Eight religious leaders introduced their congregations together for eight periods in one chamber. It was a hazardous move
In a small building in the foreboding darknes of Jerusalems Mount Zion, Rabba Tamar Elad-Abblebaum gazed 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 spans worn around cervixes. Others sat in the conventional pitch-black costume of the Copts, another in the Muslim hijab and various nuns in their wonts gathered together at the back of the room. Many were wearing no religion outfit at all. But they were all there to pray.
Last week, and for merely eight daytimes, a music institution in the lowest hollow of Jerusalem was be converted into a communal house of prayer, appointed Amen, bringing together Jewish, Muslim and Christian religious leaders and their flocks to worship together in one chamber. It was a sight rarely seen in this segregated municipality.
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 religion chassis 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 said: I never felt something like this is a possibility in my lifetime. Jews who live in the territories publicly praying along with Palestinians, this is a big risk and a great step. But this is not a political project; we wanted parties to come from the right and from the left and had demonstrated that faith is beyond dogma. Here, we are reshaping world and we are doing it through prayer.
She emphasised how Amen not only brought closer Israels discordant beliefs, but likewise men and women, which is almost unheard of in such inter-religious gatherings.
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