Blog posts

A visit to the Synagogue of Florence

It seems to me that it’s true, I touched it with my hand!

The Prayer Hall decorated with Moorish Arabesques

Religious and cultural diversity, when accompanied by the intelligence of Love, which gives us a mature spiritual dimension, along with listening and respect, can become a richness and an essential contribution for human brotherhood and most of all for interreligious dialogue, a dialogue with the so called ” culture of convergence and inclusion ” which is much sought after by Pope Bergoglio.

As a dedicated Christian Catholic, with all my love and my Soul Church, I have always nurtured respect, admiration and gratitude towards our “older brothers” the Jews. Their wisdom and philosophical inspiration is remarkable, unfortunately crowned with so much persecution and suffering as history and memory show and tell u. I am equally interested in understanding and getting to know the Islamic world better, as this is also part of the great monotheistic religions, that is, in the chronological order of their formation: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The genetic link and their common formative roots are evident, highlighting the extended human family of Abraham.

Monica, Haifa and Sandra

As part of my humble academic research of the “principle of responsibility” and the openness towards “social friendship” based on mutual respect, I permitted myself to see and call “brothers” people who profess a “different” faith from mine. I learned that we are of the same family, the one desired by Abraham, therefore a project of Love and Brotherhood. We are children of the same Father, we are brothers! Each brother is a gift, but also a responsibility. We respond to life through the experiences that we live with the our brothers, who may be of blood, as they are also the ones that life presents to us every day. Therefore, the value of recognition and fraternal relationships would help us to begin to respond to the cry of the suffering humanity asking for help. It maybe that the authority we seek to solve social problems is found, by divine grace, within each of us. Therefore, our mission in this world becomes that of taking on this responsibility.

Together with my friend Haifa Alsakkaf, from whom I learned so much about Arab culture and the Islamic religion, we went to visit the Synagogue and the Jewish museum in Florence. It was a beautiful life experience. We were welcomed by Dr. Monica Hagen who showed us the Synagogue and the Jewish museum, telling us about their “treasure” where we spent two hours of so much knowledge and dialogue. It seemed a prophetic synergy that three women, of different nationalities, cultures and religions could have so much to speak, learn and give to each other. Perhaps what Abraham wanted was that we could just be together as friends, entrusting ourselves to the “grace” of the Eternal Father who never abandons us!

We will try once again!

Sandra Maria de Sousa Rodrigues