New York Orthodox Synagogue Forges Dialogue With Muslims

February 20, 2004

Source: The Jewish Week

On February 20, 2004 The Jewish Week reported, "In an era of war in the Middle East and terror and curtailed liberties at home, scores of Jews and Muslims, the old but mostly the young, gathered in the Park East Synagogue’s day school in Manhattan to thrash out prospects for bringing people of their two faiths closer... Rabbi Cohen Anisfeld noted that the larger Jewish community’s 'reluctance' to forge communication lines to American Muslims was based on 'a very understandable fear.' Nevertheless, she said, 'We opened the door here today and an incredible number of people poured in. They’re clearly eager for some kind of shared community. I was very definitely surprised.' In hosting the seminar, the Modern Orthodox Park East Synagogue took a clear step away from the American Orthodox Jewish mainstream, which generally has taken a hard line toward Israeli peace overtures to Palestinians in the Middle East and enlisted in comparatively few outreach projects aimed at U.S. Arab and Muslim communities."