Muslim and Jewish New Yorkers will come together at Brotherhood Synagogue (28 Gramercy Park S.) on Sunday October 30 from 10-12 AM to prepare food for hungry seniors, and then will gather at a solidarity event at Dag Hammerskjold Plaza (2nd Ave between 47 and 48 Streets) from 1-3 PM, where they will vow to stand up for each other and to combat Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry, no matter the result of the presidential election on November 8.

The day long Solidarity Sunday will conclude back at Brotherhood Synagogue at 7 PM for a Voices of The Sacred concert featuring the Makhelat HaShachar (Shinonome Choir) of Japan. The choir is the centerpiece of the Beit Shalom religious movement in Japan, aka The Japan Christian Friends of Israel.

The Muslim-Jewish Solidarity Sunday series of events #MuslimJewishSolidaritySunday is part of the Season of Twinning, sponsored by the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU), which between now and the end of 2016 will feature scores of events in more than 20 countries around the world in which Muslims and Jews come together to strengthen ties of communication and cooperation. Among the organizations co-sponsoring Solidarity Sunday in addition to FFEU are the NYC Muslim-Jewish Solidarity Committee, Muslims Against Hunger and Brotherhood Synagogue.

According to FFEU Muslim-Jewish Program Director Walter Ruby, “We are gratified that Muslims and Jews will be gathering on October 30 to package food for seniors in need at Brotherhood Synagogue, and then come together at Dag Hammersjkold Plaza, the site of so many important rallies over the decades on behalf of human freedom and dignity, to declare that we will stand up for each other if either community is victimized by violence or by hateful rhetoric. FFEU is proud to partner with NYCMJSC, which has done so much to build Muslim-Jewish friendship and trust in New York, in co-sponsoring this important solidarity event.”

Zamir Hassan, founder and director of Muslims Against Hunger, commented, “Millions of seniors are at risk of hunger, yet the depth of senior hunger in America is not widely understood because many seniors are too embarrassed to ask for help. That is why Muslims Against Hunger and our partners will be gathering on October 30 at Brotherhood Synagogue to prepare 10,000 healthy and nutritious meal packages for New York area seniors as part of our ongoing campaign to #EndSeniorHungerNow.”

Persons wishing to volunteer to prepare food for the hungry should register and RSVP at

Robert Wolf, a board member at Brotherhood Synagogue, explained that the Voices of the Sacred concert offers a rare opportunity to see one of the world’s best ‘Jewish’ choirs, the Makhelat HaShachar (Shinonome Choir) of Japan.” Wolf noted that the members of the all-volunteer choir come from all over Japan and pay their own way for every tour they undertake.

The regular admission price for the concert is $25, but for those who volunteer for #End SeniorHungerNow, a special price of $10 will be charged.

For more information on Solidarity Sunday events, please contact:

Walter Ruby, Foundation for Ethnic Understanding 917 294 1772

Michelle Koch, New York Muslim-Jewish Solidarity Committee, 646 898-6973

Zamir Hassan, Muslims Against Hunger 917 371-2602

Robert Wolf, Brotherhood Synagogue, 212 216 1159

FFEU 2016 Twinning Kick Off Event Featured in the Washington Jewish Week

‘Spread Hummus Not Hate’ rally emphasizes Jewish-Muslim solidarity

October 21, 2016 By George Altshuler Leave a Comment

Susan Klau, President of American University Jewish Students Association and Bakhtawar Mirjat, the President of AU’s Islam Awareness Coalition, talk to the crowd at the “Spread Hummus Not Hate” rally. Photo by George Altshuler

Organizers of the “Spread Hummus Not Hate” rally at American University were true to their word Thursday and served plastic container after plastic container of hummus as part of an effort to counter what they described as an increase in bigoted rhetoric and hate crimes.

A couple hundred AU students and members of local faith groups attended the rally, which was held Oct. 20 on the central quad of the AU campus.

