Jewish synagogue holds Christmas Chinese-food dinner for Muslim refugees
As symbols of interfaith harmony go, this would be hard to beat.
New Jersey Advance Media reports members of Bnai Keshet, a Reconstructionist Jewish congregation, invited 10 refugee families living in Elizabeth to join them Friday night for a dinner in Montclair — an evening when Christians were celebrating Christmas, and Jews were celebrating the Sabbath.
The dinner — complete with Chinese takeout food, the more-or-less universal meal for American Jews on Christmas — came about because "members of our congregation and people throughout the Jewish community have really felt called to help the refugees," Rabbi Elliott Tepperman told the news publication.
"As Jews, we all come from refugee families and we know in our bones what's it like to have hateful rhetoric directed toward us," Tepperman reportedly said. "Many of our parents were Holocaust refugees."
Rana Shanawani, a woman of Syrian descent living in Short Hills who helped make the connection possible, told the news publication she was nervous about bringing the groups together. But people on each side of the religious divide worked to come together, she said: "It's so wonderful, I'm so happy there is so much enthusiasm on both sides."