Rabbi joins board of Muslim charity

A MANCHESTER rabbi has been appointed to the board of a Muslim charity.

Benjy Rickman, who is head of religious education at King David High School, was invited to join Faith Matters - thanks to his many years of interfaith work.

The organisation was launched a decade ago as a vehicle to enable faith communities to reduce conflict using resolution tools.

"I went to Austria last year with Faith Matters to speak on freedom of religion and human rights at a side event of the United Nations," Rabbi Rickman said.

"It was all about what can be done when faith communities join together, something which I believe in strongly.

"They reached the stage where they were looking to create an advisory panel and I was recommended to them because of the work I have done."

That work is numerous.

For the 38-year-old has been instrumental in introducing interfaith activities at KD High.

The father-of-six, married to Emily, has previously invited pupils from local Muslim and Christian schools.

"One of the most meaningful afternoons in my career was when girls from a Muslim school delivered lessons in their hijabs to pupils at a Jewish school," Rabbi Rickman recalled.

"It not only helps our pupils understand other communities, but it helps them with their own Judaism.

"They take a greater pride in their Judaism when they discuss their religion and practices with pupils of other faiths.

"Our pupils have become ambassadors and they also get excited at hearing about other children's different backgrounds."

Rabbi Rickman, of Prestwich, has built up a reputation as someone who is passionate about breaking down barriers and setting up dialogue between people of different faiths.

"It shows what is possible when you have an imagination and what can be possible in the world," he said.

"We have so much in common and that is what I try to demonstrate to my students."

Next week, Rabbi Rickman will visit a Muslim boys' school in Oldham to talk to the pupils about Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur.

And from September next year, Islam will be taught as part of religious education GCSE at King David High School.

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