11/08/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Muslims and Jews Break Bread Together at 'Iftar in the Synagogue'

 Ignorance is the real enemy, and in an effort to mend fences and grow relationships Muslims and Jews in Chicago have been part of the Jewish-Muslim Community Building Initiative for several years now.

Ramadan is the holy month  when Muslims fast and abstain from eating or drinking anything (and from marital relations) from pre-dawn hours to dusk. Iftar is the Arabic word for the meal Muslims have as they break their fast during Ramadan. It was the month that the Holy Quran, was first revealed to the Prophet Mohammed.

Ramadan is an opportune time to share one's traditions, especially inter-faith efforts. On September 13, the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs and Anshe Shalom Bnai Israel Congregation are hosting 'Iftar in the Synagogue,' where they will play host to Chicago’s Muslims and Jews in a communal iftar for an evening of what both traditions do best: eating, praying, discussing and schmoozing in a unique interfaith setting.

Ramadan, this year, coincides with the Jewish month of Elul, which is a time of repentance in preparation for the high holidays. Participants in the event include Council on American-Islamic Relations, a member of the JMCBI. Attendees from The Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), a community-based Muslim nonprofit that works for social justice, will also be there.  

This year JCUA is calling on youth and teens to prepare poetry and spoken word art relating to their own faith or to Jewish-Muslim community building. My children, Yousuf, 7, and Taskeen, 11, will be reading their poems. If you would like to read your poetry at Iftar, send it to Asaf Bar-Tura:

Below you will find more information about the event (including program, link to RSVP and the event’s video). Or find all details at the Facebook event:

Feel free to forward this and share with others! Looking forward to seeing you there…!


September 13th

5:45 – 6:00 pm: Foodless Reception

6:00 - 6:40 pm: Welcome and speakers

6:45 pm: Jewish Prayer – Mincha

7:04 pm: Muslim Break of Fast & Prayer – Maghrib Salat

Jewish Prayer – Ma’ariv

7:30 pm: Communal Dinner (Kosher) and Discussion

9:00 pm: Program concludes

Costs $10 per person

RSVP and More Info at, or contact:

Check out the event video that Marina, Or Tzedek activist, created:

Questions? Contact: Asaf Bar-Tura,, 312.663.0960 x110