As part of SCoJeC’s commitment to advancing dialogue and understanding between the Jewish Community and other communities in Scotland, we joined Interfaith Glasgow’s Weekend Club for ‘Sharing the Sabbath’, an interfaith dialogue around the topic of the Sabbath.
The Weekend Club, run by Interfaith Glasgow, is an interfaith response to the social isolation often experienced by people from refugee backgrounds. It addresses the need for newcomers to get to know Glasgow and Scotland better, build social connections, and practise speaking English in fun and relaxed settings.
As well as participating in crafting activities and quizzes themed around the concept of rest, participants heard from three speakers from three different backgrounds about what the Sabbath means to them.
Rabbi Rose of Edinburgh Hebrew Congregation set the scene by talking about the Jewish view of Shabbat, saying “For many of us, the Sabbath means to simply be with others and with our communities.” He answered questions from the audience about Shabbat meals and services, and how Shabbat is an opportunity for the community to come together.
Our second guest was Noorah Al-Gailani, Curator of Islamic Civilisations at Glasgow Museums, who spoke about the Muslim perspective of rest and the Sabbath. She reflected on her own family from Iraq and how communities come together, with worship taking many different forms: “Worship and study can be one and the same thing, a lot of theological study is often done during these times”, an idea that many Jewish people would also identify with.
Lastly, we heard from Sister Isabel Smyth, Secretary of the Committee for Interreligious Dialogue for the Bishops' Conference of Scotland and formerly the Founding Director of the Scottish Interfaith Council, who talked about her Roman Catholic faith and her feelings about the concept of rest. She discussed the idea that one could take ‘sabbath moments’ throughout the week to allow people to ground themselves. She said “It’s not the day itself that is holy, it is the rest. It makes us feel that we are loved.”
The final part of the event was a general discussion led by the volunteers from Interfaith Glasgow where the three speakers and other guests could share their favourite restful activities, and their opinions as to why resting is important. Rabbi Rose and Noorah both like to read books, and sleep when they had some down time, and Sister Isabel said that she likes to go to a park to read some of her favourite poetry.
For more information about the Weekend Club please contact Interfaith Glasgow.