Hope, Understanding, and Peace: A Report on Iftar at CNS
Hope, Understanding, and Peace:
A Report on Iftar at Netivot Shalom
30 Av, 5773
Aug. 5, 2013
On Sunday, July 28th we hosted a joint event between Netivot Shalom and the Turkish Muslim community of Pacifica Institute. Nearly a hundred people joined in; most from Pacifica Institute and Netivot Shalom but also other Muslims and Jews from the great EastBaycommunity. We had presentations about fasting in the Jewish and Muslim traditions. (One of the things that we learned was that the 27thnight of Ramadan is called Laylatul Qadr or a Night of Power. It is the holiest night of the Muslim year. We were told that it is said that prayers said on this night count 1,000 fold any other time of the year. There is a tradition to stay up for the night praying, reading the Koran, asking God for forgiveness, etc.) The band Safra (made up of CNS members John Erlich and Eliana Kissner) entertained us with their border crossing music; Safra performed songs in Hebrew and Turkish. We heard the Muslim call to prayer (Azan) chanted in our sanctuary. After the one hour program, there was a break fast for those observing Ramadan and then congregational Muslim prayers were held in the Library. Then we all sat down for the community Iftar together. We ate with the food set out family style on our dinner tables. We intermixed ourselves at the tables and took the chance to make new friends and to have conversations that we wouldn't have on an ordinary night. The conversations were lively and the Social Hall was filled with joy and delight. This wasn't just people in friendship and sharing food; this was people believing that there does not need to be a division between us because some of us are Muslim and some are Jewish. There was peace in our world for the evening.
Thanks so very much to all who joined in this event. Many of us felt that it was a holy time and one more step towards more understanding and peace in the world. We have promised that our two communities shall share more special exchanges together.
Very big thanks to the many Netivot Shalom members who made this event great: To our own Rabbi Creditor for ensuring that this event happened, for sharing about Jewish traditions and for being a Rabbi and a representative of our community who reaches out to make connections to people of faiths outside of Judaism. To Marcia Brooks who handled the food from beginning to end including menu, shopping, cooking, table set up, serving and clean up. (Thanks for feeding us so well Marcia!) Barbara Bibel made cookies for the event, Ester Alkanli brought in dolmas and olives for all as well as helping with cooking on the day. There was a great team of set up help done by JudyRadousky, Shari Rifas, Dawn Kepler and Mark Snyder. April Oldenburg created beautiful flower arrangements for each table. Michael Tarle greeted guests as they arrived to Netivot Shalom. During the program, John Erlich and Eliana Kissner set the mood and opened our hearts with the music that they made. Thanks to the many who helped during and after the meal including Jennifer Massie. And huge thanks to the clean up crew that worked until just after 11PM to leave the shul spotless - Marcia Brooks, Robert Laib, John Erlich, Helen Schneider, Judy Radousky and Art and Sheila Braufman!
I had a beautiful day today. I stood with my sister, a passionate rabbi serving the U.S. Navy as a chaplain, at the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. We remembered our grandfather of blessed memory, who fought for America and shared hard-earned wisdom with his children and grandchildren.
I looked to my right and saw the Washington Monument. Looked to my left at the Lincoln Memorial. I read quotes engraved on massive stones. And I felt, to my core, one sad feeling: too much war.
Too. Much. War.
The quotes and certain retellings of history would have me believe that we fought for pure purposes: we fought for religious freedom, we fought to end slavery, we fought for freedom for all humanity, we fought to end tyranny. But it's also true that we fought (and fight) for economic interests. It&…