“Today it’s Muslims, tomorrow it’s anti-Semitism… It’s an unending sequence,” Akbar Ahmed, chair of Islamic Studies at American University, said during his remarks onstage.

“Therefore you have to say, enough, enough, enough,” he continued. “Here is the red line and we’re not going to allow it to be crossed.”

The rally was also the last stop of an annual bus tour in which 12 members of Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum spent the day handing out hummus and pita at synagogues, mosques, public parks and college campuses to promote tolerance and solidarity.

Walter Ruby, who is the Muslim-Jewish program director at the New York-based Foundation for Ethnic Understanding and helped to organize the bus tour and rally, said with tension on college campuses between the two groups over the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, the AU event was significant. “I hope this will be a harbinger for things to come.”

Sophomore Alana Kessler, who helped organize the event as a member of Hillel, said that it’s important to “build bridges” between the Muslim and Jewish communities on campus.

“This is about knowing that the Islamic community is also a huge part of our family,” she said. “Our two communities will only be stronger if we come together.”

Bakhtawar Mirjat, a sophomore who leads two Muslim groups on campus, said that sometimes the AU campus can feel siloed.

“We coexist fine on campus, but I think coexisting is just the base,” she said. “I think that not only do we have to tolerate each other, but we have to come together and love each other.

“We see a lot of hate speech targeted towards both Muslim and Jewish community members and we can’t let that happen,” she added. “We need to stand together as minorities and speak out against it.”

At one point in the rally, Rabbi Batya Steinlauf of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington spoke on stage with Robert Marro, a board member in the All Dulles Area Muslim Society in Sterling.

Steinlauf emphasized that both the Jewish and Muslim traditions share the belief that all humanity is descended from the same person, and Marro put the rally into historical context and added some levity to the event.

“I doubt if any of the founding fathers ever had any conception of what hummus was,” he said. “But if they tried it, I’m sure they’d all be in favor of spreading hummus and not hate.”

Article from:


The Spread Hummus Not Hate minivan tour around Greater Washington culminated in a rally which drew more than 200 Muslim and Jewish students and community activists to a late afternoon rally on the Quad at American University where they vowed to stand up for each other and in support of religious freedom for all Americans.


Imam Ali Siddiqui & Rabbi Michael Feshbach of Temple Shalom, Chevy Chase during visit by SHNH minivan to Temple Shalom 



(l-r) Remaz Abdelgader and Nadia Hassan sing on SHNH minivan

Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at AU delivered opening remarks at the rally, expressing deep concern about the escalating anti-Muslim rhetoric in the U.S., including from candidates in the presidential election, and remarking, “Today it’s against Muslims, but tomorrow it could be anti-Semitism or against African-Americans or other groups. All of us need to say, ‘Enough is enough. Here is a red line and we won’t allow it to be crossed.”

FFEU Muslim-Jewish Prgram Director Walter Ruby told the Rally, “Spread Hummus, Not Hate, the kickoff event for FFEU’s annual Season of Twinning is the purest distillation of our growing Muslim-Jewish movement. We are coming out today to vow to Stand Up for Each Other and to stand together with Americans of conscience from all faith traditions in defense of religious freedom for all faiths and no faith; for full rights for all Americans regardless of faith, race or ethnicity.”


Cantor Lisa Levine leads members of the congregation and SHNH bus riders in singing of Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu 

A highlight of the rally came when AU Hillel President Susan Klau and MSA President Bakhtawar Mirjat stood together on stage and vowed to combine forces against what Mirjat called , “the hateful rhetoric against us both on the national stage. We need to stand up for each other.” AU Jewish and Muslim Chaplains Jason Benkendorf and Imam Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad delivered a Joint Prayer for Peace, in which they prayed for peace between Palestinians and Israelis, for an end to violence and teroruism and for peace in America, including an end to the demonization of diverse faith and ethnic communities. The two intoned together the Talmudic and Quranic adage, that, ‘It you save one life it is as though you have saved the whole world.’

