March of the Living participants break Ramadan fast together

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March of the Living participants break Ramadan fast together

Muslim and Jewish members of Nisa-Nashim share interfaith kosher iftar meal on educational trip to Poland

Jemma Levene and Hifsa Iqbal-Haroon, Nisa Nashim
Jemma Levene and Hifsa Iqbal-Haroon, Nisa Nashim

Two members of a Jewish Muslim women’s network shared an iftar, the breaking of the Ramada fast during March of the Living.

Hifsa Iqbal-Haroon, Nisa-Nashim chair, and Jemma Levene, deputy director of Hope not Hate, shared a kosher dinner prepared in advance of the sunset iftar whilst part of a group on the educational trip.

Over meat, vegetables, fruit and pastries, they reflected together on the harrowing experience of visiting the death camp in Poland.

It was just one of numerous shared iftars this month where Jewish and Muslim women from Nisa-Nashim celebrated the holy month of Ramadan together all round the country, using it as an opportunity to host women refugees, visit iconic venues, build stronger friendships and find out more about both the holy month of Ramadan and the festival of Passover.

Nisa-Nashim members attended iftar meals together at the Natural History Museum, in Trafalgar Square, at the Central Mosque London, JW3, the Al-Khoie Mosque, The Baitul Futuh in Morden, Birmingham Liberal synagogue, Clifton Road Mosque Birmingham, Alyth Reform Synagogue, Palmers Green Mosque and in homes all around the country.

They also hosted their own iftar at the Jewish Vegetarian Society with the Persian Advice Bureau, where women cooked and ate with asylum seeker women living with their children in hotels in north London.

Laura Marks, co-founder of Nisa-Nashim said: “The iftar is an incredible phenomenon, bringing people together at the end of a long day of fasting.  Its power is palpable, forming connections, learning about Islam, sharing reflections and of course, savouring delicious food.  Sharing such experiences brings us, as Jewish and Muslim women, ever closer.”

Hifsa Iqbal-Haroon, Nisa-Nashim chair, said: “Traditionally, iftars have been a wonderful way to celebrate the ending of a long day of fasting, with family and friends. This year, here in Poland, it has been profound breaking my fast with my supportive, caring Jewish Nisa-Nashim sister Jemma. Ramadan is a time to reflect as together we have tried to make sense of the utterly incomprehensible”.

Jemma Levene, deputy director of Hope Not Hate, said: “Being with Hifsa to break her fast, after a harrowing day spent together visiting Auschwitz and Birkenau on the eve of Yom HaShoah was such a powerful way to join together. To join her for iftar after the emotions of the day was incredibly special.”

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