Succah built in Brent Cross in show of interfaith

By Sandy Rashty, September 23, 2013
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Members of the Jewish and Somali Bravanese community outside the succah in Brent Cross (Photo: Ian Fidler)

Members of the Jewish and Somali Bravanese community outside the succah in Brent Cross (Photo: Ian Fidler)

Brent Cross was the location for an example of festive inter-faith co-operation this week, as Jews and Somalis came together to build a succah in the shopping centre.

The booth was erected by members of the Finchley Reform (FRS) and New North London synagogues with the Muslim Bravanese community.

The groups have grown close since the synagogues offered the Somalis a place to pray after the Al-Rahma Islamic Centre in Muswell Hill, north London, was destroyed by a suspected racially-motivated arson attack in June.

Ramadan prayers were held at FRS, while Eid celebrations were catered at Kinloss.

“We didn’t want the relationship to stop there,” said Rabbi Miriam Berger, of FRS. “So we’re bringing in the message of Succot, which is connected to building a temporary home until a permanent one can be found.

“A lot of people think Muslims and Jews are at war but the Jewish community are backing them and saying we know what it’s like to be a persecuted minority.”

Dr Abdishakur, from the Islamic Centre, added: “Succot symbolises temporary accommodation as the Jews left Egypt and wandered around the desert for 40 years not having a home. We’re in a similar situation.”

Passing shoppers were offered honey cake and bhajis and wrote messages of support that were displayed in the succah.

Charlotte Fischer, the community organiser at Citizens UK, who has orchestrated the inter-faith projects between the two communities, said that Jews had experience of their own buildings being destroyed.

“Jewish institutions have an emotional connection with the idea of communal buildings being attacked. Helping is a positive thing,” she said.

Last updated: 2:39pm, September 24 2013