Brooklyn Heights Synagogue Shows It’s a House of Prayer for All Peoples by Inviting Muslims

The Brooklyn Heights Synagogue broke bread (literally) with area Muslims Wednesday night in a show of solidarity, reports the Brooklyn Eagle:

Brooklyn Eagle: An Iftar is a break-the-fast meal held during Ramadan, considered the holiest and most introspective month of the Islamic calendar. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset from food, water and pleasurable activities. Rabbi Serge Lippe and members of the [Brooklyn Heights Synagogue] congregation welcomed Imam Abdallah Allam, other prayer leaders and members of the Dawood Mosque, providing sweet dates and water for the fast-breaking at 7:45 p.m. on Aug. 25. In a room filled with a menorah and inscriptions from the Book of Exodus, Rabbi Lippe invited the Muslim guests to observe their regular evening prayers.

Rabbi Lippe said as welcome, “Our synagogue says on the front, ‘Let them make me a sanctuary, so that I might dwell among them’ [Exodus 25:38]. Many synagogues have the line from the prophet Isaiah, ‘Let my house be a house of prayer for all peoples.’ I think that because each year we’ve developed this relationship and have our prayers being offered here, I think it lends itself to the blessings for our communities and the buildings to be able to share our prayers.”

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  • AEB

    Excellent! Every act of ecumenicism is to be prized and praised in a time of bottom-feeder anti-Islam fear mongering–the time we now live in.

  • Jorale-man

    That’s the best news I’ve heard all day. I just finished reading that piece in the Times about that horrible minister in Florida who’s planning to burn Korans on 9/11. It’s good to see there are also people of faith acting decently too.

  • StephenRex

    I don’t think the issue was that Jews can’t play nicely with others.

    See how many Jews, gays, or uncovered single women are allowed to break bread at the Ground Zero victory mosque and then call me.

    I’ll rock the “Coexist” bumper stickers when they quit throwing acid in the face of school girls, killing gays, stoning women, and beheading aid workers, thank you very much.

    Oh wait, only the extreme ones do those things. Then in that case, when the moderate ones condemn that 13th century barbarism completely, then I’ll rock the sticker.

  • Henry
  • AEB

    A “British perspective”? Actually, Henry, another equal-opportunity dose of anti-Islam paranoia.

    You know, the time honored “they’re-coming-and-they’re-going-to-take-over” variety. Or they’re here, among us, and they’re going to. Bad either way.

  • Jorale-man

    “Killing gays, stoning women,” etc. are practices that one can easily apply to Christianity too. There are extremist wings of every religion including Judaism. However, when a religious leader tries to make a rationale, constructive conciliatory gesture, it should be encouraged, not responded to with more bigotry and intolerance.

  • Quinn Raymond

    I am very happy to have these two houses of worship in our community– good for them! Hopefully their dialog will help offset the insane hatred that has been stirred up by out-of-state politicians in recent weeks.

    The residents of Brooklyn Heights are in a unique position to foster a better understanding between our religions– and (with a few exceptions) usually rise to the occasion.

  • Dorothy Daniela Josephs

    This is a commendable gesture on the part of Rabbi Serge Lippe of the Brooklyn Heights Synagogue, located so near the Muslim communities and businesses along Atlantic Ave. Religious intolerance has caused a blood bath throughout history with sadistic idiots murdering each other in the name of their exclusive gods. Though I am an atheist humanist, for that reason and many others, and though I call myself an eco-feminists believing in the wonder of nature and science as enough to learn about and worship with awe– the Earth itself being our true and very wondrous sustenance– I commend religious leaders like Rabbi Lippe. And, though I find most religions to be products of the Middle Ages, encouraging of ignorant primitive ideas of anthropomorphism full of irrational dogma and hypocrisies–gestures like Rabbi Serge Lippe are humane, sensible, rational, and truly humanizing. Such gestures of brother and sisterhood should be the foundation of ALL decent religions, and usually are the bottom-line teachings of the great prophets before they become corrupted by organized religions and their fanatics. Moses, Jesus, Mohammad, all preached religious tolerance and brother-sisterhood. The fanatical fools who do not understand that we MUST, as a democratic nation, uphold the separation of church and state to avoid oppression of anyone, are not as wise as Mayor Bloomberg, President Obama, and Candidate for Governor of NY, Andrew Cuomo, have been over the current controversy concerning the building of a mosque in Lower Manhattan. The fools don’t remember how many innoncent Muslims, also US citizens with productive lives, died in the Twin Tower explosions perpetrated by fanatics who defied the tenants of the religion they falsely claimed. It was not Muslims who down the Towers in cruel and useless acts of Terrorism, but deranged, brain-washed fanatics–driven mad by the extremes of US imperialism, who betrayed the basic tenants of Mohammed, founder of Islam as a religion of tolerance that accepted Moses, Jesus, and Buddha as prophets. President Obama is a Christian, born and raised by a white Irish Christian mother, who is charged by the US Constitution to uphold the laws separating church and state. Religious fundamentalists who do not understand the truth of truly humane spirituality, as does Rabbi Lippe, are playing with fire. They have forgotten that if they do not defend the one, they lose rights for the many.

