Shavu'ot 5777

JACKSONVILLE JEWISH CENTER TO HOST GROUNDBREAKING SHAVU’OT EVE INTERFAITH PROGRAM

Shavu’ot celebrates the giving of the Torah to the Israelites at Mount Sinai.  This year the Jewish festival also falls during the month of Ramadan, a period of elevated sanctity on the Muslim calendar.  To that end, the Jacksonville Jewish Center will host members of the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida to join them for a festive meal and study program to welcome the start of the Shavu’ot festival and simultaneously serve as iftar, the traditional meal eaten by Muslims to end their daily fast during Ramadan.

The program, which will be held on Tuesday evening, May 30th, will begin at 7:30 PM with a brief introduction for Muslim participants about the meaning of Shavu’ot, and for Jewish participants about the significance of Ramadan.  Each of the faith communities will hold their respective afternoon/evening services consecutively with an opportunity to attend the worship of the other. 

Earlier that day, members of both congregations will join together in the synagogue’s kitchen to cook a kosher, dairy meal, incorporating recipes from both faith traditions to serve at that evening’s festive meal. “While the giving of the Torah has a set of uniquely Jewish associations,” said Jonathan Lubliner, the Center’s Jack F. Shorstein Senior Rabbi, “neither Jews nor Muslims believe in a gerrymandered God.  We may worship differently, but ours is the same Deity who created all of humanity in the Divine Image.  By hosting an iftar which also serves as our festival meal, complete with Kiddush and Birkat Hamazon (grace after meals), we serve to underscore that our religious differences need not serve as a barrier to learning from and about one another.  In an increasingly polarized world, it is more important than ever to build bridges of understanding between neighbors.”

The Shavuot dinner will be followed by the Jacksonville Jewish Center’s traditional Tikkun Leyl Shavu’ot study program, which will include facilitated learning by the synagogue’s clergy as well as members of the Islamic Center, who are fellows of the Muslim Leadership Initiative sponsored by the Shalom Hartman Institute in Israel.

For more information please contact the synagogue office at (904) 292-1000.