Islamic Group Awards Rabbi for Bridging Faiths

December 4, 2006

Author: Jennifer Barrios

Source: Newsday,0,7252702.story

A Long Island Islamic group gave its community-service award to a Great Neck rabbi who was vocal this election season against a congressman who denounced the group as "radical Islam."

Rabbi Jerome Davidson of Temple Beth El received the third annual award from the Islamic Center of Long Island at a dinner Saturday night. Davidson helped found American Muslims and Jews in Dialogue, an interfaith discussion group involving members of Beth El and the Islamic Center, more than 15 years ago.

"We felt that the rabbi deserved this recognition," said Faroque Khan, chairman of the board of trustees of the Islamic Center. "He's been a leader, a visionary in building bridges of understanding."

Davidson said he approached the mosque years ago when he realized he and his congregation had little direct experience with Islam.

"I knew my congregation had probably never spoken to a Muslim - not because they didn't want to, but because they didn't have that kind of opportunity," Davidson said.

Over the years, the two congregations visited each others' religious services and schools. In October, the Islamic Center hosted a joint Ramadan-Sukkot service, joining the two faiths' celebrations at the mosque.