Interfaith Cultural Exchange Visit

January 2016

Last Sunday (31.1.16) a large group of chatty and intelligent women met up for conversation and refreshments. Nothing unusual about that…except that this group comprised of women and girls from the London Islamic Cultural Society at Wightman Road Mosque, and Muswell Hill Synagogue.

Arranged by Ruth Jampel and Bibi Khan, this gathering was an opportunity for both groups of women to visit each others’ places of worship, find out more about our faiths and cultures, and remind ourselves just how much we have in common.

The event, which is government funded, grew out of a Board of Deputies. Initiative to strengthen links between Muslim and Jewish women. Entitled "Nissa Nashim" ("women" in Arabic and Hebrew) we aim to further our understanding of each other and carry out social action projects together.

In fact the afternoon was a huge success, with positive feedback from all sides.

Bibi Kahn greeted the group at the Wightman Road mosque, giving a tour which included looking at the original function of the building... it had been a synagogue until the late 1980s! Founded by Mr Ali, a member of the Guyanese Muslim community, this is a beautiful modern mosque with a warm and welcoming outlook.

Thank you Ruth. You did such a fantastic job. It was fascinating at the mosque and I loved your whistle stop tour of everything important about shul and Judaism. My daughter really enjoyed the afternoon too. You are a fantastic educator!!

Vicky

Ruth, thank you very much for organising a very successful and interesting event on Sunday! I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Saher

After watching / participating in afternoon prayers the group took a short drive up to Muswell Hill Synagogue where Ruth Jampel led a tour of the building, focusing on the many similarities between synagogues and mosques, Judaism and Islam.

The afternoon ended with coffee and cake and the expressed desire to carry out more events like this one.

Elisheva Mason, the wife of Rabbi David Mason of Muswell Hill Synagogue, declared "Thank you so much for the most inspiring afternoon - I think you have done brilliantly and it was really enriching for both communities. Please let's plan further initiatives like that."

Both communities plan to take part in a cooking event for the soup kitchen in Muswell Hill, on March 20th – Sadaqa Day as well as joint projects to help the refugee crisis.

Organiser Ruth Jampel commented, "It’s so important in the current political climate to show the community at large how Jewish and Muslim women have so much in common – a shared outlook on many things and a real desire to coexist happily."

The future!

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