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PALM BEACH GARDENS —
Rizwana Khalid chalks her chance encounter with Christian and Jewish women up to fate.
The seeds were beginning to sprout to fulfill Khalid’s yearslong dream of starting a Daughters of Abraham group. The nationwide interfaith groups bring together women from Islam, Judaism and Christianity, all of which identify the prophet Abraham as their forefather.
The Jewish friends that Khalid made while working at a bank years ago had since moved on, so the Palm Beach Gardens woman was in search of new ones to round out the group. They ended up coming to her instead.
Khalid and a group from the Muslim Community of Palm Beach County were volunteering next to women from Temple Judea at Feed Palm Beach County Day at this time last year. They worked side-by-side but at separate tables to help pack 120,000 meals for the hungry at Gaines Park in West Palm Beach.
Susan Wolf-Schwartz, of Temple Judea, walked up to the Muslim women in the parking lot and greeted them.
I was raised with a story from my family as a child of Holocaust survivors, that there were people who crossed the street when my mother was on the sidewalk in Germany in the 1930s. I can’t let that happen to another group of people,” she said. “I just walked up to them.” Women from the faith communities plan to serve again at this year’s Feed Palm Beach County Day on Saturday. Volunteers work in two shifts, 8:30 to 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. to measure and package meals of rice and beans.
All of the food will be donated to the Palm Beach County Food Bank and distributed to local pantries to give to the hungry in Palm Beach County.
After the women met last year, the Jewish women visited a mosque for the first time, and Khalid and her husband went to Shabbat services at Temple Judea.
As the women continued meeting together, they realized how much they had in common. “It’s the same philosophy — love thy neighbor,” Khalid said. “If you get to know the faith, you realize there’s not that much that divides us. There’s more that unites us.”