Jackie Congedo — In Conversation
Interfaith Engagement: Jewish and Muslim UC Students Break the Fast Together
One of the goals of the JCRC is to build bridges of understanding with other community and religious groups. When we see instances of this happening in Cincinnati, whether we are involved or not, we are thrilled. We strongly encourage people to learn more about each other’s traditions through authentic dialogue. As we work to foster relationship and mutually beneficial programs with diverse groups around Cincinnati, we are excited to see the fruits of those labors come to fruition—in this case, at the collegiate level. University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Hillel student Erick Madis wrote the following reflection about a recent event with a fellow student.
A couple of months ago, the president of the Muslim Student Association at the University of Cincinnati, Zara Ahmed, and I were talking about religion. We realized that two of our holidays—Yom Kippur and Day of Ashura—are very similar and happened to occur on the same day. They also both require those who observe to fast.
Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, is a holiday for introspection and repentance and is considered the most important Jewish holiday. Day of Ashura is the Islamic equivalent to this. It was adopted by the Prophet Muhammad, who wanted to commemorate the day Moses and the Israelites were saved from the Pharaoh. It is a day to remember and to give gratitude to God’s mercy.
Because of this shared holiday, Zara and I decided to celebrate together in the best way possible—by breaking bread! We planned a “Break the Fast” event for the end of the holidays in which we were able to focus on each other’s similarities rather than our differences. The event started with an explanation of both holidays and finished with meaningful conversation over good food.
It was a success! It felt incredible to join our two communities and learn more about each other’s cultures and traditions. We hope this is the beginning of future collaborations and events together.
Cincinnati Hillel is just one of over fifty programs and agencies funded in part by the Jewish Federation of Cincinnati.
The Jewish Federation of Cincinnati: We look at the whole picture, taking into account the diverse needs of the entire community. Together we can do almost anything.