To celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, Barbara and Cy Landau ( of Toronto, Canada, invited to dinner Tarek Fatah, a Muslim Palestinian.
     Barbara said:  "It was a healing moment in a very devastating week. Reaching out with love heals the soul!"
     The story was featured in the Toronto Star today, 18 September 2001.

Muslim breaks bread with Jew Rosh Hashanah meal seen as way to build bridges

By Phinjo Gombu

Two Torontonians, a Jew and a Muslim, broke bread last night on one of the holiest days of the Jewish calendar to ward off what they say are dark days ahead, full of fear, hatred and revenge.

Trying to come to grips with last week's terrorist attacks in the United States and its ugly aftermath, where Canadian and American Muslims have been attacked, Barbara Landau invited Tarek Fatah to Rosh Hashanah dinner with her family.  ``I wanted to reach out to someone in the Muslim community,'' said Landau, a member of the Canadian Association of Jews and Arabs, who has been part of peace missions to the Middle East.  ``We have to think about how we can repair our relationships.''

Landau said the invitation to Fatah was made through a mutual acquaintance in the spirit of Rosh Hashanah, a 10-day period of reflection that marks the beginning of the Jewish New Year.  It is a time when Jews reflect on who they are and seek repentance.

The invitation was gladly accepted by Fatah, a local broadcaster who hosts a weekly television show on CTS called The Muslim Chronicles.  He did not know Landau before dinner.

Sitting down to squash soup, salmon, couscous, grilled vegetables and honey cake, Fatah, a strong advocate for the rights of Palestinians in the Middle East, said he was ``overwhelmed'' at the gesture.  ``It's the thought behind it,'' Fatah said.  ``In this crisis, where we see the beginning of so many attacks on racial minorities, here is a family that makes Canada what it is today .  .  .  We're all human beings.''

``It tells me what could happen if we thought of each other as us,'' Fatah said, describing reports of attacks on a Sikh temple in Hamilton.  Sikh men were also killed in Dallas and Phoenix in apparent hate crimes.

In Hamilton, rabbis stepped up security at synagogues and put local police on high alert.  `I think people are generally feeling nervous right now'

``We always have a significant amount of security,'' said Temple Anshe Sholom's Rabbi Irwin Zeplowitz, who extended his sympathies yesterday to the president of Hamilton Mosque, the target of vandals and threatening callers last week, and to the president of Hamilton's Hindu temple, which was set ablaze by arsonists.  ``I think people are generally feeling nervous right now,'' Zeplowitz said.

Barbara Landau's dinner, with her husband Sy, daughter Niki, son Daryl and family friend Paul Lampert, began with a moment of silence for the people who died last week and the ceremonial breaking of the traditional challah (bread.) For Niki Landau, 28, the dinner was a way to bring some reason into a world that is on the verge of getting increasingly dangerous.  ``Considering the hugeness of the event, there is this huge emptiness inside me,'' she said.

``This (the dinner invitation) is the only thing to do, meeting one person who is supposedly from the other side, the stranger, supposedly the enemy.''

The story is on the Web at: