Local Jewish, Muslim women combine forces for good will

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - "This one needs PB&J and this one just needs jelly," said one young woman, stuffing a bag with foodstuffs.

Like peanut butter and jelly, some local ladies have found a way to make perfect a unique combination.

"The power of middle aged women having breakfast that's basically what you're looking at here!" laughed Alia Adhal.

What you'd look at this evening at the Bay County Islamic Society is community service - served by two different communities. It's a joint force of women from the Islamic Society and the women of Jewish Temple B'nai Israel teaming up for an interfaith, charity organization. They call themselves the Interfaith Saddqa/Tzedakah Group, Arabic and Hebrew, respectively, for "charity."

"I think intercultural understanding is the most critical need in the world today," said Lisa Rahn.

The Temple's sisterhood leader said the group developed out of the divisiveness of this election.

"The Jewish woman really wanted to reach out to our Muslim sisters and show our support to them," Rahn said.

After meeting up several months ago and feeling like they'd found long lost friends - they decided to use the power of their similarities for good.

Wednesday night, the ladies worked together to pack 100 bags of food for local children in need during the Thanksgiving break. Ladies at the mosque have been doing the backpack program for local schools regularly and were happy to have the women from Temple B'nai Israel step in.

The women are hoping to grow the group and find friendship and stewardship in every kind of flavor.

"Just goodwill toward everyone and I think that that's really a message we really need these days," Adhal said. "When they see people of different religions coming together and doing this, then really anything is possible."

"I think when women join forces to do things in the world," Rahn said, "fabulous things happen."