Bradford synagogue saved by city’s Muslims

Bradford synagogue saved by city’s Muslims

Faced with closure a year ago, today Bradford’s synagogue’s future is bright, a model of cross-cultural co-operation
by Helen Pidd, The GuardianFriday 20 December 2013 10.25 EST
Bradford Synagogue

Zulfi Karim, secretary of Bradford Council of Mosques, and Rudi Leavor, chairman of the Bradford Reform Synagogue. Photograph: Gary Calton

It was around this time last year that the trustees of Bradford‘s final remaining synagogue faced a tough choice. The roof of the Grade II-listed Moorish building was leaking; there was serious damage to the eastern wall, where the ark held the Torah scrolls; and there was no way the modest subscriptions paid annually by the temple’s 45 members could cover the cost.

Rudi Leavor, the synagogue’s 87-year-old chairman, reluctantly proposed the nuclear option: to sell the beautiful 132-year-old building, forcing the congregation to go 10 miles to Leeds to worship.

It was a terrible proposition, coming just after the city’s only Orthodox synagogue had shut its doors in November 2012, unable to regularly gather 10 men for the Minyan, the quorum of 10 Jewish male adults required for certain religious obligations.

But rather than close, Bradford Reform Synagogue’s future is brighter than ever after the intervention of Bradford’s Muslim community, which according to the 2011 census outnumbers the city’s Jews by 129,041 to 299.

A fundraising effort – led by the secretary of a nearby mosque, together with the owner of a popular curry house and a local textile magnate – has secured the long-term future of the synagogue and forged a friendship between Bradfordian followers of Islam and Judaism. All things being well, by Christmas the first tranche of £103,000 of lottery money will have reached the synagogue’s bank account after some of Bradford’s most influential Muslims helped Leavor and other Jews to mount a bid.

This burgeoning relationship is perhaps unexpected. When David Ward, one of the city’s MPs, had the Liberal Democrat whip withdrawn over disparaging remarks about “the Jews” and Israel as an “apartheid state”, he was publicly supported by many of his Muslim constituents. George Galloway, the Respect MP for Bradford West and an open opponent of Israel, has organised convoys to Gaza and was praised by many of his voters after refusing to engage in a debate with an Israeli student at Oxford University earlier this year.

The cross-cultural co-operation is warmly welcomed by Leavor, who moved to the city from Berlin as a refugee in 1937. “It’s fantastic,” he said this week, in a joint interview with Zulfi Karim, secretary of Bradford Council of Mosques. “Rudi is my new found big brother,” said Karim, who is on the board at the central Westgate mosque a few hundred metres up the road from the synagogue. “It makes me proud that we can protect our neighbours and at the same time preserve an important part of Bradford’s cultural heritage.”

Bradford synagogue

A fundraising effort led by the secretary of a nearby mosque has secured the long-term future of the synagogue. Photograph: Gary Calton

Now the two men get on so well that when Leavor goes on holiday he gives the synagogue keys to Karim, as well as the alarm code. They have begun what they hope will be a lasting tradition, whereby the Jewish community invites local Muslims and Christians to an oneg shabbat (Friday night dinner) and Muslims return the invitation for a Ramadan feast and Christians during the harvest festival. For the latter, Karim provided halal mince for the shepherd’s pie.

At the start of December, Karim and other Muslims attended a hanukah service at the synagogue. Yet until a year ago, Karim didn’t even realise the synagogue existed. “The Jewish community kept themselves to themselves,” he said. Since the last race riots in the city in 2001, there has been no sign to mark the building. “We didn’t want to be the cause of potential trouble, so we took the plaque down over 10 years ago,” said Leavor, who said there was an incident a few years ago when one man left the synagogue wearing his kippah, or skull cap, and was spat at by two Pakistani men passing in a car.

The Muslims only started to help the synagogue by chance, explains Leavor. He had been approached by Zulficar Ali, owner of Bradford’s popular Sweet Centre restaurant, which is just a few doors away from the synagogue. Ali wanted Leavor to help oppose a planning permission for yet another curry house in the area. Leavor agreed and together managed to block the application. Ali then introduced Leavor to a local social enterprise, the Carlisle Business Centre, which awards grants to worthy causes. They gave several hundred pounds for emergency roof repairs, and a local businessman, Khalid Pervais, donated a further £1,400.

It was only after getting involved that Karim learned that the mill where his father worked after emigrating from Pakistan in the 1960s was run by a Jewish descendant of Joseph Strauss, the rabbi who founded the synagogue in 1880.

