A blog dedicated to spreading the simcha of learning the Torah that was given L'Moshe Mi'Sinai. Topics range from Gemora to Chumash!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Interfaith Dialogue

5 Cheshvan 5766

Today I attended an interfaith dialogue between Imam Muzzamil Siddiqi and Rabbi Altshuler, rabbi of Congregation Eilat, a conservative Shul here in Orange County. They talked about the basics of both faiths, i.e., shariya is the muslim halacha, halal is the muslim kosher and so forth.

It was very informative, and Imam Siddiqi was very friendly and articulate. He's an immigrant from India, but even so, I had no issue understanding him. They were both candid and open, but naturally, due to the fact that I'm a blogger, I took issues with some of the things that Rabbi Altshuler said.

First of all, he basically wrote off all of Ashkenazi Jewry, claiming that the more authentic kind of Judaism was the Judaism of the middle east, which outwardly resembles Islamic worship more. He even said to me, "Sephardic torah readings sound like arabic." OK, great! And Ashkenazishe hebrew sounds like German/Russian. He was confusing a branch for a root. They appear more like arabs because they live in arab countries. We appear more like europeans because we live in european countries.

Secondly, he was a conservative rabbi who didnt wear a yarmulke, so right off I knew we would have an issue about our beliefs about the nature of halakha.

But altogether it was an interesting and informative thing. Kudos to Hillel for putting this on.