Ramadan preparations are in full swing at Dar Al Hijrah, Falls Church, VA. Every evening about 2000 worshipers will visit the center in the blessed month.
Several new initiatives are planned for this trend setting Islamic Center. This year Dar Al Hijrah will be attempting to be more environmentally friendly and avoid using consumable products. The prayers will be led by the director of the Quran Institute, instead of bringing the reciter from overseas to reduce the carbon footprint.
Dar Al Hijrah prepares approximately 1000 meals a night for Iftar. An Islamic Center the size of Dar Al Hijrah cannot rely on just volunteers to efficiently run its massive Ramadan program; it hires temporary workers during Ramadan and has been doing so for the past 15 years.
According to The Executive Director Samir Abo-Issa, to be able to serve the community better on several levels, they have found the best way is to get people who have the time and are able to work.
Nine kitchen positions are open to help prep vegetables, prepare salad, prep meats and fish, and clean kitchen. A Suhur cook position is also available to cook eggs, feta cheese, foul, salad, and pita or other suhur diet for the 200 people who eat the pre-dawn meal at the center. The center is also looking for two dishwashers with experience in using a commercial dish washing machine.
An Iftar Team will help serve food, set up and clean up. Several people are needed. To ensure a pleasant and sanitary worship experience, two extra positions are open to clean bathrooms, hallways, and lobby.
Learning from problems and experiences from previous years Dar Al Hijrah administration has some solid plans in the works.
"We have had challenges with families leaving their children and going to other centers or other activities during the evening prayer time," says Imam Johari, the outreach director. "This year we will institute new programs and policies to encourage parents to stay with their children or take the children with them at the activity that they are attending."
Dar Al Hijrah is enhancing the youth program by providing on-site and off-site activities. To facilitate this a Taraweeh school and new youth program is planned for Ramadan. Dar Al Hijrah is hiring Youth Activities Assistant (three boys and 2 girls) to assist the Youth director in supervising youth, ages 8 and up, in the game room, Cleaning the game room every night and taking the trash out before closing will be part of the responsibilities. The youth will also be selling candy and drinks to kids in the game room.
The Taraweeh School will need two teachers to teach youth between the ages of 4 to 8, and to facilitate fun activities for the children. Four babysitters will be hired to receive children from the parents and provide a safe environment for the children.
"Ramadan has become an American holiday, and as such it affects not only Muslims but their neighbors as well," says Imam Johari. Parking, traffic, and noise are all valid concerns of the neighboring community, and prior notice keeps communications line open. Dar Al Hijrah will have heightened security to assist with traffic flow and safety.
Six men and two women will be hired for the Security team whose responsibility will be to control parking – ensure no illegal parking, traffic flow control, prevent selling from cars or in the parking lot.
This team will also ensure children are in their assigned programs and not playing or loitering in the parking lot; observe and report suspicious items or activities and guide community members with courtesy and respect.
All positions are for 7 days a week every day of the month. Positions pay 10-12 dollars per hour. Experience preferred, references required. For more information, visit the Dar Al Hijrah website.