A synagogue celebrates Druse-Jewish ties

Druse and Jewish friendship celebrated in Tel Aviv.

Druse prayer house521 (photo credit: Liat Collins)
Druse prayer house521
(photo credit: Liat Collins)
The Tel Aviv International Synagogue held a Shabbat event on Friday night celebrating the friendship between the Druse and Jewish communities in Israel.
The event included a Kabbalat Shabbat prayer service with Yossi Schwartz’s Paamonim Ensemble Choir and renowned cantor Yisrael Rand, and was attended by some 500 people, 180 of whom ate together at a dinner later on.
The participants included approximately 130 members of the Druse community, including 30 students from a Druse pre-military academy, as well as family members of fallen Druse soldiers, religious and lay leaders from the Druse community and Druse IDF officers, including Col. (res.) Nazye Dabur, the founder of the pre-military academy.
Special prayers were said for the welfare of IDF soldiers as well as memorial prayers for slain Druse soldiers, including the two Druse border policemen who were killed on the Temple Mount last summer by Palestinian terrorists.
The fathers of the two men killed on the Temple Mount went up to the prayer platform for the memorial prayers, and the pre-military academy students went to the front of the synagogue for the prayers for the welfare of IDF soldiers.
“The words and tunes of the prayers and the reception the Druse community received moved some of them to tears, including the mothers of the fallen soldiers,” said Rabbi Ariel Konstantyn, a founding rabbi of the Tel Aviv synagogue.
The event was held in conjunction with and sponsored by the community diversity and bridge-building organization, Yakir, and its head Rabbi Yaakov Kermaier.
Konstantyn said that the idea behind the event was to create a connection with the Druse community aside from only at tragic events such as the death of Druse military service personnel.
It was held this week, on the Torah portion of Jethro, since he is considered by the Druse to be their ancestor.
“We wanted to show we appreciate their contribution to the state and celebrate the bonds of life and celebrate unity with them and our common ground,” said Konstantyn.
“Our synagogue is all about mutual respect and bringing people together while respecting difference, and the people from the Druse community extended their warmth back to us and invited to host us in their hometown of Beit Jann,” he said.