For more on this event please visit the Muslim Jewish Conference National blog at the following link:
Three prominent German rabbis met with leaders of the German Muslim community at a twinning event held at the synagogue in the western German city of Osnabruck. Among those participating in the event were Rabbi Avichai Apel of Dortmund, chairman of the German Orthodox Rabbis Association; Rabbi Yaron Englemayer of Cologne and Rabbi Moshe Baumel of Osnabruck. Representatives of the Muslim community included Moussa Al-Hassan Diaw, M.A., who heads the German-government supported program for the training of imams at the University of Osnabruck; El-Hadi Khelladi, head of the Muslim-Jewish Conference-Germany and Ayse Cindilkaya, a leader of RAMSA, the German Muslim Students Association.
The main organizers of the event, Al-Hassan Diaw and Rabbi Apel, agreed that the Twinning event was an important step forward in expanding Muslim-Jewish communication and cooperation in Germany. Explaining that the participants discussed a wide variety of topics, including similarities in the Torah and Quran and how the two communities can work fruitfully together in Germany on issues of common interest, Al-Hassan Diaw remarked, “This meeting was of critical importance in creating a sustainable dialogue, as we work to build a bridge between our two communities; something that does not exist now but is urgently needed.”
According to Rabbi Apel, “Our goal is to make interactions between Jews and Muslims the norm here in Germany. We see that there are many things which unite us, like the battle over our right to circumcision. We recognized that our values and outlook are more in common than the world realizes, so we need to push those commonalities rather than focus on the differences.”
By Mike O’Sullivan
January 17, 2013
LOS ANGELES — Young Muslims and Jews are making friendships through an organization that builds one-on-one relationships within the two communities. The group is called NewGround, and it is building bridges, partly through the sharing of personal stories.
A young Muslim neurosurgeon explains he was orphaned as a child and was raised by a Jewish family, who insisted he be reared in the Islamic faith. A Jewish woman spoke of her childhood memories of her grandparents, Holocaust survivors from Eastern Europe.
They are on stage for a storytelling event sponsored by the group NewGround. Off stage, an art installation helps people of both faiths view each other in a new way as they gaze at one another through holes cut in darkened boxes, seeing just a human face on the other side. A wall map of Los Angeles invites conversation, as people point out and describe their neighborhoods.
A Muslim whose family comes from Bangladesh, Tanzila Ahmed, says the storytelling event celebrates the diversity of the city.
“It is such a kaleidoscope of stories and colors and different perspectives that when you are able to get narratives from the different communities, you can actually move the community together for a cause a lot easier,” he said.
Ahmed told a story about her own bi-cultural family, and says she has her own cause to promote. She works with the Asian Pacific American Legal Center to mobilize immigrant voters.
Turmoil in the Middle East reaches into Los Angeles and can build a wall between the Jewish and Muslim communities, says Edina Lekovic. She works for a Muslim advocacy group and co-founded NewGround, which she says brings the two communities together.
“They know how to engage one another. They have authentic relationships, and at the same time, they are not trapped by what is going on overseas, but instead they are invested more so in what is happening here in Los Angeles,” she said.
A presentation on the history of Islam sparked discussion in the latest group of NewGround fellows, who join the program on some evenings and weekends through the year.
NewGround’s executive director, Rabbi Sarah Bassin, says many organizations bring Jews and Christians together, but few are building bridges between Jews and Muslims.
“That conversation largely has not begun. We do not have the vocabulary to sit down at the same table in the same way that the Jewish-Christian communities have worked out over the last 50 or 60 years, especially in a post-Holocaust era,” he said.
New Jewish participant Abbie Barash says she is making good friends through the exchanges.
“And we have already become so close and I have just known them for like a month now. So it has become extremely valuable for me,” she said.
Actor Amir Abdullah, a Muslim, says differences will remain between the groups.
No, Muslims and Jews are not going to agree on everything. Heck, most Muslims are not even going to agree with each other on everything. But if we are able to share those experiences and share how we feel, we can at least get to understand one another, and I think that is really important,” he said.
Participants say they hope the dialogue will spread beyond Los Angeles.
