Salaam and Greetings of Peace:
A letter from a friend in Cairo:
This evening at sunset marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year and the start of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting. How lovely that both of these Abrahamic traditions are joined in celebration at the same time! There’s even three R’s to help us remember them.
Rosh Hashanah is filled with the symbols of the ram’s horn shofar and foods like honeyed apples to bring sweetness to fresh beginning of a new year. Then the preparations begin for Yom Kippur, where people seek forgiveness from those they have harmed, in hopes of divine forgiveness on the Day of Atonement ten days later (also commemorated by fasting).
Ramadan is a purifying process that celebrates the mercy of the Divine in revealing the Qu’ran. The day-time fasting is quite sober, and people are encouraged to give generously to the poor and relate to their hunger. Evenings, after the fast is broken, are joyously celebrated, in the company of friends and family, as well as in traditional prayers.
Remembrance is the third R that links these spiritual celebrations. Remembering the divine and remembering our fellow creatures with acts of contrition and of generosity remind us of our essential connectedness. Even if you’re not celebrating one of these holidays, take time for the remembrance of loved ones far and near, present and absent. And by all means Rejoice (another R) in the simple pleasure of being able to share food and friendship wherever you are!
L’shana tova! (Hebrew for Happy New Year.) Ramadan Karim! (Arabic for Generous Ramadan!)
Peace and love,
Note: Her forthcoming book – Towards the Heart of Islam: A Woman’s Path by Eva de Vitray-Meyerovitch, translated by Cathryn Goddard, Fons Vitae publisher