Catherine Orsborn urged members of the audience to sign the Religious Freedom Pledge vowing to speak out against demonization or discrimination against any faith or ethnic community.

The Rally at AU capped a day during which Muslim and Jewish riders on the minivan, which was generously contributed by the ADAMS Center, toured Greater Washington with stops at the Muslim Community Center, in Silver Spring, MD, University of Maryland in College Park, Masjid Muhammad in northeast Washington, Farragut Square in downtown Washington, Temple Shalom in Chevy Chase, MD and Washington Hebrew Center in northwest Washington to deliver the message, “We are coming together as Muslims and Jews to declare that we will stand up for each other if either community is victimized by violence or by hateful rhetoric. No matter what happens on November 8, no matter what other events may occur in the coming weeks and months, we vow to stand together against Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry.”


Members of the Spread Hummus Not Hate minibus tour visited with Rabbi Brice Lustig (third from left) in the sanctuary at Washington Hebrew Congregation


Rally Participants to Declare: We Will Stand Up for Each Other and Fight Hatred and Fear Mongering No Matter Who Wins the Election on November 8!


For immediate release:


For further information, contact:

Walter Ruby, Foundation for Ethnic Understanding:

Andra Baylus, Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum:

Patrick Burnett, American University:


Concerned about an increase in bigoted rhetoric and hate crimes in recent months, members of Muslim and Jewish student groups and community activists from the Greater Washington area will come together at a first-of-its-kind Rally on the Quad at American University (AU) on Thursday, October 20 from 4:30-5:45 to vow to defend each other and oppose the demonization of any faith or ethnic community, regardless of the election results on November 8th or other external events.


As an expression of that commitment, participants in the rally, including leaders of AU Hillel, the Jewish Student Association, the AU Islam Awareness Campaign, and the Muslim Student Association, as well as interfaith activists of all faiths from around Greater Washington, will sign the Religious Freedom Pledge, which commits signers to “uphold and defend the freedom of conscience of all individuals by rejecting and speaking out, without reservation, against bigotry, discrimination, harassment and violence based on religion or belief.”

The rally at AU, which is being hosted by Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at AU, in cooperation with the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding and the Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum, is the culminating event of the Third Annual “Spread Hummus, Not Hate” (SHNH) day-long minivan tour of Greater Washington on October 20, during which Muslim and Jewish activists visit mosques, synagogues, campuses and a public park in downtown Washington to say, “We are Muslims and Jews coming out in public to express our love for each other and our dedication to working together for the betterment of both our communities as well as the Greater Washington community in which we live side by side.”


Riders on the SHNH minivan will share free hummus and pita with people at multiple venues during the daylong tour that also includes a lunchtime encounter at Farragut Square in downtown Washington.

See the below itinerary of the Oct 20th SHNH Minivan tour:

8:30 AM   The Muslim Community Center, Silver Spring, MD

10:15 AM   The University of Maryland, College Park, MD

11:30 AM   Masjid Muhammad, Washington, DC

12:45 PM   Farragut Square Park, Washington, DC

2:00 PM   Temple Shalom, Chevy Chase, MD

3:15 PM   Washington Hebrew Congregation, Washington, DC

4:30 PM   American University, Rally on the Quad, Washington DC

Ambassador Ahmed commented: “We are pleased and excited that Muslim and Jewish student leaders, as well as people of conscience from around the area, will be coming together on October 20 to express our love for and commitment to each other. This rally, which is non-partisan in nature, is an articulation of our commitment to stand united at a time when we have seen a worrisome rise in rhetorical attacks and hate crimes against Jews, Muslims and others.”

Ahmed noted that Jewish and Muslim chaplains at AU will deliver a joint Prayer for Peace, expressing their common desire for an early end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and for people of conscience of all faiths to come together in the U.S. to uphold democratic values and religious freedom for all.


