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Rabbi Pursues Shared Stories Between Islam, Judaism, Christianity

More and more, Jews and Muslims are finding commonalities and seeing each other as allies, says Rabbi Burton Visotzky, Director of the Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary. Many of the commonalities between Judaism, Islam, and another Abrahamic faith, Christianity come through shared Scriptures, said Visotzky, and indicate how to see each other. “There’s a wonderful verse in the Book of Exodus where Jacob comes home after 20 years in exile and he’s terrified that his brother, Esau, will be angry and murder him. But Esau greets him with a kiss – and warmly -because Esau has been able to forgive. And Jacob comments, ‘Looking at your face is like seeing the face of God.’  “If we could all get there, in that moment, when we look at another person, even someone we perceive to be our enemy and see the godly in them…That’s the challenge we all face.” With another example, Visotzky looks at the biblical story of Abraham – or Ibrahim in the Quran – and his son, as a shared story of offering and martyrdom.