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Interfaith community to host Muslim friends for Ramadan

Motivated by a desire to continue to build on the relationships already established through such events as their “Interfaith Walk for Peace” and the “Interfaith Seder Experience,” the Inland Valley Interfaith Working Group for Mideast Peace (IVIWG) will host a Ramadan “break fast” program and meal at Temple Beth Israel in Pomona on Monday, June 5 beginning at 7 p.m.

The IVIWG believes that this is the first time a synagogue has hosted the Islamic community for such a gathering in the greater Los Angeles area, though similar events have been held in San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago and London.

The program, known in Arabic as an “Iftar,” will feature a pre-meal address by Jihad Turk, president of Bayan Claremont, a graduate school operating since 2011 at Claremont School of Theology that educates American Muslim scholars and religious leaders, both men and women. Mr. Turk will speak on the role of fasting in the Islamic tradition, and a response will be shared by Rabbi Jonathan Kupetz of TBI, Rev. Karen Sapio of Claremont Presbyterian Church and Rev. Jan Chase of Unity Church of Pomona.

Just prior to the meal, which will be facilitated by the youth of the participating faith communities, the Islamic attendees will engage in their evening prayers outdoors in the area adjacent to the synagogue’s social hall where the meal will take place.

“The Islamic Center of Claremont has hosted our group for many years during the Passover/Easter season for a Seder experience modeled on Jewish ritual,” said Cantor Paul Buch, part of the group planning the Ramadan event. “We thought the time was right to similarly open our synagogue to a Muslim-themed event.”

There is no charge to attend the program. However, reservations for the evening are close to capacity, but those interested in attending may check inlandvalleyiftar.eventbrite.com for available seats. More information can be be found at facebook.com/inlandvalleyinterfaithWG or by contacting Cantor Buch at (909) 575-7858 or cantorpaul@gmail.com. Temple Beth Israel is located at 3033 N. Towne Ave., Pomona.

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