Meet Volunteers Behind the Largest “Iftar in the Synagogue” to Date

By Michal Goldschmidt
JCUA 2012 Intern

Michael Goldschmidt

With our popular event, Iftar in the Synagogue, right around the corner (Thursday, Aug. 2), our planning committee is working hard to ensure the evening’s success. With more people expected to attend than ever before, there’s more preparation and organizing to be done, and our committee have their work cut out.

This past week the meeting was held in Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Hebrew Ethiopian Congregation – one of the three locations for “Iftar” 2012. Upon arrival, Tamar Manasseh, an energetic rabbinical student on the planning committee and a leader at Beth Shalom, greeted participants enthusiastically. She gave a tour of the synagogue, so that everyone could visualize Iftar occurring there and discuss which rooms should play host to which elements of the program.

Talia Yousuf (left) and Mariam Afzal, representatives of the Council for the Advancement of Muslim Professionals.

As always, this year’s committee is made up of Jewish and Muslim volunteers, some of whom are representatives from co-sponsoring organizations and communities. Committee members Talia Yousuf and Mariam Afzal, representatives of the Council for the Advancement of Muslim Professionals, are both extremely excited for the event and proud to be involved.

Talia noted that as much as the event itself is impressive and evokes a feeling of pride, “it’s the group of dedicated and diverse individuals from the committee who are the true source of my inspiration. It takes a lot of effort and dedication to bring forth such a large scale project.”

Although Talia has been involved in interfaith initiatives and events before, this one resonates as particularly personal for her. “I too will be fasting during the month of Ramadan, and an invitation to break fast with others is an honor that should always be acknowledged by accepting the invitation.”

Mariam was similarly enthusiastic about her role:  “Volunteering to organize this Iftar has given me a chance to play my part and meet like-minded individuals.”

Mariam’s enthusiasm stems from her perception of interfaith engagement more generally: “I view interfaith efforts as cornerstones of diverse communities as these initiatives pave the way for us to carve a future based on understanding the differences and similarities of our faiths, so the generations succeeding us may only see our religious differences as a diversity meant to enrich their lives.”

Hopefully, the positive and enriching experience of the committee is reflective of the way in which the participants will come together on the night; with friendship, fervor, and open hearts and minds.

To find out more about Iftar in the Synagogue, and to RSVP, click here.

Please show your support for “Iftar in the Synagogue” by making a donation of any amount.

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