Another mother poem (for Big Tent Poetry) - Hand-Me-Downs
A gesture of repair

Passing the virtual hat for prayer rug cleaning

My twitter stream lately has featured a lot of tweets about Park 51 (while we're on the subject, allow me to recommend Park 51 Should Not Be Complicated for Jews by my friend Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer) and about the recent rise in hate crimes against Muslims in America. Like the incident a few days ago where a drunk man barged into the Al-Iman masjid in Queens, yelled anti-Muslim slurs, and urinated on the prayer rugs.

When I tweeted about this, appalled, @stumark replied, "Let's get organized and buy them new prayer rugs."I don't know whether they need new rugs; I'm sure they've already had their existing rugs cleaned. But I'd like to be able to reimburse them for that expense as a gesture of interfaith goodwill. So I'm here to pass the virtual hat.

If you'd like to donate, send money via PayPal to me -- my email address is rbarenblat (at) gmail (dot) com -- and put "prayer rugs" in the subject line. Next week I'll send a check to the mosque. Your donation won't be tax-deductible (because I'm an individual, not a nonprofit) but let me know whether you want your name to be included on the list of donors or whether you'd prefer to give anonymously and I will honor your wishes either way.

Giving tzedakah on Fridays is a great way to open our hearts in preparation for Shabbat. On the Jewish calendar we're in the middle of the month of Elul, a time for taking an accounting of our souls and repairing our broken relationships in the world. I'd love it if we could make a gift to the Al-Iman mosque to show that the guy who desecrated their sanctuary doesn't represent the rest of us.

(For a personal story about a visit to that mosque last year during Ramadan, check out Day 7: Al-Iman Mosque.)

Edited to add: As of 5pm this afternoon in my time zone, $432 has been donated by 27 people. I'll wait until next week to send the donation, and am doing my best to update on twitter about our progress. Thanks so much, y'all.

Edited again to add: As of 8:30pm in my time zone on Saturday, $824 has been donated by 52 people. I'll continue updating twitter on our progress, and plan to send the donation to the mosque early next week.

Edited a final time to add: As of 6pm on Sunday in my time zone, $1,121 has been donated by 62 people. I think this is a good time to stop. Thank you all so much for your generosity; I will post soon with a fuller update, and plan to send the check to the Iman mosque early this week.