A Letter to the Muslim Community of Illinois on the Sanctity of the Haram al-Sharif – Mondoweiss

To our neighbors and friends, the Muslim community of Illinois, greetings and Eid Mubarak!

Our thoughts are with you, our neighbors and friends, Muslims and Palestinians in the State of Illinois, as you watch the images of violence from the heart of Jerusalem. We, the rabbis of T’ruah-Illinois, denounce the recent repeated armed incursions by the Israeli army and police into the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

We pray with you for the peace of Jerusalem.

We know you are deeply connected to Jerusalem, so far away, yet so close to your heart. As Jews, we know these feelings well. For Jews, the Temple Mount/Haram el-Sharif is our holiest site. It was the location of the Bet Hamikdash/Temple dating back to biblical times.

However, we affirm the millennial Jewish view that abdicates any Jewish claim to the Temple Mount here and now. The vast majority of Jews have no desire to pray on the Temple Mount and certainly not to perform biblical animal sacrifices there. Even the most traditional Jews, who continue to pray for a restoration of the ancient Jewish temple on this site, carry such visions back to messianic times, beyond the horizon of our own reality.

We, the undersigned Rabbis of T’ruah-Illinois, affirm the status quo in Jerusalem: the Western Wall is the traditional place of prayer for the Jews, the Temple Mount/Haram el-Sharif, on the other side of the Western Wall , is the prayer space for Muslims.

The State of Israel is responsible for maintaining the status quo in Jerusalem and ensuring the sanctity of the Haram el-Sharif and the dignity of its Muslim worshippers. Violently interrupting Ramadan prayers, beating unarmed worshipers and intimidating Muslims in Jerusalem is absolutely not the way to peace. We call on the State of Israel to immediately commit to refrain from any further violation of the authority of the Waqf over the Haram el-Sharif. Israel must guarantee freedom of worship in the holy city of Jerusalem, not only for Jews but also for Muslims and Christians.

On this day of Eid al-Fitr, we bless you, our fellow Muslims in Illinois, with Eid Mubaraka sweet celebration, as we pray with you for the peace of Jerusalem.


Rabbi Ilana Axel, Hoffman Estates, IL

Rabbi Lisa Sari Bellows, Chicago, IL

Rabbi Aryeh Bernstein, Chicago, IL

Rabbi Michael Davis, Hebrew Seminary, Skokie, IL

Rabbi David Eber, Jewish Reconstruction Congregation, Evanston, IL

Rabbi Laurence Edwards, Chicago, IL

Rabbi Bruce Elder, Hakafa Congregation, Glencoe, IL

Rabbi Maralee Gordon, Woodstock, IL

Rabbi Suzanne Griffel, Chicago, IL

Rabbi Margaret Frisch Klein, Elgin, IL

Rabbi Andrea London, Beth Emet The Free Synagogue, Evanston, IL

Rabbi Rachel S. Mikva, Chicago Theological Seminary, Chicago, IL

Rabbi Nina J. Mizrahi, Ames Jewish Congregation, Ames, IA

Rabbi Rachel Weiss, Jewish Reconstruction Congregation, Evanston, Illinois

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