Muslim-Jewish interfaith exchange reveals common ground


By Dan Geringer, Staff Writer

Haroon Rashid, a Muslim from North Penn Mosque in Lansdale, and Fred Goldstein, a Jew from Old York Road Temple-Beth Am synagogue in Abington, met as mentors at an Interfaith Center of Philadelphia youth conference in 2015 and quickly became kindred souls.

When they visited Rashid’s mosque during the conference, Goldstein asked about a collection box he saw. Rashid said it was a Sadaqah box, used to collect money for the poor. Goldstein said, “When we go to my synagogue, I’ll show you a Tzedakah box, where we collect money for the poor.”

That was one of many common threads between Judaism and Islam that the two new friends discovered as “Haroon put his arm around me and said, ‘I thought we were cousins,’ ” Goldstein recalled Sunday. “That day for me was actually life changing.”

Discovery of common ground was also on the agenda Sunday, when 46 members of Temple-Beth Am visited North Penn Mosque to share a meal of lamb, beef, rice, and chickpeas; observe the afternoon prayer service led by Imam Abu Rashad; hear Imam Mujammil Zakir explain the basic tenets of Islam; and learn that jihad isn’t necessarily what they thought it was.

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