Jerusalem, the three religions together again against the Coronavirus

Posted on Apr 25, 2020

 

After the meeting organized a few weeks ago by the municipality of Jerusalem, the religious leaders of the Holy City found themselves praying together again.

At the King David Hotel, in the west of Jerusalem, the chiefs of rabbis of Israel arrive – Sephardic Yitzhak Yosef and Ashkenazite David Lau. They are the ones who compose the prayer asking for the end of the Coronavirus pandemic.

 

Rabbi DAVID ROSEN
Director Department of International Interfaith Affairs of the AJC

“This tragedy is also an opportunity. It allows us to understand what is really important in life, and for the religious community, it is also an important opportunity to come together, to express the faith we share in the one creator and leader of the world.

“Very often the Almighty uses – if we say so – threats and dangers to get people to do what is good and necessary, and perhaps this is an example of this.”

Psalm 121 ends the interreligious prayer, although the languages in which each one recites it are different. Side by side – but always keeping a safe distance of two meters – the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem and the Orthodox Patriarch, His Beatitude Theophilus III, the spiritual guide of the Druze Mowafaq Tarif, and the two Muslim imams Gamal el Ubra and Agel Al-Atrash.

HE Mgr PIERBATTISTA PIZZABALLA, ofm
Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem

“This virus knows no boundaries of politics, races and religions, and has managed to do something very rare, especially here in Jerusalem: to make believers of different faiths – Christian Jews, Muslims and Druze – pray the same prayer together. We hope that we can continue in this direction, not only to fight the virus but to be more united among ourselves.”

In a few weeks in Jerusalem, the main feasts of the year were concentrated for all three religions: the Jewish Easter, the Christian Easter, the beginning of the month of Ramadan.

To unite the faithful of the one God, there was also the commitment to adapt their traditions and liturgies to the restrictions to prevent the contagion.

Rabbi DAVID ROSEN
Director Department of International Interfaith Affairs of the AJC

“I don’t think I’ve ever faced a situation like this before. Much of our liturgical life is common, designed to be together, but we had to find a way to do it without being physically close to each other. We started using a lot of applications like Whatsapp or Zoom. Which are very important but, nevertheless, very often when we develop certain technologies they tend to take control of us. These are some of the dangers we will have to take into account in the post-pandemic era, including how we educate and guide our communities.”