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Rabbi Angela Buchdahl/Facebook, Zareena Bacchus/Facebook

A synagogue in New York offered their Muslim neighbors a place to worship from after a nearby mosque sustained smoke damage from a fire.

The conflagration started early Wednesday morning in the restaurant occupying the first floor of the Islamic Society of Mid-Manhattan on 55th Street on Lexington Avenue.

The establishment, Omar's Mediterranean Cuisine, was destroyed, but the upper floors of the mosque only sustained damage from smoke, according to the NYFD.

However, the mosque was not available for Friday afternoon worship.


The mosque's congregants were hoping to return for Jummah — the afternoon prayer which takes place on Friday, the holiest day in the Muslim week — but, the fire department was still inspecting the premises, leaving the congregants without a place of worship.

In an awe-inspiring act of kindness, Central Synagogue opened its doors to the Muslim congregants to the indoor pavilion.

In his sermon, the mosque's Imam called Friday "one of the most blessed moments of my life in New York," and that "light can come out of the darkness."

Here is a video of the Imam of Islamic Society of Mid-Manhattan speaking at Central Synagogue, courtesy of Rabbi Stephanie Kolin.


Imam of Islamic Society of Mid Manhattan speaking at Central Synagogue www.youtube.com

In addition to providing space, Central synagogue's facilities manager located hand washing stations, an integral part of Muslim prayer, for their guests.

According to Forward, 600 Muslims walked a block over to Central to participate in their weekly Jummah services and left their shoes out in the venue's hallway, a common protocol of respect during Muslim worship.

The historical synagogue's rabbi, Rabbi Stephanie Kolin, was overwhelmed by the act of religious solidarity on display.

"It was one of the most beautiful sights I've seen in my life."

She added that she was "still a little shaken from the spiritual power of what happened."

After the Islamic Society's leader finished conducting their prayers, he invited Kolin to speak. She mentioned the New Zealand terrorist attack in which 50 people were killed by a gunman at two mosques in Christchurch.

"These attacks on our communities are one and the same," she told her Muslim guests, who responded with a round of applause.

Rabbi Angela Buchdahl posted a photo of the compassionate moment on Facebook.

She wrote:

"Our neighbors at the 55th Street mosque had a terrible fire this week. Hundreds arrived for afternoon prayer only to find they couldn't enter their mosque."
"So we invited them to pray at Central Synagogue. Their Imam said this was the holiest moment he has experienced in New York. It is certainly one of ours as well. Salaam. Shalom."




Central Synagogue's hospitality spoke volumes in times of division.


Rabbi Angela Buchdahl/Facebook


Rabbi Angela Buchdahl/Facebook



Rabbi Angela Buchdahl/Facebook



Rabbi Angela Buchdahl/Facebook



Rabbi Angela Buchdahl/Facebook

A call for unity starts with gestures like this.


Rabbi Angela Buchdahl/Facebook


Rabbi Angela Buchdahl/Facebook


Rabbi Angela Buchdahl/Facebook

The world is capable of such compassion. So why can't we witness more acts of kindness and community like this?

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