#MoreInCommon: 12 Things that unite Jews and Muslims

Mention the words “Jewish” and “Muslim” in the same sentence and you’ll also likely hear: Israel, Palestine, war, conflict. Yep, with conflict dominating the media, you’d never know that Jews and Muslims are in fact very close – both theologically and culturally. After all, Isaac and Ishmael were brothers. Yes, we really do have so much in common!

At Voice of Salam, we’re an interfaith team made up of both Jews and Muslims working together. So, we wanted to show you just how much we really do have in common and to help crush some of those “othering” stereotypes out there which look to create distance instead of build bridges. And of course, what better way to do it than with some great GIFs! After all, who doesn’t love a GIF?

Take a look and don’t forget to like, comment and share to help spread the word that we really do have #MoreInCommon than many people would want you to believe!

1. Where there are festivals, there’s food!

Did someone say food? Yes, no festival would be complete without food! From Hanukkah fuelled doughnuts and fried latke (potato cakes), matzo flattened bread during Passover and sweet honey and apple during the Jewish New Year to Qurbani meat (e.g. lamb or chicken) during the period of Eid Al-Adha and plenty of dates and celebratory meals both during and after Ramadan, food is always on the table! Put it this way: if there’s no food (even post-fast), there’s no festival!

2. That awkward question: “So what are you doing at Christmas?”

Whilst some Jewish and Muslim families may have a family meal on Christmas Day or potentially exchange gifts, for the most part, we don’t celebrate Christmas. The Jewish faith does not recognise Jesus of Nazareth as The Messiah, whilst Muslims believe that Jesus is a mortal Prophet of God with no divinity. We also believe he was born outside of the winter period.

So, what does that mean for the Christmas holidays? Well, chilling out of course, seeing our families away from the hustle and bustle of our daily schedules and 100% making the most of not being at work!

3. We’re proud to show our identity

Jews and Muslims are very proud people and we’re also often also very recognisable as a result! You may see many Jewish men and boys (and also some Jewish sisters) wearing a kippah when out and about (and in the synagogue) as a sign of devotion to God, whilst similarly many Muslim men may wear a kufi cap when off to the mosque or as part of their cultural tradition. Hat’s the way folks! And yes – there’s more on headcoverings amongst our Jewish and Muslim sisters to come in #8!

4. That “fasting feeling”…

Did you know that fasting is integral to both the Jewish and Islamic faiths? Yep. For a staggering 24 hours, each year the Jewish community fasts for Yom Kippur to seek forgiveness from God, whilst during the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims across the globe fast from sunrise to sunset for a month as an act of devotion and obedience to God.

What’s more, there are also a host of other fasting days within the Jewish and Muslim calendars. For Muslims, the tradition of Prophet Muhammad is to fast (an optional) two days a week on Mondays and Thursdays. Yes, with fasting it’s hard but rewarding work! We all know that pre-breaking fast feeling…

5. Mom knows how to cure everything…

So, you’re feeling a bit under the weather. Say no more! Mom is on hand with, yep you guessed it: hearty warm hot chicken soup. Chicken soup with dumplings is the number one soup in the Jewish community. But funnily enough, did you know that all-curing soup is also common in the (predominantly Muslim) Pakistani, Afghani and Algerian communities? Funny, isn’t it!

6. Elders know their (respected) place!

Elders hold a dear, important place within both communities and are integral to family and community life. At the synagogue/mosque, festive gatherings or family reunions, elders are given the upmost respect.

7. Parents always love to play matchmaker

We’re big on marriage in the Jewish and Muslim communities – and don’t our parents know it! Come a certain age you may hear: “I know this lovely Jewish girl/boy / sister/brother who’d be perfect for you…” Yep, parents, aunts/uncles and elders love to play matchmaker! What’s more, with the birth of the internet and Jewish and Muslim dating apps, this age-old tradition looks set to continue!

8. We’ve got styleeee

Whoever said that modest means boring hasn’t met any of our Jewish and Muslim sisters! From wigs and scarves designed to cover the hair/head and clothing to cover all/most of the body, they’re looking fabulous, whilst also practising their religion at the same time!

9. (Big) families are everything

Picture this: you’re at the mosque or synagogue or a community event and you’re exchanging in small talk. Soon enough, here it comes: “So, do you have children?”. Yep, in many orthodox Jewish families there are lots of siblings to play with whilst in some Muslims families, you’re never short of company!

10. Bread, bread, bread!

Challah, challah, challah. Yes, the Jewish community love their bread! And so do countless Muslim cultures. Roti, kasra, naan, pitta – you name it, bread is a favourite! Personal experience has shown that when you’ve passed on the mountainous sides of bread in North African settings, you’re met with: “Don’t you eat bread?”. Yep, even in the Jewish community, bread has an important historical tradition in Passover. So much so, that the community switches from leaven bread to matzo to remember when the Jews had to flee Egypt in a hurry and didn’t have time to wait for bread to rise.

11. Beards = big

In the Muslim community, it’s common to follow the Prophetic tradition and grow a pretty substantial beard. Likewise, in the Orthodox community, you’ll see many brothers sporting their own beard. Don’t knock the beard – “the beard maketh the man” as they say!

12. We’re in love with our faiths

Beyond the jokes around chicken soup, matchmaking and bread – here’s the crux: we’re both super proud of our faiths. Our faith is our life. For Jews and Muslims especially, as part of the Abrahamic family, we’ve got a special bond. So, let’s remember that!

So, whether you’re Jewish, Muslim, from another (or even no) faith background, I’m sure we can all agree that with so much in common, let’s celebrate our similarities and come together – bread, chicken soup and all! As the late Jo Cox MP said, we really do have more in common than that which divides us. So, share this blog and declare #MoreInCommon for Jews and Muslims!

Salam, shalom, peace!

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