-religious gatherings.
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