Drought Unites Jews, Muslims and Christians


On Shemini Atzeret last month, traditional Jews recited Tefilat Geshem, the prayer for rain, asking heaven to send clouds to the Holy Land.

Last week, some Jews — and other monotheists — prayed for rain again.

In the midst of a dry autumn that threatens to stretch into a dry winter, a group of rabbis, imams and member of the Christian clergy gathered in Walajeh, a small Arab village between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, to communally pray for rain.

The dry spell so far, with dwindling water supplies, worries farmers in Israel and the Palestinian territories, leading to the rare example of interfaith unity.

“According to our tradition, the Jewish and the Islam, rain is due to the deeds of man and if we make any step of peace between us, perhaps that will open the treasures of the skies and rain will fall,” the Washington Post quoted Rabbi Menachem Forman, right, a spiritual leader from Tekoah who has established close ties with the Muslim community, as saying.

Rabbi joined other clerics on a dusty hillside overlooking the outskirts of Jerusalem to bow and chant prayers.

After the ceremony, they sowed the land with wheat.

The group prayer was organized by Eretz Shalom, an organization of pacifist Jewish settlers.

The clergy may need to come together again — this weekend’s forecast for Jerusalem predicts clear skies, with no chance of rain.