Eight religious leaders introduced their gatherings together for eight dates in one chamber. It was a dangerous move
In a small building in the foreboding shadow of Jerusalems Mount Zion, Rabba Tamar Elad-Abblebaum seemed upon a mob 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 congregation 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 wear in her synagogue, there were some sweeps worn around necks. Others sat in the conventional black attire of the Copts, another in the Muslim hijab and various nuns in their practices to gather at the back of the room. Numerous were wearing no religion outfit at all. But they were all there to pray.
Last week, and for exactly eight days, a music institution in the lowest valley 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 municipality.
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 reached out to six other religion fleshes 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 rehearsals, but likewise open to discussions with other faiths.
Elad-Abblebaum said: I never believed 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 activity; we wanted people to come from the right and from the left and had demonstrated that faith is beyond dogma. 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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