Standing together
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Standing together

For brotherhood and the misuse of hummus

"Spread Hummus Not Hate" organizer Symi Rom-Rymer signs a pledge of peace with a Muslim student from the University of Maryland.
"Spread Hummus Not Hate" organizer Symi Rom-Rymer signs a pledge of peace with a Muslim student from the University of Maryland.

Much as we admire the “Spread Hummus Not Hate” campaign organized by Jews and Muslims working through the New York-based Foundation for Ethnic Understanding and the Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum, we find the deepest kernels of our Zionist upbringing in open rebellion.

Weren’t we taught that hummus is a dip, not a spread?

That quibble aside, the activists in the campaign will share hummus and pita with people they meet during the day and invite members of the public to sign a “Stand Up for the Other Pledge” created by Dr. Ali Chaudry, president of the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, New Jersey.

The pledge states: “While interacting with members of my own faith or ethnic community, or with others, if I hear hateful comments from anyone about members of any other community, I pledge to stand up for the other and challenge bigotry in any form.”.

That’s a pledge we can get behind.

Of course, that concern for others makes us cautious about a good will gesture out of Belgium, which next year will issue a stamp featuring Rabbi Albert Guigui alongisde Imam Khalid Benhaddou and Bishop Johan Bonny. The stamp, which will bear the slogan, “Everybody equal, everybody different,” is aimed at promoting unity and tolerance.

But once these diverse religious leaders are being used as postage, doesn’t that mean that everybody will be cancelled?

Still, Rabbi Guigui is optimistic.

“A stamp, which is something used in such a widespread manner, can get the message out to all people,” he said. “What is needed is to bring the interfaith cooperation and dialogue down from the level of the religious leaders to that of the everyday people.”

A worthy goal — even if it takes spreading hummus to make it happen.

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