Ramadan, the holiest month of the Islamic year, now is underway. This season of fasting and extra prayers presents an ideal opportunity to visit a local mosque and get to know Muslim neighbors. I encourage you to call a mosque in your area and arrange a visit. There will likely be a community member to greet you and to provide a welcoming experience. The New Brunswick Islamic Center has compiled a very helpful guide to proper etiquette for visiting a mosque.
During this month, many mosques will have community iftars (meals that break the fast, after sunset). Breaking bread together, neighbors can talk and get to know one another. The first iftar meal I ever attended was part of an interfaith open house, and it was an extremely powerful experience. I met so many people who were eager and willing to answer my questions about Islam.
There are wonderful books for teaching young children (Muslim and non-Muslim) about Ramadan. You can find an excellent list, with descriptions of titles, at goodreads. Personally, I highly recommend A Party in Ramadan by Asma Mobin-Uddin.
During Ramadan, fasting from before dawn until after sunset helps the observant to remember those who live with hunger, and to feel increased gratitude for the daily blessings of food, water, and shelter. May we all remember those in need, and do our part to show mercy and increase justice.
May this be a joyful season of peacemaking and reaching out to one another in a spirit of love and friendship.