Once all of the lottery funding comes through, together with £25,000 pledged by Bradford Council, work will begin to renovate the synagogue. The kitchen will be cleared up, disabled access will be improved and it will open for educational visits from school groups throughout the week. Karim is convinced such initiatives will help build tolerance. “You look at those who killed Lee Rigby, supposedly in the name of Islam. The question is: what makes these young men so radicalised, so angry, so intolerant? I really, really deeply, strongly feel that the way forward is interfaith dialogue – perhaps through food, perhaps through visiting a synagogue or other places of worship.”

DEELNEMERS INTERRELIGEUZE REIS VAN RABAT NAAR FEZ

BRUSSEL (KerkNet) – Zondagavond is een groep van een 30-tal deelnemers vertrokken voor een vierdaags bezoek aan Marokko. Doel van de vijfdaagse reis is een bredere kennismaking met de hedendaagse realiteit van de Marokkaanse samenleving, in het bijzonder wat het samenleven tussen moslims, joden en christenen betreft.

Dinsdagmiddag werd het gezelschap ontvangen door de Raad van Oelema’s of Raad van Theologen. De raad is een soort raad van wijzen, die een sterke referentiewaarde heeft voor het Marokkaanse volk. Ze hebben leergezag en oriënteren de manier waarop de imams het woord voeren in de moskeeën. Ze nemen ook beslissingen in belangrijke geloofsaangelegenheden. De Marokkaanse moskeeën in ons land voelen er zich nauw bij betrokken. De secretaris-generaal van de raad wordt met veel respect behandeld. In de rangorde staat hij direct onder de minister van Religieuze Zaken en koning Mohammed VI, waarvan een van de eretitels luidt: commandeur van het geloof. In zijn welkomstwoord onderstreepte de secretaris-generaal dat het voor hemzelf en de theologen een groot genoegen en eer is om het buitenlandse gezelschap te mogen ontvangen. Van de raad waren ook vier vrouwelijke leden aanwezig. Ook zij zijn theologen en houden zich vooral bezig met pastorale activiteiten in verband met vrouwen, zoals bijvoorbeeld het begeleiden van weduwen. De Raad van Theologen werkt aan een charter dat moet herinneren aan het wederzijdse respect en verdraagzaamheid tussen de grote godsdiensten van het Boek. Rabbijn Albert Guigui van zijn kant herinnerde eraan dat de Marokkaanse koning de Joden in Marokko in bescherming heeft genomen.

In Marokko vormen islam en volk één onlosmakelijk geheel. Als ik tegenover een van de jonge Belgische moskeeverantwoordelijken, die tot ons reisgezelschap behoort, opmerk dat men in Marokko geboren wordt als Marokkaan én moslim, antwoordt hij dat het nog niet eens zo lang geleden in Europa niet anders was, maar dan met het christendom… De geschiedenis heeft aangetoond dat dit niet altijd even probleemloos verliep en dat de verdeeldheid onder de christenen tot zware conflicten heeft geleid. Maar we zijn in 2013… Hoe kunnen religieuze en historische ervaringen in dialoog worden gedeeld en wel zo dat ze het iedereen mogelijk maken die broederlijkheid, waarover alle religieuze vertegenwoordigers die hier in Marokko aanwezig zijn en de plaatselijke verantwoordelijken het hebben, met elkaar te delen?

Vandaag woensdag zijn de deelnemers van de interreligieuze reis te gast in Fez. Vanmorgen bezochten ze een synagoge. Voor rabbijn Guigui was het een bijzonder moment. Een deel van zijn familie is immers afkomstig uit de omgeving. Hij gaf het woord aan een vertegenwoordiger van elke godsdienst om daarna een synthese daarvan op te dragen in een gebed. Het was een gedenkwaardig moment waarin iets van Gods aanwezigheid voelbaar was, een moment van inwendige vrede. Zoals gewoonlijk sloot hij af met een verhaaltje, over een kleine herder die niet kon bidden, maar zo prachtig fluit speelde dat op zijn verzoek God zijn gebed het allermooiste vond. Het was immers de puurste uitdrukking van het hart van de kleine herder.

