Jewish and Muslim students in London have teamed up to make challah for the homeless after swapping information about each other’s cultures.
Youngsters at Wimbledon Cheder and Minhaj-ul-Quran Mosque in Forest Hill used their second Interfaith Student Exchange, held over the last two weekends, to do something to help those in need of help.
When students from the mosque visited the synagogue and got involved, they came up with the idea of helping a local shelter during Challah braiding workshop. A second workshop investigated the Hebrew roots of many words in the Quran, particularly the names of the prophets and certain concepts related to Islamic belief.
There was even a competition, in which Jewish and Muslim teams had to read certain Arabic and Hebrew words and explain the significance behind them, before enjoying a meal which reflected European and Middle Eastern Jewish cuisine.
Then, when students from the shul came to the mosque, they took part in a short role-play involving a Muslim couple and a non-Muslim couple reacting to the same item of news, a terrorist attack including the shout of “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great).
Organiser Zain Hussain said: “As a Hebrew teacher at the Wimbledon Synagogue, and as a Muslim who is affiliated with the mosque, organising interfaith exchanges such as these has taught me much about what still needs to be done in terms of interfaith dialogue.”
He added: “While it is important to look at religious similarities, I believe interfaith dialogue is most beneficial when we discuss social and political issues that affect Jewish and Muslim communities, and even issues that we may not agree on.”