Rabbi Dr Moshe Freedman and Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, chaplains from the Canary Wharf Multifaith Chaplaincy recently partnered with Morgan Stanley to discuss the faith needs and wellbeing of Jewish and Muslim professionals in the workplace.
At the Muslim Faith Forum event, Ibrahim discussed the needs of Muslim employees such as performing ablutions and daily prayers, the challenges of fasting in Ramadan whilst trying to be as productive as usual, traditional Muslim dress and cross gender interaction. Three Muslim employees shared their own experiences in the workplace where discussions focussed largely around fasting during Ramadan and the challenges of booking days to observe Ramadan and especially Hajj, the once in a lifetime pilgrimage to Makkah, which would need time off for at least 2-3 weeks.
Similarly, at the Jewish Faith Forum, Moshe discussed issues raised by the Jewish employees about observing Shabbat and keeping kosher. Shabbat begins at sundown on Friday and ends after nightfall on Saturday evening. There was also discussion around Jewish festivals where employees must often use their annual leave in order to celebrate them. Another employee spoke about the obligation to prayer three times a day, which meant using his lunch break to do so, similar to all the faith groups.
The feedback we received from the two events was very positive. Participants told us that they were grateful for both bringing people together and for learning more about their co-workers’ religious needs. After the talks, participants felt more prepared to support colleagues and show sensitivity towards their religious needs.