Faiths unite for Tu Bishvat and HMD at West Central

6 February 2018

West Central Liberal Synagogue hosted a very special Shabbat, featuring a Tu Bishvat Seder with Christian and Muslim guests.

Starting at 3pm, the community welcomed 25 visitors – mostly of the Christian faith, but also including some Muslims and fellow Jews from other communities.

The Shabbat afternoon service contained readings for Holocaust Memorial Day, remembering all those murdered by the Nazis as well as subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda and Bosnia.

A Tu Bishvat Seder then followed at 5pm, with the interfaith group uniting and in poetry and song to appreciate the gifts given us by trees.

Later that evening, around 70 participants took part in a scriptural reasoning session on the environment which shared Jewish, Christian and Muslim teachings and was followed by small discussion groups.

West Central’s Rabbi Jackie Tabick (pictured) said: “A wonderful warm environment was created where all three monotheistic faiths could share their hopes and fears about the environmental threats facing our shared world. A fantastic buzz of learning and sharing filled our synagogue, with a mound of different fruits eaten.

“At the end, when a problem arose with our front door, there was even an unusual example of interfaith co-operation, as Sister Katarzyna Kowalska and I sat together on the stairs and kept each other company, waiting for the locksmith to come and mend the door!”

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