(submitted by Anatoly Gendin, Chairman of the Relgious Community of Progressive Judaism in Simferopol, Ukraine)
Continuing our ongoing involvement in the international Muslim-Jewish meeting and dialogue program known as the Weekend of Twinning, representatives of the Religious Community of Progressive Judaism in Simferopol, Ukraine, the capital of Crimea, were invited by the Muslim Community “Battal Çelebi” to their community madrasa (Sunday school) for a festive celebration of Eid al -Adha — the Muslim festival of sacrifice.
The Jewish guests at the event were welcomed by the chairman of the Muslim community “Battal Çelebi”, Timur Chelebiev. He spoke on the history of the Crimean Tatars and the traditions of friendly relations between the Jewish and Crimean Tatar communities. Afterwards Anatoly Gendin, chairman of the Religious Community of Progressive Judaism in Simferopol, spoke to the joint Muslim-Jewish audience about the commonalities of our holidays and religions, with the celebration of Eid al-Adha as an example.
Gendin noted the Eid al-Adha commemorates an event that is also one of the best known parables in the Torah, in which the Patriarch Abraham (Ibrahim in Arabic) prepared to sacrifice his son to God. The difference is that in the Muslim tradition the son who is to be sacrifices in Ishmael (Abraham’s oldest son), whereas in the Jewish tradition, it is Isaac, his younger son. In both stories, God rewards the devotion and virtue shown by Abraham by enjoining him to spare his son and sacrifice a lamb instead.
Among those who spoke at the event were Ayder Bulatov, Chair of the of the Center for Islamic Studies in Crimea, Rabbi Mikhail Kapustin of the Progressive Jewish synagogue in Simferopol, Director of Zionist youth organization “Hillel” Dina Liebman, the Imam of Battal Celebi and students as the madrasa.
Special attention during the discussion was focused on common problems facing the Jewish and Muslims communities in Crimea; including the ongoing fight against anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. Over the last few years, swastikas and other vile manifestations of xenophobic and defamatory graffiti have been repeatedly scrawled in recent months on both synagogues and mosques in Crimea. Both communities have vowed to work together against all expressions of Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and xenophobia, and to press the authorities to do more to prevent these attacks by fascist thugs.
After the meeting, we were invited to tea with traditional oriental sweets baked by women of the Muslim community. We sat together drinking tea, eating oriental sweets and making plans for our joint programs in the future. We hope to welcome all of you from around the world soon in our synagogue and mosque.
1 Anatoly Gendin (right), Eider Bulatov, Alla Liebman ( youth leader), Rabbi Mikhail Kapustin
2 Chairman of the Muslim community Battal Celebi – Timur Chelebiev entertains guests from the Jewish community.JPG
3 Sunday school children of the Muslim community Battal Celebi.JPG
4 Anatoly Gendin (left) and Eider Bulatov in the Muslim community Battal Celebi