RECENTLY, A JEWISH CONGREGATION RECEIVED A DONATION FROM A LOCAL MUSLIM GROUP TO REBUILD THE SYNAGOGUE WITH A MESSAGE OF “LIVING TOGETHER.”
A Jewish congregation in Arlon, Belgium recently received a donation that will help them repair their synagogue which has been closed since August of 2014, the Huffington Post reports.
The Synagogue D’Arlon is the oldest Jewish place of worship in Belgium. Its structural integrity has been compromised by wide spread dry rot in important locations in the building.
The donation of 2,405 euros, which will go a long way in helping to repair the building, was offered by another local religious community: The Association of Muslims of Arlon (AMA).
News reports that involve two or more religions are usually filled with descriptions of war, hatred and intolerance. But this story from Belgium–along with many, many other underreported situations in which one religious community helps out another–reveals that local congregations across the world are working together to live in peace.
Hajib el-Hajjaji of the AMA, when learning of the situation facing its neighboring Jewish community, reached out to Muslims across Belgium to help.
But this incredible gesture is more amazing than it seems.
The AMA does not have a suitable mosque for its own congregation. They operate out of a regular house. Certainly they could use funding for their own cause, but when Mohamed Bouezmarni, the General Secretary of AMA, heard Rabbi Jacob, Jean-Claude refer to himself as a “wandering Jew,” he knew his community had to act. “This precarious situation we know well also, since we do not have a real mosque to our offices.”
The donation was presented at a public meeting of both religious and secular leaders from the city. The theme of the meeting was “Living Together,” and Bouezmarni said that the gesture was really part of a bigger movement to remind everybody that Jews and Muslims have lived in peace for centuries.
For example, the hydraulic clock was invented by a Jew so the Muslims could observe prayer times. And now we have another fantastic contemporary example of living together not only peacefully, but sympathetically, in Arlon, Belgium.