This past Friday, my Rabbi asked the congregation what we thought about the Mosque at Ground Zero. Just like the United States, we were split down the middle. I won’t bore you by repeating what I’ve already said. If you’ve not read my opinion, it can be found on the July 20th posting. However, two opinions stuck out. One was from a Holocaust Survivor. He was in favor of building the Mosque because, as he said, “Not all Germans are Nazis.” The second one is the one that threw me for a loop, and what prompts me to write this today.
The woman was middle age, and her opinion seemed harsh to me. She drew a comparison to the building the Mosque in New York to building the Dome of the Rock 1,400 years ago. She said that the Muslims were stealing the land from us, and they had no reason to. I could not respond to her then, but I can respond to her now, and I pray she reads this one day.
Yes, the Dome of the Rock is a much contested piece of land is Jerusalem. Probably there is no more contested piece of land in the entire world. To Jews, it is the site of The Holy Temple, where we hope to one day rebuild it. To Muslims, the rock, over which The Dome is built, is believed to be where Mohammed ascended into Heaven with Gabriel. Yes, Mecca and Medina are the two Holiest cities in Islam, but Jerusalem does have a place in its culture because of that simple reason.
As we Jews enter the High Holy Days, and the month of Ramadan starts, we should perchance a truce. Maybe it’s too late for the older generations who have an ingrained prejudice, but for my generation, and my children’s generation, there is always the hope for peace and understanding.