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HOUSES OF WORSHIP - ADAMA encounter on May 14th

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  • Yehuda Stolov
    ADAMA (Abu Dis and Maaleh Adumim) had been meeting only in Maaleh Adumim since its inception over a year ago, and the coordinators decided that it was time to
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 3 2:53 AM
      ADAMA (Abu Dis and Maaleh Adumim) had been meeting just in Maaleh Adumim since its inception over a year ago, and the coordinators decided that it was time to begin meeting in Abu Dis

      ADAMA (Abu Dis and Maaleh Adumim) had been meeting only in Maaleh Adumim since its inception over a year ago, and the coordinators decided that it was time to begin meeting in Abu Dis.  The members had built up enough trust with each other as time went on, and now all felt secure enough with each other and expressed a desire to begin meeting at our Moslem coordinator's home.  It had been difficult at times for Moslem participants to get the required permits to enter Maaleh Adumim, and with some of our meetings getting underway in Abu Dis, permits would not be necessary. 

      Our Moslem coordinator met the Jewish participants outside the entrance to Maaleh Adumim and drove them to his home.   We took a tour of his lovely new home with a garden full of fruit trees in bloom!


      The theme for this month's meeting on May 14th was about houses of worship.  Leah began the Jewish presentation and spoke about the earliest synagogues which were found in
      Egypt from the 3rd century BC.  It was forbidden to build other temples besides the one in Jerusalem, so an alternative institution was installed.  The oldest synagogue in the Holy Land was found in Jericho.  Leah had visited this synagogue and passed around photos of the ancient mosaics on the synagogue floor.   The first synagogues were very simple buildings and consisted of only one room with benches along the sides of the walls.  Later on, from the 3rd century, they became more elaborate.  A women's gallery did not exist until much later.  We spoke about the Ark that holds the Torahs – usually this is the most elaborate part of the synagogue -  and is situated on the wall of the synagogue which faces Jerusalem.   In Orthodox synagogues, there are special sections for women.  We also discussed the roles of the Cantor and Rabbi.





      Majdi taught us that the three holist mosques are in Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. There aren't any specific mosques geared to different sects in Islam.  If a person can't go to a mosque, he or she can pray anywhere, as the Prophet Mohammed said "The whole earth is a mosque for me."  Prayer is more powerful in a group, and the mosque unifies the community.  The mosque is also a center for education as well as a community center.  A mosque cannot be sold or rented for any purpose.  There are no images or statues inside a mosque, except for verses from the Koran.  Floors are covered in carpets.  Chairs in a mosque are used by physically handicapped people. The imam leads the prayers. 


      There are seven parts to a mosque; one of which is called a Minbar.   We had seen a photo in Abed's home of the Minbar inside Al Aksa.  At first I thought it read "Minibar at Al Aksa" and everyone laughed at this mistake and the thought of a secret minibar inside the holy mosque.


      The meeting lasted for three hours instead of the usual 1 1/2 hours.  We sat around the kitchen table after the meeting eating the wonderful local food, and we made plans for our next meeting with guest speakers on the subject of mysticism.


      Report by Jewish coordinator – Leah Lublin




      The Interfaith Encounter Association

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