Chicago's Jewish and Muslim Communities 'Bridge the Gap' with Interfaith Concert, 9/2
The Lincolnwood Chamber Orchestra, managed by American Music Festivals, will be joined by vocal soloist Imam Senad Agic for the U.S. premiere of Josip Slavenski's "Muslimani" on Sun., Sept. 2 at 7PM at the American Islamic College (640 W. Irving Park, Chicago). Additional highlights include guest speaker Rabbi Neil Brief, Ilya Levinson's poignant "Shtetl Scenes," works by John Williams from the movie "Munich," new arrangements of traditional Sevdah and Bosnian popular music, and a performance by the Chicago Syntagma Musicum Chorus.
General admission tickets are available for $25 at www.americanmusicfestivals.com. Call 773-469-5895 for more information. This concert is presented in partnership by the American Islamic Center of Bosniaks in Chicago, Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, and American Music Festivals.
The Jewish population and Bosnian Muslims share a common historical bond, being displaced at the hands of 15th Century Inquisitors and finding refuge in Bosnia-Herzegovina and neighboring areas under Ottoman rule. They suffered together at the hands of Nazi collaborators in World War II and fifty years later Bosniaks (Bosnian Muslims) suffered the first genocide in Europe since the Holocaust. Audience members will be invited to view the debut of the photo exhibit "Remembering the Genocide in Bosnia," by Samir Hadzalic, Outreach Director for American Music Festivals.
In the National Museum in Sarajevo a Haggadah is proudly displayed. Written in Hebrew, it is one of the most beautiful books of its kind, dating back to around the 15th century when it was brought from Spain. Near the Museum, a Synagogue and Mosque stand next to each other, reminding us of the peaceful coexistence that Jews and Muslims enjoyed for centuries in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This friendship led to the development of Sevdah music, which combines folk elements of the Sephardic, Balkan, and Arabic traditions. It is through the music and text of these melancholy songs that their friendship can best be understood.
Guest speaker Rabbi Neil Brief served for over 40 years at Ezra Habonim, the Niles Township Jewish Congregation. Born in New York City, he is a graduate of New York University and the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and has received Honorary Doctorates from Rabbinical schools in New York, Cincinnati, and Philadelphia. A community activist, he was a Commissioner for the Village of Skokie for 30 years, and during the Nazi and Klu Klux Klan marches he worked passionately to improve community relations. After retiring, Rabbi Brief has traveled extensively, worshiping in Europe, Asia, Africa, and thePacific Islands. He is appreciative of all efforts to further understanding, and the nurturing of relationships which extend through the ages.