Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

JCRC to host Ramadan Iftar


The Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando will collaborate with the Atlantic Institute, a Turkish Muslim organization, to host an interfaith Ramadan event at The Roth Family Jewish Community Center on Thursday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m.

The event, a traditional Muslim fasting-breaking dinner meal and ceremony known as an Iftar, will serve as an opportunity for the Jewish and Muslim communities to develop deeper ties and understanding. “We knew we wanted to participate in an interfaith Ramadan event, and the Atlantic Institute, with its history of interfaith engagement, was the obvious choice for a partner,” said JCRC co-chair Michelle Zaltsberg.

During the month the Islam faith calls Ramadan, Muslims fast each day from sunrise to sunset, breaking the fast each night with an Iftar. This year, Ramadan began May 5 and ends June 4 (the Hebrew month of Iyar), because like Judaism, Islam uses a lunar calendar. In addition to prayer and reflection, the holiday emphasizes the importance of building community.

Many Muslim organizations in Central Florida host public Iftars, but this first-of-its-kind event will bring the ceremony to the Maitland Jewish Community Campus. JCRC co-chair Dori Gerber explained why having the event at the JCC was important. “As Jews, we value hospitality,” she said. “We’re excited to host the event on our campus as a demonstration of our commitment to cross-cultural friendship not only in our hearts, but also in our community spaces.”

Leaders also see it as an opportunity to deepen ties between two marginalized communities. JCRC Director Ben Friedman said the Muslim and Jewish communities “share more than historic roots; we also share present-day status as communities under attack. We can and should be allies in the fight against extremism, and events like this serve as an important step in that effort.”

The Atlantic Institute, launched in 2012 by the Istanbul Center, was founded to “facilitate dialogue and bridge cultures around the globe.” According to its mission, the Atlantic Institute believes in “the power of personal interaction and communicative dialogue, as they are the best channels to build mutual understanding, trust, and harmony for a peaceful world.”

The Iftar event is open to the public, but advance registration is required and ID will be required to enter the JCC. Food provided will comply with both JCC Kashrut policies and Muslim Halal requirements.

To register, visit jfgo.org/iftar or contact JCRC Director Ben Friedman at bfriedman@jfgo.org or 407-645-5933, ext. 233.


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