Monday, August 20, 2007


The yearly Sulha was underway last week and here are some photos from it. It's an amazing feeling to be there. I would sit in my chair for hours telling hubby who accompanied me, that THIS is how I want to live. This is how I want to see my country. Full of people of different faiths getting along so beautifully. It was like a messianic vision. I attended one workshop when I just wasn't taking in the atmoshere. It was the relationship between Sufis and Kabbalah, although it tended to be more on the relationship between Sufis and Rabbis through the centuries.

Simply fascinating to hear that Maimonides studied with Sufis and his son was considered a Sufi Jew. Other stories - the Chief Rabbi of Ramat Gan in Tel Aviv related that his grandfather was the chief rabbi of Libya, when Libya had Jews living there. So well-versed in the Koran was he, that he was called the Sheikh Rabbi.

Another story related was that in Chechnya, someone called Alex Fagin researched the Chabad Lubavitch Chassidim. He found the source of one of their very popular songs called the "Rebbe's Nigun" or "Shmil's Nugun". Who is Shmil? Most people think of Shmil as a Russian peasant. But that isn't so. Apparently, the Alter Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of Lubavitch in the late 18th century, was jailed as his Chassidic teachings were considered going against the Czar. In jail, he met up with a Sufi Sheikh who ended up being executed, while the Alter Rebbe's life was spared. The sufi sang his melody to the Rabbi, saying his one wish was to preserve this melody. The Rebbe came out of jail and with it the melody, known to so many Lubavitch Chassidim today. I would love to have this story confirmed by another I couldn't find this when I "googled".

Safed in Israel was once a center of both Sufism and Kabbalah.

And it just seemed that for a while, it was okay for Jews to study Islam (and vice-versa) and many rabbis living in Arab countries did study the Koran. Now there seems to be a revival where some rabbis are looking for that special spiritual relationship with their Moslem brothers - the children of Abraham....


Ittay said...

thanks for sharing your sulha stories. i posted some photos of the event here:

Nina said...

Thanks for your thoughts and images. We have a special place in our hearts for all who follow the sulha path. Many blessings.