Wednesday, January 31, 2007



Towards a Jewish/Muslim Renewal

Featuring the art and thought of Tunisian Muslim artist Karim Chaibi
and American Jewish artist Tom Block

February 9 – April 9, 2007
Opening reception Friday February 9, 6-8 PM

Jews and Muslims, Biblical cousins, enjoyed nearly a five hundred year golden era during the Middle Ages, when, circling the Mediterranean Sea, these two peoples built one of the most peaceful societies of human history.

Convergences explores the positive aspects of the Jewish/Muslim liaison, and posits that we can reach into the shared history of both peoples for resources to lead towards a positive renewal of this relationship.

Muslim and Jewish traditions branch from one tree. From Kosher and Hallal food proscriptions to the Sufi and Hasidic mystical systems, from sister alphabets to a similar lexicon for the words of greatest importance, Arabs and Jews have practiced startlingly similar religions for the past 1500 years. Indeed, from the beginning of Islam, Muslims and Jews have shared the tempo of the sun in the timing of their prayers, Muslims beginning their Friday prayers at the very moment Jews light their Sabbath candles.

Convergences investigates the intertwined traditions from two specific points of view. Karim Chaibi, who traveled a personal path from Islamic fundamentalist to open-minded writer and artist with Sufi inclinations, looks at the similarities between Jewish and Muslim law. Tom Block, who considers himself a Jewish/Sufi, has undertaken an academic and artistic study of the surprising linkages between Jewish and Islamic mysticism. Taken together, these two artists propose a shared conviction that the arts, and open-minded conversation between Jews and Muslims, can help lead from the misunderstandings currently enveloping the relationship between these historic cousins to a renewal of peace and friendship.

Additionally, a series of events will highlight specific aspects of this shared heritage, with panel talks and cultural activists taking place in the gallery throughout the two-month run of the exhibit. Ultimately, Convergences hopes to become part of a growing conversation of peace and renewal between Jews and Muslims, both in the United States and abroad.

Gateway Georgia Avenue Revitalization Corporation
8001 Kennett St. Suite 3, Silver Spring, Md. 20910
Home of the Gateway Heliport Gallery : Age of Discovery
Gallery Hours: Tue - Fri, 4-7pm : 301.562.1400


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