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Hussam has been a lifelong human rights activist who is passionate about promoting democratic societies, in the US and worldwide, in which all people, including immigrants, workers, minorities, and the poor enjoy freedom, justice, economic justice, respect, and equality. Mr. Ayloush frequently lectures on Islam, media relations, civil rights, hate crimes and international affairs. He has consistently appeared in local, national, and international media. Full biography at: http://hussamayloush.blogspot.com/2006/08/biography-of-hussam-ayloush.html

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Rosh Hashanah, Ramadan To Begin Wednesday Night

Rosh Hashanah, Ramadan To Begin Wednesday Night

(CBS) LOS ANGELES Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins at sundown Wednesday night, coinciding for the third year in a row with Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting.

The relatively unusual calendar occurrence is being used by religious leaders to urge two communities often at odds as a result of six decades of Arab-Israeli strife to come together.

"With Ramadan and Rosh Hashanah falling around the same time this year, Muslims, Jews and other Americans will have an opportunity once again to involve in spiritual reflection and renewal, and learn about each other's faith and traditions," said Hussam Ayloush, executive director for the Greater Los Angeles Area of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Rabbi Jim Kaufman of Temple Beth Hillel in Valley Village echoed that sentiment, telling the Daily News: "This is an opportunity for moderate-thinking Jews and moderate-thinking Muslims to celebrate their respective faiths and respect the paths of God that others have chosen."

Along with prayers at temples and synagogues, large Islamic centers and mosques, Jews and Muslims are called on to devote the next several days to introspection, generosity, forgiveness and personal renewal.

Rosh Hashanah, which will usher in the year 5768 on the Jewish calendar, starts at sundown Wednesday night with the blowing of the shofar, a ram's horn, in synagogues. The two-day holiday marks the start of a period of penitence and contemplation leading to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the most solemn and somber day on the Jewish calendar.

Jews believe that God records the fate of humankind in the Book of Life during the period of the High Holy Days. On Yom Kippur, Jews fast, attend religious services, atone for past sins, seek forgiveness from those they've wronged and resolve not to repeat their transgressions.

Though this is the third year in a row when Rosh Hashanah and Ramadan coincide, it is a relatively rare occurrence, given the difference in the lunar calendars followed by Jews and Muslims.

The observance of Ramadan is one of the five major tenets of Islam and can only begin after the new moon is sighted by special Islamic committees in London and the Middle East. Muslim leaders worldwide disagree on how to respond to the sightings of special committees, so Muslims around the world start the holy month on different days.

Many Islamic communities will start Ramadan Wednesday night, with Muslims in other areas starting the month of fasting Thursday night.

During the month of Ramadan, Muslim tradition commands a fast during the daylight hours. During the day, no eating, drinking or sexual activity is allowed. Muslims break the fast at sunset, usually by eating dates and drinking water or juice. This is followed by an after-sunset prayer and a complete meal.

(© 2007 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report. )

1 comment:

Nikol said...

That's all fine. What, however, do you think about Obadiah Shoher's criticism pf Rosh Hashanah as aholiday that has nothing to do with New Year? Here, for example http://samsonblinded.org/blog/petty-paganism.htm