    Those who fight the mosque in Lower Manhattan are fueling the fires of divisiveness and playing into the technique of DIVIDE AND CONQUER to keep the miserable fires of war and hatred burning. Mosques like churches and synagogues must be allowed to be built freely in secular locations. The real issue is to keep the accounting books of all religious institutions open and free of corruption to be sure that none of them are infiltrated by evil forces or terrorist activities. Timothy McVay was a white Christian, U.S. military veteran, and he was as vicious a terrorist as the insane suicide bombers who destroyed innocent lives on 9/11. We MUST stand for the separation of church and state if we wish to preserve peace and democracy. We must decry terrorist fanatics, not the religions they defile with pretentious fundamentalist extremes and their insane and heinous acts of war condoned by no one’s god, but those who worship the essence of hate symoblized by The Devil. God is LOVE in the most profound sense of nurturance, and there really is NO OTHER GOD BUT LOVE. The rest is nonsense, custom, ceremony, dogma, symbolism, ethnos.Truly spiritual people of every decent faith know that and are disgusted by intolerance. Those who know true humanism embrace diversity in the name of peace.

  • Steve R

    @StephenRex: The Branch Dividian Christian cult raped women and molested children. Because of that, should we not allow churches to be built near schools?

  • AEB

    Amen, Dorothy. And thanks.

  • Steve R

    @Dorothy Daniela Josephs: I read with interest your commentary about the interfaith outreach of the BH Synagogue, up to the point where you said, “…deranged, brain-washed fanatics–driven mad by the extremes of US imperialism”

    Are you raising the insanity defense? Are you excusing this specific, horrific act of barbarism because of international politics?

    What you are implying is that Bin Laden’s deranged aggressions are somehow related to his need to defend his “homeland”. Bin Laden has no homeland. He has no people or nation to defend. He is using these terrible deeds to incite sociological chaos and disorganization – a vacuum which he and his henchmen will gladly fill to consolidate their power and influence.

    How can you, as a person who professes to embrace true humanism, excoriate the one nation on earth where true humanism has the best chance of flourishing?