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Gedachtewisseling over het gebed in de synagoge van Fez Bron: TS

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Ontmoeting tussen rabbijn Albert Guigui en de secretaris-generaal van de Raad van Theologen Bron: TS

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Het dagelijkse leven in Fez Bron: TS

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(Kerknet)

Nelson Mandela

By Rabbi Ralph Genende
(Participant of the Mission of Muslim and Jewish leaders from the Southern Hemisphere in 2013)
12/12/2013

Growing up in apartheid South Africa, the name Mandela was one to be feared and reviled; the most famous prisoner and terrorist who preached armed resistance and fomented rebellion. As a child I was apprehensive about the graffiti scrawled on the wall: “Free Nelson Mandela”. A proud, invisible (images and photos of him were banned) and articulate black man in a racist white society who dared to declare: “Freedom will come to South Africa one day; even if you hang me it will give inspiration to others.”

I knew that Mandela had been employed in his first job by a Jewish lawyer (Lazar Sidelsky), that his wife Winnie was a strident woman who stood by her husband, that he was imprisoned on Robben Island. What I didn’t know, what most South Africans didn’t know and the world may only have sensed was that “a great prince in prison lies”. That this windswept barren island not far off the beautiful Cape Coast was nurturing a spirit that would one day stun the world. As Mandela himself wrote from prison: “The cell is an ideal place to learn to know yourself…we tend to concentrate on external factors such as one’s social position, wealth…but internal factors may be more crucial in assessing our development as human beings. Honesty, sincerity, simplicity, humility, pure generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve others”.

Nelson Mandela didn’t become an icon because he was of royal African lineage; in fact his early life was marked by simplicity and relative poverty. He was in many ways an angry young man buffeted by strong impulses – as Oliver Tambo said of the young prisoner: “As a man, Nelson Mandela is passionately emotional, sensitive, quickly stung to bitterness and retaliation by insult and patronage.” He was, in his youth, a comrade in the arms struggle with a natural air of authority and even arrogance. He was criticised for issuing statements without consultation or permission of the ANC Executive. He was unabashedly forward; his son recalled him as a young man saying: “One day I will be President of South Africa.” In many ways he was like the young Biblical Joseph, preternaturally aware of his prodigious talent and gifts but not mature enough to recognise the impact of his vision on others.

Nelson Mandela became an icon precisely because he was a flawed man who came to recognise his frailties, overcome his shortcomings and rise above his own personal needs to heal a wounded people and lead a fractured society into a peaceful rainbow nation. When “Chazon”, a vision of destruction and chaos beckoned, Nelson preached: “Nachamu, Nachamu, ami” – find comfort and conciliation oh my beloved people, cry no more oh my beloved country…

Nelson Mandela enjoyed the limelight and was aware that his iconic status gave him extraordinary access to power and influence, but he never forgot he was a fallible human being. He became uncomfortable with the carefully calibrated biography designed (and edited by the ANC leadership) to portray him as almost perfect (‘Long Walk to Freedom’) and issued the more personal and intimate ‘Conversations with Myself’. In it he wrote “In real life we deal, not with gods, but with ordinary human beings; men and women who are full of contradictions, who are stable and fickle, strong and weak, famous and infamous”.

He became an inspiration to billions across the world because he was just a man; he became a light to the nations because he was just a man who made himself into all that we call best in man. He is an inspiration to me as a Jew because he represents some of the highest values our Torah guides us towards: courage, restraint, humility, integrity, dignity, compassion but perhaps above all the power and potency of forgiveness. He fulfilled the Torah’s prescriptions not to avenge or bear a grudge with breathtaking precision. It didn’t come easy for him, his jailers were particularly cruel not even allowing him to attend his son’s funeral. He distrusted and felt betrayed by President FW de Klerk, but despite this he observed and knew too well: “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies”. He is an inspiration to me as a rabbi because he was an extraordinary leader, guiding his people with wisdom, self-deprecation and steely strength. His very names indicate this: his birth name Rolihlahla, the pulling of the branch or a tree or the one who disturbs the established order; Nelson (the English name given to him on his first day at school) after the great English naval commentator and strategist known for his bravery; Madiba his popular clan name which means reconciler and literally the filler of ditches.

Mandela may not have been an admirer of Israel and the ANC and its leadership have not forgotten Israel’s support (especially military) of the apartheid government. Notwithstanding this he was a friend of the Jews of South Africa and always acknowledged his first Jewish employers and the support they gave him.

