2016 UK Meetings with Syrian Refugees: Blogs from Dr. Anna Less

Blog Dinner in Alaa’s Home

Last night we were invited to Alaa’s home for an Iftar dinner.

Alaa and his family are Syrian refugees from Aleppo that we met at Rabbi Wittenberg’s party.

Before we leave for Alaa’s home we go to the Syrian market around the corner and Ghassan helps me pick out the special sweets that are made for Ramadan and we prepare a gift to bring. We call an Uber and take off for the Finchley district of London. Along the way we see traditionally dressed Jewish families walking to shul for Shavuot services.

Shavuot is a major Jewish holiday celebrated fifty days after the second day of Passover for two reasons. 1. It marks the all-important wheat harvest in the Land of Israel and 2. It commemorates the anniversary of the day God gave the Torah to the entire nation of Israel assembled at Mount Sinai.

In other words Shavout for the Jews correlates to Ramadan for the Muslims.

It is interesting to me that the British government has chosen this neighbourhood as a place to settle Syrian refugees. I make a mental note to ask Alaa about this later in the evening.

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