A Ramadan meal in NSWAS

December 12, 2001

Ramadan 1422 is being felt as a particularly dismal time by Moslems in many places in the world, from Palestine to Afghanistan.

Usually in NSWAS a special holiday meal is prepared around Id al-Fitr, the festival that closes the holy month. This year, no one felt it was appropriate to organize a hafle - a festive meal.  We felt that commemoration of the holiday should express solidarity with Palestinians who live under oppression and occupation, and the thousands who have been deprived of their livelihood due to the worsening conflict - not forgetting that even in Israel itself, one half of all Arab children live below the poverty line.

The Pluralistic Spiritual Centre arranged a potluck dinner, held after sundown in the traditional way.  Non-Moslem residents of the village were encouraged to fast during the day in solidarity, and several did so.  Though NSWAS is a fairly secular village all round, quite a number of Moslem families fast for the entire month of Ramadan .

The meal was well-attended by both Jewish and Arab (Moslem and Christian) families.  At the end of the meal, each participating family donated money to the cause of medical treatment Gaza.  This will be added to a donation designated for the same purpose received from a donor in France.

Asked of why she felt it was appropriate for Jews to take part in a Ramadan meal with Arabs at this time, Dorit Shippin (coordinator of the Pluralist Spiritual Centre) says:  "I feel that today, when Islam is so readily equated with extremism, we should take special care to remember that the extremism and violence in our region have less to do with Islam than with the oppression and aggression from which Palestinians suffer at the hands of the Israeli government, in addition to the continuing injustice caused by leaving Jewish settlements in place all over the West Bank and Gaza.  This environment of oppression and hopelessness gives rise to fundamentalism here, as elsewhere in the world."






at the iftar meal:



applying the
arts of persuasion: