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Across Religious Lines

July 22, 2002, South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Across religious lines, by Nicole T. Lesson.

Pembroke Pines + Praying in synagogue is a common practice for Trudi DeGrazia of Sunrise and Margo Mintzer of Aventura.

But on Sunday, the two Temple Adath Or members participated in Muslim prayer for the first time during Festival For Peace at the Darul Uloom Islamic Institute in Pembroke Pines.

More than 200 adults and children took part in the free event, which brought Muslims and Jews together to share and enjoy their differences.

"I wanted to show the Muslims that I wanted to learn about what they do and be part of that," said Mintzer, 65. "Whenever I step into a holy place, a peace comes over me -- whether it's being in my temple, church or mosque, I feel at one with God."

DeGrazia said she enjoyed watching the expressions on the children's faces as they prayed.

"It gave me a sense of what they felt," said DeGrazia, who's in her 70s. "I bowed my head but didn't bring myself to bow down to the floor because I wanted to understand why before I did that."

The event was organized by Jews & Muslims & All, or JAM, a post-Sept. 11 brainchild of Moshe David Kamrat of Temple Adath Or in Fort Lauderdale.

"Today gave us a chance to bring an understanding of the human race and who we are," said Kamrat, JAM's co-founder. "Our only goal was bring people together, increase love and the spirit behind it. I think we did that."

Those at the event heard speakers, sang, provided input for a JAM Mideast peace proposal and signed up for a "peace tour" of Israel scheduled for the December holidays. Halaal, kosher and vegetarian foods from around the world were available at no charge for event-goers.

Other activities included a dunk tank, bounce house, face painting, children's arts and crafts, and an opportunity to create their own "posters for peace."

"Our mission was accomplished, and people came on their own," said Maulana Shafayat Mohamed, co-founder of JAM. "People said we couldn't get Jews and Muslims together, and we have been able to prove that we could."

Nicole T. Lesson can be reached at or 954-385-7920.

Copyright © 2002, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Copyright © 2001, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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