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Muslim and Jewish youth groups unite in Edmonton to serve homeless

Teenage girls from two different religious groups united to help the homeless in Edmonton on Nov. 30, 2019.
Teenage girls from two different religious groups united to help the homeless in Edmonton on Nov. 30, 2019. Julien Fournier / Global News

Two youth groups from different religious backgrounds joined forces to help the less fortunate in Edmonton on Saturday.

Young women from the Muslim group Gathering Angels and the Bat Mitzvah group from Temple Beth Ora organized a care package and lunch service for people at Boyle Street Community Services.

“I really want to teach these girls that our job in this world pretty much is to serve others,” said Nesrine Merhi-Tarrabain, the leader of the Gathering Angels.

Merhi-Tarrabain said that she has been encouraging her girls to volunteer for several years but recently got a call from a local Jewish temple to suggest a collaboration.

“I thought that would be a great opportunity. First of all, getting them to go out and volunteer and do something meaningful, and the other thing… would be to get to know other kids from the wider Edmonton community,” said Gila Caine, the rabbi at Temple Beth Ora.

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“Getting to know each other’s culture, understand where our values come together, understand the difference in our values.”

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Rabbi Gila Caine (L) and Nesrine Merhi-Tarrabain (R) joined their young groups together for a day of giving back.
Rabbi Gila Caine (L) and Nesrine Merhi-Tarrabain (R) joined their young groups together for a day of giving back. Julien Fournier / Global News

READ MORE: In Canada, Jews face more hate crimes, while Muslims face more violent ones: StatCan

About two dozen teens participated — around a dozen from each group.

“When it comes down to helping others, we should put our differences aside, and truly just bring out our humanity in us. We should really serve others for that reason,” said Merhi-Tarrabain.

Merhi-Tarrabain said that many of the girls in the group donated some of their own money to buy supplies for care packages.

Nour Tarrabain, 16, said that the experience of volunteering with another religious group has helped give her a new perspective.

“It’s been very eye-opening,” Tarrabain said. “Two completely different groups and religions coming together and doing the perfect thing: giving back to the community and just helping one another.

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“Same person, just different religion — but we’re all doing what we love best: just helping out.”

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Nour Tarrabain, 16, said the experience gives a good perspective of different ways of life.
Nour Tarrabain, 16, said the experience gives a good perspective of different ways of life. Julien Fournier / Global News