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Finchley Reform Synagogue to hold joint Sukkot event with Somali Bravanese community in Brent Cross, Hendon
Rabbi Berger with Cantor Zoe Jacobs ith members of the Somali Bravanese Muslim community and Finchley Reform Synagogue
Muslim people who formed a “unique friendship” with the Jewish community after their mosque burnt down will help celebrate the festival of Sukkot this weekend.
Rabbi Miriam Berger, who works at the Finchley Reform Synagogue, will be joined by members of the muslim community at the event at Brent Cross Shopping Centre, in Hendon, on Sunday.
The Muswell Hill Community Centre, which houses the Al-Rahma Islamic Centre, burnt down in a suspected arson attack in June - so the rabbi invited them to hold prayers at the Finchley synagogue.
Sukkot remembers the way Jewish people lived wandering in the desert for 40 years, building tents to give them temporary shelter - a message all the more poignant for the two communities this year.
Rabbi Berger said: “I couldn’t stand idly by when I heard they didn’t have anywhere to pray. We wanted to do this as a public display of solidarity and in it, we’ve actually formed a unique friendship.
“At a time when there’s animosity between the two religions, we are trying to show people we are neighbouring communities who have a lot in common.
“The message of Sukkot is very relevant this year, because there’s a real tie in their experiences and what happened to the Jewish people all those years ago.”
Sunday’s event, which will last all day, will feature foods such as bagels and bhajis as the two religions come together to celebrate.
Traditional Henna artists will also be on hand and people can learn more about the story of Sukkot.
The Coppetts Road community centre destroyed 20 years’ worth of memories, work, materials and data and Barnet Council is currently in talks about rebuilding it.
During the muslim festival of Ramadan, where Muslim people fast each day for a month, Rabbi Berger allowed them to pray in the synagogue.
Rabbi Berger added: “We hope this will be a beacon of hope to other communities across the world, because we can be there to support eachother through the difficult times.”
Sunday’s event will be held at Brent Cross Shopping Centre, Prince Charles Drive, Hendon, from 12 noon to 6pm.
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