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On May 6, 2022, long-time Sacramento sister Hayat Ford passed away from ALS.
Hayat was one of Sacramento's founding members in 2016. Over the years, she embraced the Sisterhood, through participating in chapter meetings and activities, regional service projects, like breakfasts to feed people experiencing homelessness, and attending the Sisterhood's annual conference.
During Hayat’s illness, Sacramento sisters offered her and her family remarkable support. They visited, called, prayed with Hayat, and brought her meals. Hayat continued to participate in meetings as long as she could, although after a while, she communicated only through an electronic device. Impromptu Group FaceTime calls allowed many sisters to visit her in the face of COVID restrictions. Her chapter made her a fuzzy memory blanket with photos of time spent together at a Sisterhood conference in Philadelphia and at chapter events in Sacramento. Sisters created a prayer slideshow for Hayat and have assembled a photo slideshow of Hayat's time in the Sisterhood, which you can view here.
In Hayat's last hours, both Jewish and Muslim sisters were at her hospital bedside holding her hands, praying, and simply loving her. Following her passing, her chapter became close with her cousin, who was her caretaker. They remain in contact with her family, as they will always be a part of Sisterhood of Salaam-Shalom.
At the most recent meeting of Hayat's chapter, Rabbi Mona and Sister Durriya recited prayers, and chapter sisters read a unison reading, "As We Remember Her." The group went around in a circle, lighting each other's candles and offering thoughts and remembrances of their departed sister.
Anne Kjemptrup, Sacramento regional coordinator, cites Hayat's funeral prayer at the Greater Sacramento Muslim Cemetery as particularly moving, as it was full of many "firsts" for Sacramento's Muslim community- the first time many had seen so many more women than men at the Janaza prayer, the first time a woman came to the front to speak about the deceased, and the first time Jewish women prayed together with Muslim women at the cemetery.
Hayat joined Sacramento's Sisterhood five years ago, not really knowing many of her fellow sisters, but during her illness and her passing away, all were united with her and in a truly loving sisterhood.
Many thanks to Anne Kjemtrup, Melanie Mages-Canale, and fellow Sacramento sisters for sharing their memories.