In a meeting with Abraham Foxman (of the ADL) and American Jewish leaders in 1990, Mandela reflected a nuanced and pragmatic approach to Israel and expressed his unequivocal support for Israel’s right to exist. He also spoke of his profound respect for Ben Gurion, Golda Meir and Menachem Begin. Foxman recalled this meeting as a magnificent encounter “in the sense that Mandela said to us, “Look I appreciate what the Jewish Community has done for me. On the other hand, if the test of my friendship is that I have to be an enemy of your enemy, then I cannot be your friend…[In prison] I needed the support of anybody I could get. And Arafat gave me support. And Castro gave me support”. In view of the new South Africa’s ambivalent relationship with Israel, the decision by PM Bibi Netanyahu not to attend the Mandela Memorial Service was confounding and disappointing; the excuse of inadequate funds was simply insulting. Netanyahu squandered an opportunity to show statesmanship and heal a difficult relationship.

Nelson Mandela knew too well that a leader must both afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. He also followed the Torah’s guiding principles of leadership. “Appoint a man over the nation who shall go out in front to them, who shall take them out and bring them in…a man in whom there is spirit…place some of your majesty upon him” (Numbers 27:15-21). He exemplified leading from the front but he also knew what it was to lead from the back, to share the limelight and emulate Lincoln who once said: “It is wise to persuade people to do things and make them think it is their own idea.” He was a man in whom there was an abundance of spirit; he was principled, saw the good in others and believed that love makes the difference (see Richard Stengel’s portrait of Mandela’s extraordinary leadership).

During his long illness the South African Jewish community was as transfixed on the ailing giant as any other group in South Africa. On a visit to South Africa earlier this year, we went past the Houghton home of Mandela on several occasions to look at the tributes on the sidewalk, to hear the heartfelt voices raised in prayer and song. One of the colourful tributes read: “Yiddish Folk Kids (a Yiddish school) are following in Madiba’s footsteps” another in the shape of a heart simply said: “Madiba, We love you – please get better soon. All our love – Oxford Shule Pre-school.” The Chief Rabbi of South Africa’s prayer composed for Nelson Mandela summed up both the sentiment and the significance of this great leader and extraordinary human being:
“We are grateful for his courage and dignity in adversity and for his mighty power of forgiveness which helped create this great nation. We are grateful for how he united us, and served as a dedicated and humble President…we ask you oh Lord to…inspire our hearts to walk in the path of Nelson Mandela, to live up to his majestic legacy.”

When I heard that Mandela had died, I like so many across the world, felt a sense of personal loss. It also seemed that, as the rabbis put it, when a righteous man dies, the place in which he lived loses something of its spark, its beauty and its majesty. The world is diminished by his departure. After JFK was assassinated, his widow Jackie lamented “So now he is a legend when he would have preferred to be a man.” Nelson Mandela always preferred to be a man; he reminded us that a saint is a sinner who keeps on trying. He kept on trying and so inspired us to keep on going, to persist and never to stop trying to become our best selves. President Obama’s magnificent speech at the Memorial Service (which I only heard after I wrote this piece) captured Madiba, the man and his momentous achievements magnificently: “And while I will always fall short of Madiba’s example, he makes me want to be better. He speaks to what is best inside us. After this great liberator is laid to rest; when we have returned to our cities and villages, and rejoined our daily routines, let us search then for his strength – for his largeness of spirit – somewhere inside ourselves. And when the night grows dark, when injustice weighs heavy on our hearts, or our best laid plans seem beyond our reach – think of Madiba…”

LANDMARK CONFERENCE IN TUNIS COMMEMORATES NAZI PERSECUTION OF TUNISIAN JEWS DURING THE HOLOCAUST AND TUNISIAN MUSLIMS WHO SAVED JEWS

Several of Tunisia’s leading intellectuals and an American scholar of the Holocaust vowed Saturday to keep alive memory of the Nazi persecution and incarceration of Tunisian Jewry of Tunisian Muslims who risked their lives to save them during a landmark conference in Tunis on Saturday, December 14.

The conference, one of the first events focusing on the Holocaust ever to be held in an Arab country, was sponsored by the Tunisian Association Supporting Minorities, a Tunis-based NGO which works to defend the rights of the country’s tiny Jewish community, and by the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU), a New York-based not-for-profit which endeavors to strengthen Muslim-Jewish relations in countries around the world. The conference in Tunis was part of FFEU’s annual International Weekend of Twinning, during which thousands of Muslims and Jews in more than 30 countries around the world held joint events promoting Muslim-Jewish understanding and trust. The Tunis event is the only one being held in an Arab country.

The conference commemorated an event—the Nazi roundup and incarceration in labor camps of some 5000 Tunisian Jews during their six month occupation of the country in 1942-43–that is nearly a taboo subject in Tunisia today. While a few of the Tunisian Jewish detainees were deported to the death camps of Europe, the vast majority survived their incarceration because of the rapid Allied military conquest of the country in the spring of 1943.

