Imagine you are a Chickpea…

Interfaith Week 2022

To mark Interfaith week, we were delighted to be joined by our friends from the Dialogue Society for our Shabbat morning service on Saturday 19th November.

Interfaith week takes place each year, beginning on Remembrance Sunday and running until the following week. Its aim is to encourage local faith groups to come together to build relationships and to celebrate their diversity and commonality.

Established in 1999, the Dialogue Society was founded by a group of British Muslims of Turkish background with the aim of of advancing social cohesion by connecting communities, empowering people to engage and contributing to the development of ideas on dialogue and community building.

Members of the Dialogue Society and the KLS congregation after the service

At KLS we are fortunate to have a strong relationship with members of the local Dialogue Society. On this occasion, they attended our Shabbat Morning service which was led by our President, Sandra Webber. Some of them had not attended a Jewish service before, and Sandra invited them to come to the Bimah and see the Torah scroll close-up during the Torah reading.

During the sermon slot their Project Coordinator and Research Fellow, Iysha Arun, gave a highly enjoyable and thought provoking talk on the ‘oldest dessert in the world’ – the Noah’s Pudding which represents the celebratory meal that Noah made when he came off the Ark.

Asking the congregation to imagine they were a chickpea, Iysha then asked us to consider whether we would like to be part of a hearty soup, a salad or a Noah’s Pudding. After having taken a vote, she explained that the soup represents an authoritarian regime where people of all different sorts are blended together, their individualities eradicated, into a single uniform whole. The salad, by contrast, allows individuals to be distinct but can be quite bland without something external binding them together. By contrast, in the Noah’s pudding, each ingredient maintains its character but also uses its own essence to blend with other ingredients to create something beautiful.

This was proved at Kiddush when we were able to sample this pudding – a combination of many ingredients including chickpeas, apricots, pomegranate seeds, nuts, coconuts, sugar, barley and many more. It was, indeed, delicious!

The Noah’s Pudding

As well as a welcome opportunity for much conversation whilst sharing the Noah’s pudding, Sandra was also able to show our visitors our Mosaic which was created by members of the community in 2009 and represents many aspects of Jewish history and religion.

KLS President, Sandra Webber, shows our Mosaic to our visitors from the Dialogue Society

Speaking after the event, Iysha Arun said “The warm welcome of the Jewish community is something that I always miss after leaving my visits…the KLS community was no different, the Shabbat service here filled my soul with peace and I look forward to coming back! I love all the similarities in our faith and cultures – to next time!”