GOOD

When Holy Days Converge

This year’s overlap of Yom Kippur and Eid al-Adha offers Jews and Muslims an opportunity for common reflection.

image via wikimedia commons

On Tuesday evening, observant Jews will gather in synagogues around the world to hear kol nidre, the declaration chanted each year to mark the start of Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. They will spend most of following day praying, seeking forgiveness for the misdeeds of the past year, all while abstaining from food and drink in order to focus on the solemnity of the occasion.


At the same time, observant Muslims the world over will begin celebrating Eid al-Adha, a commemoration of the biblical patriarch Abraham’s faithful willingness to offer his young son as a sacrifice to God, and the divine intervention which spared the child’s life. In addition to reciting prayers at local mosques, those celebrating the holiday are encouraged to gather as a family for a festive meal, the meat for which (often goat or sheep) is divided into thirds: One for the diners, one for extended friends and relatives, and one to be donated to those in need.

At first glance, the two holidays seem fairly dissimilar: One is a time for deep personal introspection, while the other is a festive celebration of family and community. And yet, this year’s overlap between Eid al-Adha and Yom Kippur–an event brought about by both Judaism and Islam’s use of the Lunar, rather than Gregorian calendar–offers practitioners of both religions–so often depicted as being at odds with one another–a unique opportunity to share their experiences as people of faith.

Marking this occasion in an essay for The Huffington Post, Rabbi Marc Schneier, president of the interfaith and intercultural-focused Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, writes:

Indeed, each of the two faiths is a complete belief system that permeates every aspect of their adherents' daily lives. Each has an all-encompassing system of religious law; known respectively as halachah and shar'ia; both have dietary laws, and similar customs pertaining to circumcision, ritual purity, marriage and burial, as well as many common prayers.

It is this same sense of shared commitment to an encompassing belief system which is at the heart of a new ad being run on Israeli television leading up to the holiday convergence:

The Abraham Fund, an Israeli not-for-profit group which focuses on coexistence and equality between that country’s Jewish and Arab citizens, is responsible for the ad. They write on their site:

On 23 September 2015, Judaism and Islam's holiest days, Yom Kippur and Eid al-Adha, will coincide. Since these two festivals are observed so differently, and there is limited public awareness of either's traditions, this could be a cause for provocation in Israel.

Recent clashes between Israeli police and Arab protesters in Jerusalem have brought tensions to a boil between the two communities as each prepares for their respective holy days. And while the convergence of the two faiths’ holidays could, as the Abraham Fund fears, been taken as a cause for provocation, Gishurim, an Israeli mediation and community dialog organization, has created a similar video, highlighting the sense of faith-based significance shared between the two peoples:

Ultimately then, while the holidays of Yom Kippur and Eid al-Adha may differ in both purpose and practice, their rare convergence offers Jews and Muslims an important opportunity to come together, appreciate one another’s traditions, and celebrate a shared commitment to the unifying human dignity in us all.

Articles
Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet

Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

Keep Reading Show less

September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

A dramatic new feature on the iPhone 11 Pro is its three camera lenses. The three lenses give users the the original wide, plus ultrawide and telephoto options.

Keep Reading Show less
Health
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less
Health