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A rabbi and imam in conversation on how they're counseling their communities

An imam and rabbi spoke of what they're telling their congregations, and what they would like to say to each other.
Hanan Isachar/Getty Images
An imam and rabbi spoke of what they're telling their congregations, and what they would like to say to each other.

The conflict in Israel and Gaza has brought grief and pain to many Jews and Muslims in the U.S.. All Things Considered invited a rabbi and an imam to share how they are counseling their congregations here in the States.

Who are they?

  • Imam Mohamed Herbert is a resident scholar of the Islamic Center of Johnson County, Kansas.
  • Sharon Brous is senior rabbi and founder of IKAR, a Jewish congregation in Los Angeles, California.


First, what is the latest?

  • Israeli troops are preparing for what appears to be an imminent ground invasion into Gaza.
  • This comes just over a week after the militant group Hamas launched its deadly attack on Israel, killing 1,400 Israelis and taking more than 100 people hostage.
  • Since then, Israel has launched a bombing campaign which has killed more than 2,600 Gazans, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.


To understand more on this conflict, listen to the Consider This episode on the emotional impact it has had on Jewish and Palestinian Americans.


A demonstrator wears a yarmulke embroidered with the flags of Israel and the United States during a rally in support of Israel outside the Colorado State Capitol Building in Denver on Sunday.
Jason Connolly / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
A demonstrator wears a yarmulke embroidered with the flags of Israel and the United States during a rally in support of Israel outside the Colorado State Capitol Building in Denver on Sunday.

What are Imam Herbert and Rabbi Brous saying?

The rabbi and imam spoke with All Things Considered host Ari Shapiro on Friday. They talked about the messages they're sharing with their congregations, and spoke to one another directly with messages of peace.

On how they're guiding their congregations:

On what they want to say to each other:

A person rides a bike with a Palestinian flag during a march in support of Palestinians on Saturday in Dearborn, Michigan.
Matthew Hatcher / Getty Images
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Getty Images
A person rides a bike with a Palestinian flag during a march in support of Palestinians on Saturday in Dearborn, Michigan.

What now?

  • U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza will reopen to humanitarian aid for Palestinians currently under siege by Israeli forces.
  • Meantime, a second U.S. aircraft carrier strike group is now headed to the region. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told All Things Considered on Sunday: "This is a signal for anybody, including Iran, any other entity, whether it's a nation state or a terrorist group that has hostility to Israel and thinks that now would be the moment to try to jump in and widen and expand this conflict that they shouldn't do it."


Learn more:

Michael Levitt and Scott Detrow contributed to this report. contributed to this story

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ari Shapiro has been one of the hosts of All Things Considered, NPR's award-winning afternoon newsmagazine, since 2015. During his first two years on the program, listenership to All Things Considered grew at an unprecedented rate, with more people tuning in during a typical quarter-hour than any other program on the radio.