Among those speaking at the conference in Tunis were Tunisian historians, Habib Kazdaghli and Abdelkrim Allegui, Moroccan documentary filmmaker Kamal Hachkar, and Robert Satloff, executive director of the of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and director of the documentary film Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust’s Long Reach into Arab Lands, who addressed the conference via Skype from his home in Washington.

Addressing a crowd of about 60 academics, intellectuals and ordinary Tunisians, Kazdaghli, Dean of Humanities at Manouba University, remarked, “It is necessary to shine a light on our true history and make it known to the public. The history of the deportation of Jews is our history and touches every one of us in our humanity…We must show our new generations the Jewish history of our country…”

TASM executive director Yamina Thabet informed the audience, “Our work at this conference is to prevent amnesia and to ensure that something as terrible as the Holocaust should never happen again.” According to Thabet, “The terrible events of 1942-43 show us that we must be vigilant today in defending the rights of all Tunisians—including Jews and other minorities—threatened by religious extremists who in recent months have been allowed to attack their fellow citizens with near impunity.”

In his remarks to the conference, Satloff, whose film narrates the stories of Tunisian Muslims who saved Jews from the Nazis, including Khaled Abdelwahhab, who successfully hid more than 20 Jews in a factory on his property, remarked, “Along with the dark side of history, there was also light – stories of Arabs who helped Jews and even risked their lives to protect Jews. These are important stories. They deserve to be remembered, by both Jews and Arabs. It is important to remember the stories of evil and the stories of hope.”

Rabbi Marc Schneier, President of FFEU, commented, “We are honored to co-sponsor the conference in Tunis together with the Tunisian Association Supporting Minorities. The theme of this year’s International Weekend of Twinning is Jews standing up for Muslims and Muslims Standing Up for Jews. There are no more inspiring examples of this phenomenon than Yamina Thabet and her fellow activists of the Tunisian Association Supporting Minorities.”

Muslim Jewish Twinning in Atlanta

Report from Rabbi David Spirad, The Temple:

Atlanta’s Muslim-Jewish Twinning event at The Temple on Sunday, November 17th was a considerable success. I believe this is The Temple’s 5th year of our participation, but my first (I joined our staff in June). I partnered with Soumaya Khalifa of the Atlanta Islamic Speakers Bureau and the American Jewish Committee, Atlanta Office.

In all, approximately forty people participated with an even split between Muslims and Jews. This was the number I was hoping for. There were more women than women, although it was probably only at 65/35 split. Our ages ranged from 20s to 60s, which was a pleasant surprise as I expected an older crowd and was happily surprised by the youth in attendance.

We basically followed the program outline you provided and Soumaya and I shared the emcee/moderator duties. At each of the tables there was robust, meaningful conversation at many participants spoke up about wanting more and not wanting a whole year to pass until we come together again. The three experiences desired by the people who were there were 1) social, particularly young professional; 2) educational; 3) coming together on issues of social justice relevant to both communities.

Going forward, we would enjoy deepening this relationship. Standing up for the other has a much better chance of gaining traction if we are actually in real relationship with each other.

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Participants in Greater Atlanta Muslims and Jews Standing Up for the Other event

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Left to right: Soumaya Khalifa, director, Islamic Speakers Bureau, Rabbi David Spinrad, The Temple

Jewish-Muslim Twinning in Toronto

By Samira Kanji, Azeezah Kanji, Dr Barbara Landau, and Dr Karen Mock

One weekend every November, Jewish and Muslim communities around the world get together to build connections of understanding and friendship: this is the annual Weekend of Twinning of Synagogues and Mosques, brainchild of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding in New York.

This year, we marked the sixth birthday of the Muslim-Jewish twins in Toronto with a movie night and a women’s religious text study session.

On the Saturday of the Twinning, members of Jewish and Muslim communities in the city gathered to watch Arranged, a beautiful tale of unlikely friendship based on a true story. Rochel – an Orthodox Jewish woman – and Nasira – a conservative Muslim woman – meet as new teachers in a Brooklyn public school. Both are in the process of having their marriages arranged (or more accurately, both are in the process of being introduced to potential partners by family and community members). The similar landscapes of their journeys to betrothal, and their shared experiences as religiously devout women in a secular environment, bring Nasira and Rochel together.

