Tears flowed from the eyes of Elaine Goldberg as she watched a scene unprecedented in her synagogue.
“I was very moved both by the sounds of the prayers and the sight of Muslims praying in our sanctuary,” said Goldberg, a Brookfield resident who helped organize an Oct. 29 program in which members of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee West and Congregation Emanu-El of Waukesha compared each faith’s prayers.
“The sounds of the prayers made me think of being in Jerusalem,” Goldberg added. “It was very emotional for me. When I tried to describe how I felt to the group at the end of the evening, my voice cracked and tears came, and I told them that they could hear how I felt.”
As Jews and Muslims in Waukesha County try to build a lasting relationship, members of the two faiths came together for the third time since the Brookfield mosque was built nearly two years ago.
Similarities between Judaism and Islam were discussed when, in February of 2015, CEEW became the first congregation to send its members to the new mosque. More commonalities were discovered and more traditions explored when members of the mosque visited CEEW during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot in September of 2015. Mosque members were fascinated by the calligraphy in the Torah scroll.
This year’s program at CEEW began with a joint prayer service to mark the closing of the Jewish Sabbath and to have Muslim evening prayers. Cantor Deborah Martin, the spiritual leader of CEEW, led the group in the traditional Havdalah service. Imam Noman Hussain led the evening prayer service, one of the five ritual prayer sessions required of Muslims each day.
– Lee Fensin