The board of Temple Shalom, Rabbi Jacob Adler and a few other longtime members Wednesday welcomed members of the Islamic Center of Northwest Arkansas to the synagogue for a nosh. About 20 Muslims joined the dozen-plus Jews for dessert and tea in the fellowship hall.
The evening of Feb. 24, 2016, began with a building tour led by co-President Darla Newman. Rabbi Adler brought the guests onto the bimah as he explained the Holy Ark and ritual objects. He opened a Torah with the visitors helping him with the cover, crown and breastplate.
Anan Takroori, an executive committee member of the Islamic Center, which is in Fayetteville near the UA campus, helped coordinate the reception. The temple board earlier had approved inviting members of the mosque in a gesture of good will, in light of hate crimes in recent years in the United States and with hopes of beginning strong friendship in the area.
The area Muslim community brought gifts of food for the evening and a plaque carrying a message of peace and good will that they signed on the back. The mosque and synagogue agreed to future meetings soon as well as to keep each other up to date, such as about university lectures on topics of mutual interest.
The night’s plan for a general discussion was shortened because of the hearty, happy one-on-one conversations that erupted spontaneously from the beginning, at the name-tag stage.
Besides Darla Newman and co-President Jeremy Hess, Corinna Dranow, Sivan Tuchman and Ben Pollock planned the event.