The World Jewish Congress’ affiliate in Latin America hosted two festive post-Ramadan meals, known as Iftar, together with members of the local Jewish and Muslim communities this week.
During the course of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan observant Muslims do not eat or drink and break their fast after dark with a traditional meal. This year’s untraditional twist, aimed at promoting Muslim-Jewish coexistence, was led by members of the WJC-Jewish Diplomatic Corps and the Latin American Jewish Congress' New Generations Program.
In Buenos Aires, Jewish and Muslim youth group participants were invited to break the fast at the LAJC headquarters, and in Cordoba, leaders of the Muslim and Jewish communities held celebrations at both the mosque and the synagogue.
"If such initiatives occurred in all countries, the world would be different," said Claudio Epelman, executive director of the LAJC.
The LAJC has organized an event celebrating Ramadan for the last three years, inviting members of the local Muslim community to break the fast in a traditional meal together with members of the Jewish community.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas responded positively to a letter from Epelman inviting the local Palestinian community to take part in the celebration, saying in a letter of his own: “I wish you success in this noble mission, which will surely contribute t construction to the construction of bridges of peace and the consolidation of tolerance and coexistence.”
Epelman said: “Abbas’ message is a significant contribution to the building of bridges between Muslim and Jews, and is yet another sign that initiatives of coexistence can cross borders.
“It is greatly satisfying when, rather than importing conflict, we are able to export the idea of coexistence as a tool for building peace. We hope that this model of relations between Jews and Muslims that we are seeing today in Argentina can serve as an example for more communities in this region, and we look forward to seeing this message of coexistence extend beyond Latin America to the rest of the world.”
Similar Muslim-Jewish events were held in other parts of the world this week: In Turkey, the Jewish community held an Iftar meal in the Great Synagogue in Edrine, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer held a coexistence event in Washington, and other such meals were organized Minneapolis’ Shir Tikvah Congregation, Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley, New York’s Temple Emanu-El and in one Chabad Hasidic synagogue in Brussels, Belgium, among others.