Sixth annual Jewish-Muslim Christmas Day of Service planned

Rayyan Hyder (right) delivers a blanket to Lilly Scharff  during the Jewish and Muslim Day of Community Service in 2015. This year, volunteers will fan out to 25 sites for service projects. Photo:  Eric Berger

On Christmas Day, the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis and the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis (JCRC) through its Milford and Lee Bohm Social Justice Center will host the sixth annual St. Louis area-wide “Jewish and Muslim Day of  Community Service.”

The two faith communities are working together to organize and volunteer in a large scale coordinated effort, bringing together individuals of all faith backgrounds as well as those of no faith. Volunteers will head to one of 25 different sites for service projects. 

Organizers note the day of service is especially poignant this year, after a presidential campaign season marked by rhetoric hateful to Muslims and other immigrant communities.

“This has been a difficult year for the Muslim community, with hate crimes locally and nationally on the rise,” said Sophie Malik, event co-chair for the Islamic Foundation. “This project brings together people of the Jewish and Muslim faiths, as well as volunteers of all religious backgrounds, to showcase our shared commitment to helping others in a holy way.”

“As Jews, we feel a special call this year to embrace our friends in the Muslim community through this event, “said Jerry Hochsztein, co-chair for JCRC.  “Our goal is to make this year’s program the biggest and best yet to send a message of love, inclusion and interfaith understanding to the larger St. Louis community.”    

ADVERTISEMENT


This year’s event welcomes the International Institute as a new service site. Volunteers will be joining a welcome party for children of all ages who are recent immigrants to St. Louis, mainly from war-torn Syria.  

The day of service will begin at 9 a.m. with a community breakfast at the Daar Ul Islam Mosque, 517 Weidman Road. The breakfast will include a blessing for social action and a celebration of coming together.  Participants will leave from the breakfast to their community service sites.

For a list of service sites and activities, sponsoring individuals and organizations, and to sign up for the event, visit jewishmuslimdayofservicestl.org or contact JCRC Director of Domestic Issues/Social Justice Gail Wechsler at 314-442-3894 or [email protected] 

For information on how to donate money or supplies to help support the event, visit jewishmuslimdayofservicestl.org. Those wishing to participate on Christmas Day are asked to sign up no later than Dec. 15.  

Sign up for Your Morning Light