  • Dorothy Daniela Josephs

    Dear Steve R. above,
    You need to understand that Bin Laden was a monster created by U.S. policy in the Mid-East. He was a hired gun, trained and armed by the US CIA and military to defend the oil pipeline to the Caspian Sea against the Russians of the USSR who also were greedy for the oil riches of the Caspian area, i.e. oil, natural gas, precious stones and metals and what all. It seems, Steve, that you are another one of those well intended but naive Americans who thinks he’s more patriotic than those of us who really study US history and foreign policy and know that Bin Laden was on the US side against the Russians in the Caspian area in a war that preceded 9/11. Then, he was double-crossed and left high and dry when that war ended. You need to know that Bin Laden was a friend of the USA along with other Saudis who shook hands plenty of times with Henry Kissinger and George Bush senior, etc. against the Russians and who was double-crossed and made into a fanatical Jihadist. I am not justifying Bin Laden’s or anyone’s terrorist aggressions, but you need to understand the hideous foreign policy that came before 9/11, the dictators like Sadam Hussein or Papa Doc that your nation put in place to steal natural resources from other lands. You need to understand that sociopolitical history fully so that you can be a truly patriotic American and make sure that you’re standing for democracy, for sure, when you proudly call yourself a truly patriotic American as I do. I am concerned about defending my country from military and oil profiteers and Wall Street crooks who have robbed our people blind during recent years. When you know the truth, it will set you free into true and humane patriotism for our great and gifted country with its marvelously diverse populace. I mean it profoundly when I say there is NO GOD BUT LOVE and the USA foreign policy has not practiced that faith by a long shot. President Obama is attempting to correct our foreign policy to make true and real friendships with other nations, not based on bullying and not based on putting covert actions by the likes of Bin Laden and Sadam Hussein and Papa Doc in place to enforce greedy US interests. You need to real the true biography of Bin Laden and discover how he is a monster of your own country’s making in some measure. Yes, he is an insane fanatic, but that does not mean that the criminally insane should be allowed to go free among decent people. I do not excuse the criminally insane from the law, and there are special prisons for the criminally insane. I simply am saying that to murder and to commit cruel terrorists acts is a form of insanity, of asocial inexcusable behavior that must be punished by law in any event, but I am saying that you should read the true facts and understand what fuels extremist maniac murderers like the Taliban and El Queda. You should understand the circumstances that allow maniacs to convert other maniacs to their beliefs and how your own country has put criminal maniacs in power to oppress their own people throughout the second half of the 20th century and prior. But, this tactic of fashioning Bin Laden types and then having them turn on a nation or country, once they are cast aside and their usefulness no longer needed, is an old story in the history of nations and tribes and countries. Our nation is not the only great empire that grew too big for its breeches and made this kind of mistake. No nation’s hands are free of this kind of bad blood and blundering. It is time for all nations to come together against greed and war and to stop training crazy dictators to oppress their own peoples in order that greed and military profiteering win. We the people of the earth must stand up against such injustice. Meantime, we do need to maintain an appropriate defense system, and President Obama is highly respected by other nations for this kind of intelligent diplomacy and the fact that he has a good brain in his head compared to xenophobic ignorant, self-serving puppets and cronies like Sarah Palin, George W.Bush, Jr., John McCaine, Dick Cheney and the like, who are basically cronies of the rich and greedy corporate bosses who greatly control the world economy and oppress its suffering masses, including we the people of the USA. We the people, must take responsibility for the mistakes of our own government in creating our own monsters, like Bin Laden, but that does not mean that Bin Laden should be excused in any way for his heinous acts of terrorism and his insane Jihad.

  • Steve R

    Dorothy – Being condescending about my views and my patriotism does not make you or your philosophy any more meaningful or relevant than me or mine. I was in the streets in Boston protesting the Vietnam war. I am still as fervently anti-aggression now as I was then. But I also accept that the years have graced (or corrupted!) me with a certain perspective I didn’t have in my early 20’s, including the understanding that TR was right when he said, “walk softly, but carry a big stick.”

    “NO GOD BUT LOVE” sounds a lot like “NO GOD BUT ALLAH” or “NO GOD BUT JESUS” or “NO GOD BUT THE GOD OF ABRAHAM”, or whatever your particular brand of deity is. The concepts are the same, the devil is in the interpretation and implementation. Dogma is dogma.

    Thanks for the history lesson, but I’ve been a pretty good student of history, having lived through 60 years of it. The US didn’t “make” Bin Laden, and his actions cannot be explained or excused by making him out to be some sweet little innocent farm boy that was somehow corrupted by American power and greed and avarice. He is a sadistic opportunist from a rich and powerful family who sells his services to the highest bidder. He hates America and pathetically attempts to destroy it precisely for the democratic and egalitarian principles it stands for. And because of his hate and that of the others of his ilk, we often have to assume a defensive posture that is, at times, not all bright and shiny. Walk softly, but carry a big stick.

  • StephenRex

    Amen, last poster.

  • Annette

    Well said Steve..Well said…

  • nabeguy

    SteveR, as a student of history, you know that Bin-Laden cut his teeth in the 70’s with the muhujadeen rebels in Afghanistan in their battle with the Soviets…freedom fighters who were funded and armed by the United States. Does that mean we “made” him? No, not necessarily, but it certainly enabled him. The same sort of atavistic attitudes that are at play with the 52Park situation are akin to the ones that our government took during that 70’s.. “let the towel-heads do our fighting for us, who cares about them anyway?”. Except that one of them had a billion-dollar family fortune at his disposal. And we all know how that ended up.

  • my2cents

    Are Steve R and Stephen Rex the same guy?

  • Steve R

    When I last checked, we weren’t

  • Steve R

    Nabeguy – I’m not sure I understand the connection you refer to between the 52Park (did you mean Islamic Cultural Center at Park51?) situation and our relationship with Bin Laden during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Simplistically, Afghanistan was our blindly following the creed of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”, and yes, look what it got us. I do not see any parallels at all between that and the building of the cultural center.

