Muslims, Jews Prepare for High Holy Days

September 23, 2006

Source: The Sacramento Bee

On September 23, 2006 The Sacramento Bee reported, "Like other Muslims, Basim Elkarra will begin the day with a light early meal and then fast until sunset. Leslie Kuperstein, who is Jewish, will call family and friends and spend most of the next two days in synagogue. For both, this is the holy season. This weekend, Jews around the world are celebrating Rosh Hashana while Muslims are beginning the monthlong observance of Ramadan. The two holidays, which began after sunset Friday, don't fall on the same day very often -- last year was the first time in three decades. The date for the beginning of Ramadan varies depending on where you live, says Metwalli Amer of the Sacramento Area League of Associated Muslims. Ramadan prayers begin Friday evening in the United States, but the first day of fasting is on Saturday. Both holidays, which encourage reflection and sacrifice, have a special meaning for believers. 'This is the time to stop and review what happened in the past year,' says Rabbi Mona Alfi of Congregation B'nai Israel in Sacramento. For Muslims, Ramadan is the time to step away from materialism and look inward, says Amer. 'It's the time to cool down and think of the needy, time to renew our relationship with God and our community,' he says."