Since Donald Trump’s election two years ago this month, members of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah (CBST) have stood outside the Muslim prayer space at NYU’s Islamic Center holding up signs saying, “Jewish New Yorkers Support Our Muslim Neighbors,” “Love Your Neighbor as Yourself,” and “United Against Hate.”
On the evening of November 2, members of the Islamic Center returned the show of solidarity by standing outside CBST, the city’s LGBTQ synagogue, welcoming congregants on the first Shabbat following last weekend’s massacre at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Synagogue.
“In a time of constant attack from this administration, our friends from CBST have been a source of hope, faith, and most importantly love,” the Islamic Center said in a written statement.
The Center’s contingent included Imam Khalid Latif.
Also on hand at the entrance to the CBST services was Carmelyn P. Malalis, the out lesbian chair of the city Commission on Human Rights.
CBST’s efforts with the Islamic Center grew out of Senior Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum’s thoughts the Friday after Trump’s election “wondering how Muslim-Americans must be feeling facing a president whose entire candidacy began with an anti-Muslim speech.”
That first Friday evening, several congregants joined Kleinbaum, and since the president’s inauguration in January 2017 CBST members have been at every Friday Jummah prayer at the Islamic Center.
“The response has been overwhelmingly positive,” Kleinbaum said.
CBST has formalized its engagement with the city’s Muslim community through its House of Peace effort, headed up by board member Harold Levine.
The services took place at CBST’s sanctuary at 130 West 30th Street.