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Calgary Jewish and Palestinian leaders encouraging peace over holidays

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On the second day of Hanukkah, Temple B’Nai Tikvah marked it by going green, lighting a menorah using its array of solar panels.

 “We feel a special obligation to be responsible stewards of our environment,” said Temple B’nai Tikvah, Rabbi Mark Glickman,

The temple is the first in western Canada to use solar energy to power its building. The significant step towards going green though, was overshadowed by the war between Israel and Hamas.

“The Jewish world is traumatized. People are seeing the suffering, people are scared of anti-Semitism here in Calgary,” said Glickman.

A similar fear is shared by Palestinians in the city impacted by islamophobia while watching the events in the Middle East unfold.

“There’s no celebrations, everybody's mourning, and it’s a consistent mourning. It's been difficult, going into the holidays will be quite challenging,” said Palestinian community leader Reyad Abusalim.

Achieving peace, and understanding between Palestinian and Jewish people in Calgary is a massive challenge. According to Abusalim, one way to get along, is by ensuring religious holidays are not associated with the conflict.

“In Calgary, if you belong to a certain religion, have your holidays peacefully without bringing the politics into it,” said Abusalim.

Rabbi Mark Glickman, is hoping all celebrations will be peaceful. 

“Though we are divided ethnically and sometimes geographically, we share a humanity that transcends our differences," Glickman said.

Monday night there will be a shared service between Jewish and Muslim people at the Calgary Interfaith Council.

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