On Sunday, November 18, 2012 at 2:30pm the youth groups at *Temple Beth Orr in Coral Springs hosted Muslim teens from nearby Masjid Jamaat Al-Mumineen (MJAM) to contribute to the welfare of the community by running Operation “Hope Tote.” The teens met together at Temple Beth Orr to assemble the Hope Totes; bags which they delivered the following weekend to homeless people in downtown Fort Lauderdale in
conjunction with Project Downtown.
This is the second year that the youth groups from Temple Beth Orr and Masjid Jamaat Al-Mumineen met for a for a social service activity. The joint youth project is an outgrowth of
the Peaceful Pairing interfaith dialogue group, which is under the auspices of JAM &
All, a nonprofit organization of Jews and Muslims, Christians and
Buddhists and others dedicated to creating interfaith harmony and
understanding through education and social interaction. For the past two
years, members of Temple Beth Orr and MJAM have been meeting monthly for
interfaith dialogue, alternating their places of worship for the sessions.
In addition, the date of this year’s event was timed to coincide with the Broward
Jewish Community Tikkun Olam Day on November 18 and with the national
Weekend of Twinning on November 16-18, 2012 organized by The Foundation for
The Hope Tote bags were filled with items such as soap, shampoo, a toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, lip balm, a disposable razor, lotion, tissues, socks and underwear; products to help people who are presently homeless to meet basic human needs. Members of the two congregations and the general public were invited to support the effort by contributing items to fill the Hope Totes.
For further information on the youth service project or the JAM & All
interfaith dialogue groups in Broward and Palm Beach counties, please
call Sophia Deen at 954 600-6848 or Fran Kraft at 954 752-4769.
New Jersey Muslims and Jews Standing Together Against Hunger and Homelessness, Morristown, December 5Posted: December 7, 2012
Report by Walter Ruby, Muslim Jewish Program Director at FFEU
It was an unforgettable night of sharing moral teachings from Torah and Quran, and engaging in the joys of free-flowing human interaction—imams and rabbis and Jewish and Muslim laypeople–gathered in (of all places) a church basement in affluent Morristown, NJ together with a number of homeless folks and several Christians who have dedicated their lives to public service.
The New Jersey Muslims and Jews Standing Together Against Hunger and Homelessness event, held on the evening of December 5, consisted of volunteers from both faith communities serving food to homeless and hungry people at Our Place; a drop-in center for homeless people a in the basement of the First Baptist Church in Morristown headed by Zamir Hassan, the founder and director of Muslims Against Hunger (MAH), a New Jersey based anti-hunger organization, and Mary Kashmanian, a devout Christian. During this year’s Weekend of Twinning, MAH collaborated with FFEU in Muslims and Jews Feeding the Hungry events in cities across North America.
Indeed, the Morristown event was the last of 17 Feeding the Hungry events that FFEU sponsored—often in concert with MAH but also involving other groups like Masbiah (a Jewish anti-hunger group based in Brooklyn) and Unity Productions, a Washington based production company that makes films on the American Muslim community, and which produced an inspirational film trailer on the Muslim-Jewish Feeding the Hungry events.
This year’s Muslim-Jewish Feeding the Hungry events took place in Toronto, Boston, Buffalo, Binghamton, Long Island, Manhattan, Brooklyn, New Brunswick, Washington DC, Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver, Los Angeles, and Morristown, as well as in Manchester, England. In each of those locations, Jews and Muslims visited soup kitchens, homeless shelters and street corners together to offer nourishing meals to people in need. In many cities, they also gathered for learning and networking sessions to discuss—and to celebrate–the common moral imperative in Judaism and Islam to feed the hungry and help those in society who are most in need.
Speaking at the Morristown event jointly hosted by Hassan of MAH and Walter Ruby, Muslim-Jewish Program Director at FFEU, were Rabbi Don Rossoff of Congregation B’nai Or in Morristown, Shaikh Adel Barhoma of the Islamic Center of Morris County in Rockaway, NJ, Rabbi Benjamin Adler of White Meadow Temple, also in Rockaway, Associate Rabbi Karen Perloman of Temple B’nai Jeshurun in Short Hills, Dr. Ali Chaudry of the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge, Imam Abdul Aleem Razak of the Masjid Ismail in Roselle, Mehdi Eliefifi of the New Jersey Outreach Group, a Muslim interfaith organization and Paul Freeland, head deacon of the First Baptist Church.
