On a day with terrible news, a small sign of hope. is.gd/vVTUik
— Paul Goodman (@PaulGoodmanCH) May 22, 2013
Yes. Here’s the story, from Ha’aretz. Excerpt:
Donations trickled in, but not as fast as the water from the leaky roof. Things looked very dire for the Bradford Synagogue until some concerned neighbors intervened.
Zulfi Karim, the 47-year-old secretary of the Bradford Council of Mosques, was at Friday prayers when he heard of the synagogue’s plight. The news came to him thanks to a local Pakistani restaurant called Sweet Centre, which sits close to both the synagogue and the mosque.
The restaurant was so popular with some of the synagogue’s congregants for a Saturday lunch that they had joined forces with the restaurant’s owner to lobby against the conversion of a nearby building into a rival eatery. So when Sweet Centre’s owner got wind of the synagogue’s financial woes, he referred Leavor to a local South Asian merchant’s association, which gifted GBP 500 toward repairs. And it was through this connection that Leavor met Mahmood Mohammed, a development officer for Bradford council, who in turn got in touch with Karim.
“I was shocked to hear the news,” says Karim, who was born and raised a few hundred yards from the Bradford Reform Synagogue,” and I immediately reached out to others in the Muslim community.”
Within a few days, the community had raised GBP 2,000 for emergency repairs – 1,000 from a variety of individuals, and 1,000 matched by a donor who at first asked to remain anonymous.
Eventually Leavor discovered the donor was Khalid Pervaiz, the new owner of a textile factory near the synagogue. That same factory had previously belonged to the Strauss family, who were descendents of Bradford’s first Reform Rabbi.
“We have so much in common,” says Karim of the two Bradford communities. ”We both have a tradition of helping each other out in business, and strong entrepreneurial, family and community values.” He also acknowledges that in addition to their common Abrahamic ancestry, there are parallels between the anti-Semitism and Islamophopbia both communities have endured.
Bu in the end, it was Karim’s personal relationship with Leavor that helped connect the two communities.