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iftar at the mosque

05/30/2019 12:14:15 PM

May30

During the month of Ramadan, observant Muslims fast from sun-up to sun-down, refraining from food and drink.  The evening meal that breaks the fast is called “iftar.” Last week, members of the Hudson Valley Islamic Community Center (HVICC) in Mohegan Lake invited me and other interfaith members to join them for iftar. 

The Torah tells a story of Abraham and his abundant hospitality to strangers.  Muslims view Abraham as a spiritual ancestor also, so it was no surprise that we were warmly received.  One little girl mustered the courage to approach our group and say quickly, all in one breath, “Good evening and welcome to our mosque.” 

Every evening during Ramadan, members of the Islamic community in Mohegan Lake sponsor a meal, open to all.  One woman at my table grew up in Turkey and was so happy to find a community in northern Westchester.  “I used to have to break the fast at home,” she said.  “It’s so much better to come together with my community for a meal.”

Our guide told us that people at the HVICC come from all over the world, including China and Africa.  “We have people with every shade of hair here, from blonde to black,” he told us.  “And we all get along because we do not judge each other.  Everyone is welcome here.”  He told us that even Muslims who are not very observant during the rest of the year usually observe Ramadan in some way.  “It’s like Jews who refrain from bacon during Passover!” one of the Jewish members of our group chimed in.  We all chuckled.  People are people. 

I left the mosque grateful to know my Muslim neighbors a little bit better.  If you’d ever like to join me at such an event, please let me know! 

Wed, June 26 2019 23 Sivan 5779