Traditionally, December 25 is a day off to rest and relax. But members of the Jewish and Muslim communities in St. Louis are giving their time off to others in an interfaith day of service.
For the second year, the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis and the Jewish Community Relations Council are teaming up for a Day of Service. Participants will be spread throughout 21 sites across the city engaging in activities such as cooking brunch, delivering holiday packages, and interacting with the elderly. Planning committee members Orli Pinsberg and Abbas Ali recently gave a presentation on the occasion at Central Reform Congregation’s Shabbat services. Ali hopes that the day of service can be part of an ongoing legacy.
“The first year was a very successful year – it was a good turnout, so we thought something like this can go on and then people for the next generation to come,” he says. “They can realize it’s important to be part of the communities that are around you, not just be yourself and be individualized.”
Linda D’Grosa, who attends Central Reform Congregation, volunteered with her family and members of the Muslim community last year at emergency housing center Gateway 180.
“Really, the barriers are broken. We’re all there for the same purpose, which is just to be there for the children, and we know that the children are coming from a really tough background,” she says. “All we want to do is ensure that they’re having a wonderful time when we’re there."
The day of service is open to members of all faiths and backgrounds. Volunteers can sign up online through Sunday. To learn more, visit stljewishmuslimdayofservice.org.