Iftar interfaith breakfast 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Jewish, Muslim and Christian clergy gathered on Wednesday evening in Jerusalem
to discuss the commonalities between the three faiths and hold a joint iftar
meal, at the break of that day’s Ramadan fast.
Those participating in the
event at Mishkenot Sha’ananim strove to bring believers together under a banner
of religious tolerance, coexistence and cooperation.
preceding the meal was led by Dr. Ron Kronish, director of the Interreligious
Coordinating Council in Israel. During the talks, Father David Neuhaus, Rabbi
Yehuda Gilad and Kadi Muhammed Zibdeh, deliberated the moral and social
implications of the Ramadan fast, and discussed the significance of fasting in
their own traditions.
All the speakers agreed that fasting is good for
the soul, as it brings believers closer to God and to each other.
the Muslim judge of Jaffa, stressed that Ramadan fasting should work itself out
both inwardly and outwardly: As one fasts and is changed from within, cleansing
takes place in the heart and prompts the individual to give to the needy and
contribute to the environment around him.
Neuhaus, who represented
Catholic Christians, added that fasting enforces the equality among people,
since those who fast by choice put themselves in the shoes of those who have to
do without food because they have none.
Gilad, the rabbi of Kibbutz Lavi
in the North, compared the Ramadan soul-searching to the Yom Kippur fast, when
Jewish believers reassess their relationship with God and one
The nearly 60 participants who came from all over the country
and represented different streams of thought on the religious spectrum, then sat
down for the meal, while continuing to chew over the issues raised during the
The event was hosted by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, whose
resident representative Dr. Lars Hänsel noted that since religion lies at the
core of the political conflict here in the Holy Land, it will also be a key
component to the solution.
“Sitting those religious leaders next to each
other has a symbolic value, which shows that coexistence is already taking place
before our very eyes,” he said.
“It was important to bring Muslims, Jews
and Christians to this event, even though it was a Muslim event,” Kronish
“One of the things we focused on was the fact that there are
common humanistic values deeply rooted in the creeds, with different
It doesn’t mean that we agree on everything, but we like to
stress what we have in common.”Jonah Mandel contributed to this report.