Jews, Muslims Join for Winter Celebration
By Geoffrey D. Brown

Frederick, MD: A dialogue between Muslims and Jews reached its first major milestone as members of Frederick County's two Jewish congregations and the Islamic Society of Frederick broke bread together and shared their cultures at a joint holiday celebration last week.
"It was wonderful," said Andy Carpel, president of Beth Sholom Congregation. "All my members said they had a great time."
About 100 people attended the joint Hanukkah-Hajj celebration Thursday at the Lynfield Event Complex on Hansonville Road. Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, began Friday. The Hajj -- an annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the site of Islam's holiest mosque -- begins Dec. 29.
"I thought it's a dream coming true," said the Islamic Society of Frederick's Imam, Yahya Hendi, who has publicly called for dialogue among Muslims and Jews locally, nationally, and internationally.
Student rabbi Dan Sikowitz of Congregation Kol Ami said he was delighted with the turnout, and he looks forward to joint outreach programs among the three congregations.
"You have to start somewhere. You have to start small. You can't start big."
"I was surprised at how laid-back it was," said Jamie Hendi, president of Congregation Kol Ami. "Everybody was very friendly and very warm. There was a good vibe in the room." Ms. Hendi is no relation to Imam Hendi.
Especially touching was the way children of members of the congregations immediately warmed to each other and made friends, participants said. Children of all ages played together, sat and drew pictures together, and, in a few cases, ran cheerfully amok.
"The kids looked like they were enjoying each other," Mr. Carpel said. "The parents, too, they were just as kind as they could be…." (Courtesy The Frederick News-Post)



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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