New York native Rabbi Marc Schneier (above left) grew up in a Jewish community wary of outsiders. The scion of a distinguished rabbinical dynasty, his passion for Israel made him suspicious of Islam. Imam Shamsi Ali (above right) grew up in a small farming village in Indonesia and attended Muslim schools in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, where he was taught that Jews intended to destroy Islam and its practitioners. In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Rabbi Schneier, who founded the Hampton Synagogue, forged an unlikely friendship with Imam Ali, the spiritual leader of the Jamaica Muslim Center, the city’s largest Islamic center. They became close friends, passionate advocates for mutual understanding between their religions and even authors. This Sunday at the Forest Hills Jewish Center, Rabbi Schneier and Imam Ali will discuss their book, Sons of Abraham, and confront their differences, while also looking for the values that unite them. They will talk about the legitimacy of Israel and Palestinian, the idea of the chosen people and the meaning of jihad and shari’a. They don’t always see eye to eye, but when they disagree, they don’t become disagreeable.
Details: Stepping Out of Comfort Zones, Forest Hills Jewish Center, 106-06 Queens Boulevard, Forest Hills, December 15th, 2 pm, $15-$20. Click here for tickets or contact Peggy Kurtz at the Central Queens Y, 718-268-5011 or email@example.com.
Photos by Central Queens Y