The story is a good reminder that there are no permanent friends or enemies in the world. Everything is time and context. In some times and contexts, Jews and Muslims have much in common. At other times, they are at war.
Almost no Orthodox shul would meet at a mosque let alone a church.
For several years, I have been part of an ongoing Muslim-Jewish dialog between the Islamic Center and Congregation B’nai David-Judea (BDJ). Our group was born some five years ago of the shared vision of Imam Jihad Turk, then head of the Islamic center and now president of Bayan Claremont, an Islamic seminary and graduate school, and Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky of BDJ. The Iftar gathering expanded the group from its core 20 or so to our larger communities. In October, BDJ will host both communities at a Sukkah party.
The date had been set long ago, before anyone could have imagined it would be just days after Omar Mateen, claiming allegiance to Islam, killed 49 people at a gay night club in Orlando. Imam Turk told the group that our friendship had even deeper resonance at a time when the Muslim community had once again been pulled under by someone claiming to act in its name.
Turk also noted that while the Islamic Center has relationships with other synagogues, only B’nai David is Orthodox among them, and that commitment to observance adds another layer of connection…
We separated the room into areas for men and women — a convention no Jew or Muslim in the room blinked at.