Local Jews, Muslims come together to make Easter meal

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) – Dozens of people gathered at the Community Table in Eau Claire Easter Sunday for a very special meal.

Volunteers from two very different backgrounds put their differences aside to serve up the dinner.

“Easter is not our holiday, it's not a Muslim holiday; why don't we call our friends at the mosque and get together,” said Suzon Gordon, a member of the local Jewish community.

Local Jews and Muslims have worked side-by-side at the Community Table for the last three years, making a free Easter meal for those who need it.

“It's always fun, the kids enjoy doing it with us every year. And it feels good to help out others,” Maryam Suhail, a member of the local Muslim community.

The volunteer cooks come from Temple Sholom in Eau Claire and the Islamic Center in Altoona.

“Some of us study together, the history of the two faiths because they go back to the same forbearer. We all know we have some common interests because we're both minorities,” Gordon said.

While there may be conflict in the Middle East, local Jews and Muslims say that's a world away from the Chippewa Valley.

Tom Gugel helped out cooking the food.

He is from Israel and is studying at UW-Eau Claire.

“I decided this was a great opportunity for me to be involved and get to know more cultures and more traditions that you have here,” Gugel said.

The international student said it's a big misconception that all people from the Jewish and Islamic faiths don’t get along.

“I try to educate the others sides of it and the nice things about Israel that some people don’t know,” Gugel said.

“My husband's colleagues, he has some Jewish friends. We get along pretty well and you can see that here today,” Suhail said.

Chicken, mashed potatoes and salad; uniting three faiths that are all under the same God.

“Just helping each other, regardless of what identity they're coming from and this is the place to do it,” Gugel said.

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