Rabbi Levy
The orthodox Jewish rabbi is taking part in an Islamic fast.

A London Rabbi is hoping to increase understanding between Jews and Muslims by fasting for Ramadan.

Rabbi Natan Levy has stunned members of the Jewish community by observing the Islamic month of fasting. Like millions of Muslims across the globe, for 30 days, he will not eat or drink from sunrise and sundown and refrain from sexual intercourse, smoking and profanity.

The 40-year-old religious leader said he was encouraged to take part after witnessing first-hand the lack of engagement between the two faiths.

He is also keen counter the negative rhetoric created by ISIS and Islamic terrorists after a young Jew panicked on seeing a devout Muslim at a service, leading to security being called.

"I hope this gets us thinking and talking as a community about two things; the hungry poor in our midst, both Jewish and non-Jewish. Ramadan is a time for charity and hungry people care about hungry people," he told the Jewish News.

But Levy, who is one of the leaders of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, an organisation which aims to connect local communities admits the unprecedented act is not without its challenges.

"A Muslim colleague tells me it gets easier after the second week, which feels like a really, really long time away," he said.

"Yet I am doing this out of choice, imagine the nearly one million people in the UK who have nothing to eat except handouts from a soup kitchen or food bank?

"I am still eating on Shabbat [the Jewish day of rest from Friday night until Saturday night] so there's a break for chicken soup.

"And also, we have a fast ourselves this month, the 17th of Tammuz, so what's a few more days?"

Although his actions have sparked "fascinating and heated and challenging" conversation, he is still urging others to imitate him.

"Beyond the inevitable question of why would a Jew fast for Ramadan, my children's main question was 'Will the Imams fast for Yom Kippur [the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people] now?" he said.