BROOKLYN – Muslims and Jews have shared a Halal and Kosher food in an interfaith Ramadan iftar held in Brooklyn.
“If ever time people come together as Americans and Brooklynites, this is the time,” Benjamin W Schaeffer, who attended the event, told Brooklyn Daily.
“When people interact can appreciate those shared values.”
The event, held on May 17, was hosted by the Kings Bay Y Jewish community center in Sheepshead Bay in partnership with the Turkish Cultural Center of Brooklyn.
The Ramadan iftar is part of a youth program the Y coordinates for Jewish and Muslim students, where they learn about each others’ religions.
It included speeches by local imams and rabbis, coupled with fun get-togethers, with aim of drawing Jews and Muslims closer in southern Brooklyn.
“Many issues set Muslims and Jews apart. This event shows we’re still united,” said Tomer Kornfeld, the director of teen services at the Kings Bay Y.
“It was imperative to have.”
The community center has hosted the iftar since 2013. Its interfaith program includes Muslim students from the Brooklyn Amity School, which has a large Turkish-American population, and Jewish students who are part of the Kings Bay Y.
A Muslim Amity 12th grader said such interfaith events taught her that the two Abrahamic religions aren’t so different.
“I learned a lot about Judaism that I didn’t before,” said Nihal Catkal. “There are a lot of similarities between the two.”
Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar.
In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.
Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to become closer to Allah through prayer, self-restraint, and good deeds.
It is customary for Muslims to spend part of the days during Ramadan studying the Noble Qur’an.
Many men perform i`tikaf (spiritual retreat), spending the last 10 days of the month exclusively in the mosque.