On Sunday 4th of December 2016 the Jewish Christian Muslim Association of Australia (JCMA) women’s committee hosted an event, at the Islamic Council of Victoria, with talks on seasonal celebrations of the three Abrahamic faiths. It was a well-attended event with an audience of over 35 women. An opportunity to make new friends and learn from each other over shared food for the festive season.
The first speaker was Nomi Kaltman who spoke on the Jewish Festival of Lights, Chanukah and its background, history and traditions. These traditions range from lighting the Menorah to eating foods fried or baked in oil to commemorate the miracle of keeping the Second Temple’s Menorah alight for eight days.
Nomi was followed by Irene Donohue Clyne who spoke on the Christmas celebrations and the influence of cultural symbols associated with it. Irene also emphasised on the spirit of Christmas which celebrates the birth of Prophet Jesus pbuh (peace be upon him) and an integral part of Christmas is the gathering of family and friends.
The final speaker was the chair of JCMA Women’s committee Ayesha Bux who spoke about the importance of reflecting on the deeper meaning in the Abrahamic traditions. She called Muharram the month of inspiration rather than celebration. The 10th of Muharram being significant to all Prophets starting from Prophet Adam pbuh as it was the day God showed him compassion, Prophet Noah pbuh’s ark landed, Exodus of Prophet Moses pbuh took place, Prophet Jesus pbuh was born right till the martyrdom of Imam Hussain as the grandson of Prophet Muhammad pbuh who protested against injustice in a non-violent way. This shaped the world by inspiring leaders like Gandhi who said “I learned from Hussain how to be wronged and be a winner, I learnt from Hussain how to attain victory while being oppressed”