  • my2cents

    I think it is great to see the Brooklyn Heights synagogue continuing the tradition of religious tolerance that is part of the legacy of Brooklyn Heights. I hope things like this continue to happen. They are of vital importance to create bridges of understanding between groups of people whose lives don’t normally intersect.

  • Dorothy Daniela Josephs

    Ah, Steve R.,
    I did not condescend you. How could I condescend someone on such a high horse? You are the sort of guy who has to one-up the other and have the last word whether you are really arguing something different or not. Actually, I’m 70 years old and no spring chicken. I’ve lived through plenty, including the Vietnam War protests and the Civil Rights Movement before that, and I was abused by the KKK at 20 years, so I know what end is up.To equate the idea that “there’s no god but love” with religious dogma is nutty indeed. Love is not the name of prophet, but a humanistic ideal. There’s no dogma in love when, as I said, I mean it in the highest sense of love as nurturance, not some sappy Hallmark card sort of idea and there is nothing anthropomorphic about it. The great biologist, Lyn Margulis, in her book SYMBIOSIS, helps us to understand that we organisms live by COoperation on this planet, even more than my “survival of the fittest.” And I never said that Bin Laden was made by the USA, but the implication of what I said is that he was very much facilitated into being who he was and then double-crossed, which is the truth of history. Also, what did he do with that Saudi fortune, when the USA left him high and dry when they no longer needed him to fight the Russians with his troops? He gave his fortune to those lamed and widowed by that war, and thus he was a popular saint of benevolence and alms giving among his people, giving him the power to become the demon Jihadist he is today. But, whatever he is, he’s one guy and history has shown the 9/11 terrorist attacks were engineered by Saudi terrorists and hewas then and is now an enemy of the Saudi and his own family, today, and was not likely the chief engineer of 9/11. Indeed, many believe 9/11 was allowed to happen, deliberately, (CIA intelligence greatly ignored) to give us a “REMEMBER THE ALIMO!” sort of war cry to unify our country to war on Iraq when Sadam Hussein, horrible as he was, had nothing to do with 9/11 at all. Yes, “walk softly and carry a big stick” is exactly the sort of diplomacy that President Obama is following. It is the “walk softly” part that Prostidont Bush Jr. ignored with his cabinet and Vice President of Vice, Double Chinny who hoped to found an even wider and greater dominate world power with their blundering and pillaging imperialism.

  • thefuzz


    Have a drink and relax.

  • Tarek

    Wasn’t it ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick’?

    I agree with much of what Dorothy is saying, though I hate that she was lured into ‘proving’ her credibility with age. Saying one is 60 or 70 to give you credibility in argument (that primarily doesn’t include personal experience) is silly.

    Also, no need to patronize Dorothy (thefuzz) because she is carrying an impassioned opinion about temperance, tolerance and her opinion on our current political station.

    We are all entitled to our opinions. Just have some insight into where your opinions arise. Is it out of first-hand experience? Is it out of research (hopefully unbiased)? Is it your ‘gut feeling’? Or is it (most likely) formulated around what we’re ‘told’?. So (in being extreme for sake of conversation) OBL being the mastermind jihadist nightmare who hates America’s Freedom and democracy is an argument George Bush told you to adopt, whether he is indeed right or wrong (I certainly don’t know from experience).

    The question I ask myself when I formulate my opinions is “Can I trust this person? If so, why do I trust him?” Otherwise I rely on my own experience, and if that doesn’t amount to anything (which often times it doesn’t) I respectfully keep an open mind and if it really matters to me, dive into as much research as possible to formulate my opinion/argument.

    Lastly, and not suggesting anyone truly adopts this thesis, but to naively believe/support that everything your country does/faces/imposes is just, fair and right is not in your best interest as a citizen of that country.

    Anyway, let’s have a big Brooklyn Heights Block party and discuss in person one of these days…would love to meet all of you…

  • Tarek

    This is a wonderful example of my point regarding age. This young lady is 18:

    or video

  • Steve R

    Tarek, you are absolutely right about the correct form of TR’s quote. Now I will go sit in the corner and hide behind my advanced age. :-)

  • Dorothy Daniela Josephs

    I gave my age to say that I specifically lived through the Viet Nzm Protests and was active and abused for such in the Civil Rights Movement of the early 60’s, not simply to state that I was old or older, but to specify the history I was active in, and so I was detailed in my experience. No need to say I was JUST pulling out the age card, as age does not necessarily make for wisdom, it’s true. But, I a long lived experienced activist of peace and social justice who was there firsthand in my activism.