As Jews and Muslims living in Toronto, we constantly encounter the diversity of religious beliefs and practices within our respective traditions, as well as the diversity between them. Such encounters with difference (internal as much as external) may be deeply challenging and yet profoundly enriching. Watching Arranged together helped bridge schisms across both inter-faith and intra-faith lines of division – between Jewish and Muslim, conservative and liberal, orthodox and reform – bringing into focus the humanity of those on the other(ed) side of the divide.

Arranged is also one of relatively few movies that passes the Bechdel test, a three-part heuristic for gauging a film’s representation of women’s stories and perspectives: 1) the film has at least two women in it; 2) who talk to each other; 3) about something other than a man. The test has recently been adopted by cinemas in Sweden to assign films a “feminist rating.” (And apparently, the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, every Star Wars movie, and all but one of the Harry Potter films fail.)

It may seem counterintuitive to describe Arranged as a feminist film, given the popular portrayal of religion as an utterly and irredeemably patriarchal force. Religious women are frequently represented as deluded by some figment of “false consciousness,” generated by their internalization of perniciously patriarchal norms. The figure of the oppressed religious woman haunts recent arguments supporting Quebec’s proposed charter of values, with the charter’s restrictions on religious veiling imagined as freeing (if not saving) Muslim women.

Arranged disrupts the all-too-common-but-simplistic narrative that women’s empowerment necessarily lies in liberation from the shackles of religion. Many women undoubtedly experience religion as an oppressive imposition. For many others like Rochel and Nasira, however, religion is an important source of selfhood and belonging, of meaning and guidance. The film beautifully shows how these protagonists navigate multiple systems of norms – family expectations, culture and tradition, religion, liberal feminism, secularism – as they chart the courses of their futures. As Rochel responds to the school’s avowedly feminist (and aggressively secularist) principal when queried about her embrace of “superstitious nonsense” (that is, tradition): “I have a choice . . . It’s different, yes, but I have a say.”

The women’s text study on Twinning Weekend Sunday was one instance of Muslim and Jewish women “having their say.” Guided by Dr Shari Golberg, participants discussed and (re)interpreted the story of Sarah and Hagar (the wives of the prophet Abraham and the mothers of Isaac and Ishmael, respectively), as recounted in Jewish and Islamic texts. Such sessions are sites for women’s efforts to grapple with religious traditions, rather than simply discard or sidestep them – to actively participate in that most fundamental of religious activities, interpretation of scripture. Patriarchal or androcentric readings are questioned, while the text itself retains its importance and value.

In truth, we are all shaped and limited by a multitude of influences we don’t necessarily choose, or even consciously perceive: the values of our families and religious communities; societal norms of gender and morality; state laws; popular media; advertising. None of us exercises choice wholly free of structures of conditioning and constraint. The value of activities like the Twinning lies in their ability to illuminate the ubiquity of agency and the commonality of our struggles, diffracted through the prism of our differences.

Samira Kanji and Azeezah Kanji are with Noor Cultural Centre (www.noorculturalcentre.ca), which has been “twinning” with Temple Emanu-El since 2008. Barbara Landau and Karen Mock represent the Canadian Association of Jews and Muslims (www.cajmcanada.org), which organizes the Weekend of Twinning in Canada. This year’s Twinning occurred on November 16 and 17.

Participants in the Toronto women’s twinning event

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Qui Firenze – La sfida del dialogo

26 novembre 2013

Dialogo e reciproca comprensione al centro della settimana di gemellaggio tra comunità ebraiche e musulmane in programma in questi giorni in molte città statunitensi ed europee sotto l’egida della Foundation for Ethnic Understandig. Firenze e Toscana protagonista con numerosi appuntamenti: a partire dall’incontro “Ebrei, musulmani e cristiani nella costruzione di un nuovo umanesimo: testimonianze e prospettive” che si svolgerà nel pomeriggio (ore 16) nella Sala delle Feste di Palazzo Bastogi. Per la Comunità ebraica di Firenze porteranno un contributo il presidente Sara Cividalli e il rabbino capo Joseph Levi. In rappresentanza della Regione Toscana l’intervento del presidente del Consiglio regionale Alberto Monaci

“Siamo onorati che l’incontro organizzato dalla Foundation for Ethnic Understanding si tenga in Toscana, terra di diritti civili e religiosi e da sempre attenta alle minoranze. È importante – afferma rav Levi – l’impegno e il lavoro che da qualche anno la Fondazione sta portando avanti nel mondo, dialogo che le comunità ebraica e islamica di Firenze stanno concretizzando già da tempo”.

Al termine dell’incontro i partecipanti visiteranno la sinagoga di via Farini e la moschea di piazza dei Ciompi.