SARATOGA, California — On Sunday, February 26, 2017, more than sixty Jews, Christians and Muslims united at Congregation Beth David to serve the homeless and hungry of San Jose. Orientation was led by Rabbi Philip Ohriner, Rev. Arvin Engelson of Saratoga Federated Church, and Hasnat Ashiq of West Valley Muslim Association. Volunteers enjoyed getting acquainted in small buddy groups before working together to prepare 300 kosher and halal meals for our friends who live outside. Before volunteers departed to serve at Cityteam Men’s Recovery Center, Imam Musab Abdalla led his community in afternoon prayers as Jewish and Christian volunteers observed with a handout showing the English translation of the Arabic liturgy. Volunteers then convoyed together to downtown San Jose for meal service. Imam Musab offered a prayer of thanks before recovery center residents dined. Thereafter, Iris Bendahan of Congregation Beth David recited a blessing before our friends who live outside enjoyed dinner. In addition to the hearty lasagna, fruit and green salads, guests were quick to return for more brownies and hot chocolate—a special treat on a cold winter evening. Thereafter, volunteers also dined together before Rev. Engelson offered a closing prayer, and Imam Musab shared some heart-felt thanks to all who made collaboration so delightful.
Many thanks to Iris Bendahan, Neal Locke, and Taj Noori for making all preparations. Thanks also to Rabbi Philip Ohriner, Iris Bendahan, Rev. Arvin Engelson, Hasnat Ashiq and Imam Musab Abdalla for their excellent leadership. Special thanks to Qamar Noori and Bryan McDonald for photographing the event. Most of all, thanks be to God, الحَمْد لله , ברוך השם for the privilege and honor of serving together.
Photos courtesy of Qamar Noori and Bryan McDonald.