Rabbi Adler, who came to the Morristown event with a team of enthusiastic volunteers from White Meadow Temple, said that the sense of fellowship and shared commitment to helping those in need evoked for him the Hebrew concept ofhakarat hatov ( which means, literally, “recognizing the good” or gratitude. Adler said that after the anguish of Hurricane Sandy, which devastated much of New Jersey and ripped the roof off his synagogue, and the subsequent eruption of violence between Israel and Gaza, it was uplifting to witness Jews and Muslims in New Jersey coming together to feed the hungry.
Dr. Chaudry spoke of the hadith (Islamic oral law) which stipulates that “A man is not a believer who fills his stomach while his neighbor is hungry” and pointed out that the hadith precisely stipulates that the term ‘neighbor’ applies to quite a large number of people—including the forty houses in front a person’s home, the forty houses behind him, the forty houses on his right and the forty houses on his left. Imam Razak noted the Quran enjoins “believers” to help those most in need through acts like feeding the hungry or visiting the sick—noting that, “The Quaran does not say ‘Muslims’, nor ‘Jews’ but believers”. He then spoke about how inspired he was to see members of the two communities fulfilling that sacred obligation together.
At the end of the event, a homeless middle-aged man named Rick rose and thanked everyone at the event for “the great work you are doing,” but then said forcefully; “Don’t forget that after you leave here tonight, you will all be going home to your warm beds, but I will be sleeping outside on a cold night” (The wind chill was well below freezing). Rick quickly added, “Please don’t think I am putting you down in any way by saying that. It means more than you can imagine to me and other homeless people here that you are sitting side by side with us sharing a meal and relating to us with respect and dignity; something we rarely experience. But please never forget the suffering that people like me endure every day and night, something no one can really imagine until they experience it first-hand.”
Rick’s cri de coeur left many people in the room animated with the understanding that while they had done something of intrinsic worth that evening, that initial act of generosity would be rendered all but worthless if they were to simply congratulate each other and go home, without returning to volunteer on a regular basis at Our Place or other shelters or soup kitchens.
As Zamir Hassan explained, “Until shortly before I founded Muslims Against Hunger in 2000, I had been oblivious to the fact that ten percent of the population of New Jersey—half of them children—are classified as hungry. Once I became aware that there was so much hunger in my state—one of the wealthiest in the U.S, I knew I had to do something about it…I also came to understand that it is fitting that people of various backgrounds, including Muslims and Jews, should do this work together. After all, hunger has no religion.”
Rabbi Marc Rudolph, Congregation Beth Shalom, Naperville, Illinois.
Congregation Beth Shalom (CBS) members and Muslim Community Join Together to Feed the Hungry
On Sunday, November 25th, members of the CBS community joined together with members of the Naperville Muslim community to prepare food and bring it to homeless people at Hesed House in Aurora. This was part of the Global Weekend of Twinning, in which more than 130 mosques and synagogues and Muslim and Jewish organizations link up around the world to hold “Feeding the Hungry” events. The event hopes to be a cornerstone to further communication, reconciliation and cooperation among the Muslim and Jewish communities around the world. The Weekend of Twinning was held under the aegis of “The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding” in New York City.
Zamir Hassan, the founder of “Muslims Against Hunger”, began the morning by articulating his mission and cheering the group on throughout the four hours at Hesed House. A member of the Muslim community and CBS member Meryl Brodsky opened up the serving by leading the group with a prayer from each of their traditions. It was very very moving and well-received. Following the clean-up, the Muslim and Jewish participants talked about what such work meant to them from the perspective of their religions.
We thank all the CBS members who represented the Jewish community in this most important event.
Georgia, Muslim-Jewish 5th Annual Weekend of Twinning
contact person: Marine Solomonishvili , President of International Foundation LEA&Council of Jewish Women in Georgia ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
In Georgia , Marine Solomonishvili , President of International Foundation LEA &Council of Jewish Women in Georgia with partnership different organizationsof Jewish ,Muslim and other ethnic minority was organized a different meetings on 9th , 15th , 16th November,2012 to dedicate Muslim-Jewish 5th Annual Weekend of Twinning , also FFEU, 16 November-International Day for Tolerance, and otherevents.
