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An Evening of Sadaqah/Tzedakah

An Evening of Sadaqah/Tzedakah

In a tempestuous geopolitical climate, Muslims and Jews often find themselves on different sides. Oak Park Temple worked to build relationships with their local Muslim community and model what it looks like to be a free, tolerant community.

Community Contact Information

Oak Park Temple B’nai Abraham Zion

Oak Park, IL

http://www.oakparktemple.com

Goals

  • Gather the Muslim and Jewish communities together to break down walls, focus on what we have in common, and learn from each other.
  • Provide an opportunity to explore teachings in both religions that illustrate similarities in core values.
  • Leverage shared core values to perform service projects that benefit the least fortunate members of our community.
  • Decrease fear and increase tolerance in the Chicagoland area during a time of geopolitical upheaval.
  • Use the evening events as a starting point for deeper and more meaningful relationships between Muslim and Jewish neighbors.

Partnerships

  • Muslim Leadership Academy
  • Islamic Foundation Mosque

Implementation

Summer 2015

Oak Park Temple volunteers to host Muslim neighbors for Ramadan.

September 2015

Planning of first joint evening of service and education commences.

December 2015

First event, with the theme of charity for the poor, was held at Oak Park Temple.

May 2016

Second event, with the theme of welcoming the stranger, was held at the Islamic Foundation Mosque.

Throughout 2016

Oak Park Temple rabbi Max Weiss speaks to local school districts about hate speech and is accompanied by leaders from the Islamic Foundation Mosque.

December 2016

Third event, with the theme of God’s expectations, was held at Oak Park Temple.

January 2017

As part of Oak Park Temple’s Mitzvah Day, teens from the synagogue and the Muslim Leadership Academy collaborated on a public mural.

May 2017

Fourth event, with the theme of standing up for minorities, will be held at the Islamic Foundation Mosque.

Results

  • Event #1 – Helping the Poor: Buffet dinner, text study on charity, and sandwich and Tzedekah box-making for a Christian mission in West Chicago (Oak Park Temple).
  • Event #2 – Welcoming the Stranger: Buffet dinner, text study on refugees and immigrants, and welcome kit-making for Refugee One, a nonprofit in Chicago (Islamic Foundation Mosque).
  • Event #3 – What Does God Want From Us?: Buffet dinner, text study on what God wants and needs from us, and personal care bag-making for Housing Forward, a homeless advocacy organization in the western Chicago suburbs (Oak Park Temple).
  • Event #4 (forthcoming) – Being a Muslim/Jewish Minority in Today’s America: Buffet dinner, text study on protecting our neighbors, activity-bag making for siblings of children at the Ronald McDonald house (Islamic Foundation Mosque, spearheaded by teens in both communities).