Jews, Muslims gather to volunteer on Christmas day

DETROIT (AP) - Many Jews consider Christmas Day an opportunity to serve their community while Christian neighbors celebrate their holiday.

This year, what's also known as Mitzvah Day in southeast Michigan is getting an added boost from Muslims.

About 40 Muslims are expected to join 900 Jews for what they call their largest annual day of volunteering. Jewish and Muslim volunteers will work together at a food bank.

Mitzvah Day is a nearly 20-year tradition in the Detroit area. Mitzvah means "commandment" in Hebrew and is generally translated as a good deed.

Leaders call the new partnership a small but significant step in diffusing tensions and promoting good will between the religions - particularly on a day that is sacred to Christianity, the third Abrahamic faith.

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