1.-On 9th November,2012 ,village Kachrety (Region of Georgia) was held a roundtable to dedicate Muslim-Jewish 5th Annual Weekend of Twinning and “9 November-Khristalnight” with participation of Jewish ,Muslim and other ethnic minority leaders (place Ambassador Hotel,Kachrety,Georgia ).
The leaders said the importance of working together to promote the key problems for prevention antysemitism, Islamofobya ,diskrymination and other intolerance of ethnic/religious minorities.
Muslim’s women, Leila Mamedova, head of Union of Yang Azerbaijanian’s said that is important with partnership to Marine Solomonishvili, President of International Foundation LEA&Council of Jewish women in Georgia annually organizing Tbilisi Muslim-Jewish women’s Twinning . She also said about Muslim Jewish meeting there were in Paris,there vere a Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change, for an evening of storytelling, based on real life experiences.
2.-On 15th November,2012 in Tbilisi was held a meeting to dedicate Muslim-Jewish 5th Annual Weekend of Twinning and “Tolerance Day” with participation of Jewish ,Muslim and other religious/ethnic minority leaders (place Redison Hotel,Tbilisi ). The conveners of this year’s event, a Reception of Public Defender of Georgia for rabbis, imams, senior clergy Christians ,community and state leaders are participated on “Tolerance Day”. The leaders said about role a “Tolerance Day”.
Marine Solomonishvili, said about role a this event for develop the integration process, friendship and intercultural dialogue Jewish with Muslims and other ethnic minorities, especially with partnership a women leaders from different communities.
Marine Solomonishvili said the importance together selebrating “Tolerance Day” Muslim-Jewish 5th Annual Weekend of Twinning . She also said that in Georgia the basic religion is orthodox Christian , but alongside which there are Islam and Judaism. Church, Synagogue, Mosque are together in heart of old center in Tbilisi and this place was very old tradition of tolerance .
3. -On 16th November,2012 in Tbilisi was held a meeting to dedicate “Tolerance Day” . The conveners of this year’s event was Parliament of Georgia with participation of Jewish ,Muslim and other religious/ethnic minority leaders and state leaders are participated on “Tolerance Day”. (place Vere Palas Hotel,Tbilisi).
4.-On 16th November,2012 in Tbilisi was held a roundtable “Gender equality “ -Women’s role present and future perspectives “with participation of Georgian, Jewish ,Muslim and other ethnic minority women/girls leaders (place Holidey Inn Hotel,Tbilisi ).
Marine Solomonishvili also said, more than 1/3 of Georgian population consists of representatives of ethnical minorities, there are more than 20 ethnic minority Communities in Georgia (Jews, Azeri, Armenian, Kurds, Russian, Ukrainian, Assyrian, Germans, Czechs, Polish, Greeks, Estonian, Lithuanian, Roma and etc.), about 60% are women. This period of turbulent Times is difficult in Georgia, especially for socially vulnerable groups, including religious/ethnic minorities and women.
The women noted that it is necessary to improve the joint work for the development of key problems of gender equality in Jewish, Muslim and other communities.
About International Day for Tolerance
16 November-International Day for Tolerance
In 1996, the UN General Assembly (by resolution 51/95) invited UN Member States to observe the International Day for Tolerance on 16 November, with activities directed towards both educational establishments and the wider public.
This action followed on the United Nations Year for Tolerance, 1995, proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 at the initiative of UNESCO, as outlined in the Declaration of Principles on Tolerance and Follow-up Plan of Action for the Year.
On the day of its fiftieth anniversary, 16 November 1995, UNESCO’s Member States adopted a Declaration of Principles on Tolerance. Among other things, the Declaration affirms that tolerance is neither indulgence nor indifference. It is respect and appreciation of the rich variety of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. Tolerance recognizes the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms of others. People are naturally diverse; only tolerance can ensure the survival of mixed communities in every region of the globe.
The Declaration qualifies tolerance not only as a moral duty, but also as a political and legal requirement for individuals, groups and States. It situates tolerance in relation to the international human rights instruments drawn up over the past fifty years and emphasizes that States should draft new legislation when necessary to ensure equality of treatment and of opportunity for all groups and individuals in society.
The 2005 World Summit Outcome document (A/RES/60/1) furthered the commitment of Heads of State and Government to advance human welfare, freedom and progress everywhere, as well as to encourage tolerance, respect, dialogue and cooperation among different cultures, civilizations and peoples.