House of Peace, Jewish-Muslim outreach initiative of LGBT congregation Beit Simchat Torah in New York, gathered to greet worshippers at the N.Y.U. Islamic Center.
On Friday afternoons, Muslims gather for Junnah, a big prayer service — the most heavily attended during the week — that includes the weekly sermon. This is why Beith Simchat Torah, an L.G.B.T. congregation, chose Fridays for these vigils of positivity.
Harold Levine, co-chairperson of House of Peace explained, “This is a response to the alarming rise of anti-Muslim sentiment seemingly provoked by statements during the campaigns.”
The House of Peace action — welcoming worshippers as they arrive and staying to greet them they as they leave — has taken place several times starting the Friday after the election.
“Going forward, we will continue this weekly,” Levin said. “The reaction has been overwhelming. We get hugs, handshakes and thank yous. The worshippers photograph us and want to be photographed with us.”
Personal stories are shared between the congregants of the two religious institutions and it’s been a chance for members of the Jewish congregants to learn more about the Muslim community in New York City.