Interfaith Effort Moves into Deeper Waters

April 5, 2008


Source: The Staten Island Advance

As interfaith efforts mature, the issues can get thornier.

This year for the first time, Muslim and Hindu congregations are involved in an interfaith Passover seder held annually at St. Teresa's R.C. Church in Castleton Corners.

At a final planning meeting for the April 10 event, Tahir Kukiqi, an imam at the Albanian Islamic Cultural Center, first questioned why the word "men" in the special haggadah, or script for the ritual meal, was being changed to "people," and he wondered if was even permissible to do that, if the text came from the Bible itself.

Rabbi Dr. Judah Newberger, rabbi emeritus of Congregation B'nai Jeshurun in West Brighton, assured him the text was not from the Bible, and others on the planning committee explained their desire to make the seder as inclusive as possible.

Participants will drink four cups of wine during the seder, which has been taken on as a project of the Building Bridges Coalition of Staten Island. This raised another issue for Imam Moustafa.

"I come here for the sake of the building of these bridges," he said, "but as a Muslim I can't drink wine or sit next to someone drinking wine."