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Virginia Muslims prefer coziness of synagogue, “shalom” greeting

Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation facilities.

Northern Virginia Hebrew Congregation facilities.

Lest Haaretz readers be concerned by headlines such as “Israel, Palestinian Authority summit still a long way off,” the Israeli daily recently ran an AP article entitled “Virginia synagogue doubles as mosque for Ramadan,” which begins:

On Friday afternoons, the people coming to pray at this building take off their shoes, unfurl rugs to kneel on and pray in Arabic. The ones that come Friday evenings put on yarmulkes, light candles and pray in Hebrew.

The building is a synagogue on a tree-lined street in suburban Virginia, but for the past few weeks – during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan – it has also been doubling daily as a mosque. Synagogue members suggested their building after hearing the Muslim congregation was looking to rent a place for overflow crowds.”