A few weeks ago, Muslims in Israel celebrated the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. In a previous post, we discussed the ways Ramadan has been used to bring people of all faith backgrounds together and provide opportunities for people in Israel to learn about one another. Each day of Ramadan ends with a festive meal called the ‘iftar’ to end the day’s fast. Over the past several weeks both in Israel and in Boston, we have seen diverse groups of people welcome new cultural experiences despite their differences.
In Jerusalem, Kids4Peace invited the Jerusalem community to an iftar meal that brought together Arab-Israeli and Jewish-Israeli students and their parents. Israeli-Arabs, secular, and religious Israelis celebrated with music and dancing. The Abraham Initiatives invited students and staff of all backgrounds to an iftar at Oranim college. They also convened Jewish and Arab principals who participate in the Shared Learning Initiative together for an iftar meal to meet each other and discuss how Arab and Jewish schools can partner in the coming school year.
Across the Boston community, people have also shared in iftar meals. In places such as Brookline and Cambridge, Muslim communities hosted meals and invited people to learn about Ramadan and meet their Muslim neighbors. This past week Kids4Peace Boston hosted participants, family members, and volunteers for an iftar to celebrate the end of its school year program. Hosted by the Islamic Center of Boston, the interfaith community came together to learn about Ramadan, congratulate graduating seniors, honor teens who participated in K4PB for five years, and welcome new participants of Kids4Peace programs.
Ramadan festivities bridge divides in communities all over the world. The inclusive and celebratory nature of iftar meals create an inclusive and welcoming environment for people of all backgrounds to join in celebration of one another. We are inspired by the connections that these dinners have created in our communities and in Israel.