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Darchei Noam's Participation in the Circle of Unity with the Islamic Foundation, by Rabbi Grimberg

08/02/2017 01:16:12 PM


In my hands, I’m holding more than 20 colourfully decorated cards. I love one in particular. It is bright pink with two smiling faces on the cover. One has dark and a beard and is wearing a white head covering. The other has lighter skin and wears a green yarmulke. Between them, a heart. When I open the card, it reads: Thank you for supporting us and standing by our side. Our differences should not separate us but they should bring us together. It is signed from the students of 7B, IFS.

















We received these cards as we stood in the frigid Toronto winter outside the Islamic Foundation’s Mosque in Scarborough. Darchei Noam joined Beth Tikvah Synagogue and Beth Tzedek Congregation to show our support in light of the hideous crime in the Quebec Mosque last week where six men were killed and many more were wounded during their evening prayers. This incident struck a chord in our Canadian civil society, which is based on respect and tolerance. We were horrified, and, along with hundreds of others, Darchei Noam took steps to show our support for our Muslim friends.

Over the past several years, Darchei Noam has “twinned” with the Islamic Foundation of Toronto, a large Mosque that is under the leadership of Imam Badat. Over the years, we have held numerous positive and fascinating encounters at each other’s places of worship and gathering. It was only natural that, in this moment of crisis, we reached out to our friends.

We stood outside right as people began to pour in for their Friday afternoon prayers, the service with the highest attendance. Hundreds of people passed as they walked through the doors, reading our signs with statements such as “Love your neighbor as yourself” and “We support you.” We received hundreds of expressions of gratitude: “Thank you for supporting us,” “Thank you for being here,” “Thank you for being our friends,” “This means a lot to us.” One was particularly moving to me. A woman approached me wearing traditional dress, with a warm scarf wrapped around her face. I had to pass my cup of Tim Hortons coffee to the person next to me as she took my hands and said, “May it never come to this, but if you ever need us in this way, we will be there for you.”

Imam Badat spoke to the worshipers that afternoon about his gratitude and the incredible support of their Jewish friends. Rabbi Grover, Rabbi Cutler and I stood with Imam Badat and the president of the Mosque, grieving the loss of innocent life in such a vulnerable setting as a place of worship. We celebrated the bridge which we built years ago – the bridge on which we walked towards the Mosque that Friday afternoon.

View a short video of the Circle of Unity.

Tue, 3 August 2021 25 Av 5781