The Forward reports that a British Muslim man has sponsored a synagogue Kiddush luncheon to honor his late Jewish doctor who treated him. According to My Jewish Learning, the word “Kiddush” means holiness, and is the prayer over wine (or grape juice) that sanctifies. It is also used to refer to a communal gathering, like a luncheon, held immediately following Shabbat morning services at a synagogue.
The Muslim man, who asked to remain anonymous, paid for the luncheon at the Kingston, Surbiton & District Synagogue in south London to honor his gastroenterologist, Dr. Tim Heymann, who sadly passed away recently from a brain tumor. Since then, the Muslim man has become a regular at Shabbat and says he is studying Hebrew so he can better understand the faith better. “My father taught me to respect anyone who did good things for me,” he explained. “And I believe in toleration and coexistence among all peoples and religions.”
He said that he found the community “warm and friendly” and enjoyed the sound of the Hebrew prayers. According to synagogue chair Sheila Mann, this is the first time a non-Jew has sponsored a Kiddush. “He comes to shul every Shabbat and often says how much he loves attending our services,” says Ms. Mann. “He joined us for the whole of the Yom Kippur service and fasted all day. We are delighted to treat him as part of the communal family.”