Walter Ruby, Muslim-Jewish Program Director at the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, which has been working since 2007 to strengthen Muslim-Jewish ties across the U.S. and around the world, stated, “We are pleased that Spread Hummus, Not Hate offers Washington area Jews and Muslims to make clear at this portentous moment in history that whatever happens on November 8 and during the ensuing weeks and months, we will have each other’s backs, if either community is demonized or discriminated against.”


Andra Baylus of the Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum remarked, “Spread Hummus Not Hate allows us to share with everyone we interact with the good news that despite the inaccurate perception that Jews and Muslims are adversaries, in fact, we are involved in an ongoing effort to build ties of friendship and trust. During the minivan tour and at the AU rally, we will sing, pray, rap and eat hummus and pita together. For those who are working to drive wedges between Jews and Muslims and set Americans of all backgrounds against each other, this min-bus tour of Spread Hummus Not Hate is the perfect answer!”




Tunisia 2

FFEU European Director, Samia Hathroubi, meets members of Tunisian young adult interfaith organizations in Tunis

This year, after two consecutive years of holding conferences and film screenings to mark the Season of Twinning in Tunis, we decided to take our 2015 Season of Twinning event into the streets of the city. Part of our message in in doing so is that despite two high profile ISIS-inspired terror attacks in Tunisia this year which took a horrific toll in innocent lives, Tunisian Jews and Muslims are friends and not afraid to publicly encounter each other.

In cooperation with Yamina Thabet and her Tunisian Association in Support of Minorities, FFEU European Coordinator Samia Hathroubi led a tour of the old Jewish quarter of Tunis and held meetings with members of the small, but influential Jewish population which has remained there.

In 1945, there were more than 100,000 Jews in Tunisia, with the majority in the capital. Today, about 700 Jews remain in Tunis, with 1200 more in the ancient community on the island of Djerba. Yet many from the large Tunisian Jewish diasporas in France, Canada, Israel and elsewhere remain engaged with the community and visit here frequently for religious pilgirimages.

The tour of the Jewish Quarter began with a visit to the Cimetery Borgel, where the visitors were informed that 70 years ago the Jewish population of Tunis was a vibrant mix of people who had lived for generations in Tunisia, and others known collectively as “the Grana” who had migrated here from Italy, Portugal and Malta.

After that, we went to the Commemoration Masoleum, where we stood in silence in memory for all the Tunisian Jews who either died in work camps established by the Nazis in Tunisia during their occupation of the country in 1942-1943 or were deported to the death camps of Europe during the same terrible period.

We then headed to the Hafsia, the heart of the former Jewish quarter located in the heart of the medina (marketplace) of old Tunis. Within a cramped several bloc blocks almost 60 synagogues once stood. Today, many of these buildings are chic coffee houses, yet if one looks closely it is possible to find tell-tale signs–such as now empty alcoves in walls that once held mezuzzot —revealing that here were once Jewish homes and places of worship.

Moche Uzan, assistant to the Chief Rabbi of Tunis, Benjamin Hattab, gave a passionate presentation of the history of the Hafsia, complete with many colorful and moving anecdotes. The two men are now collaborating on a book showcasing the glorious history and complex present day reality of the Tunisian Jewish community.

Following the visit to the Jewish community, Samia Hathroubi held a meeting with members of Tunisian young adults organizations to give an overview of her work on behalf of FFEU in strengthening Muslim-Jewish relations across Europe. Participants in the event were all in their 20’s and included members of the Youth Council of Tunisia and of Yala, a youth empowerment organization.

The discussion focused on the pressing need for Tunisians to better understand their pluralistic identity, including its Judaic component. Embracing this identity, and affirming the rights of Jews, Christians and other minorities to full citizenship and participation in public life will spur the process of  democratization here five years after the Arab Spring was launched with demonstrations in Tunis against the dictatorial regime then in power.

Participants in the Young Adults event expressed enthusiasm for the mottos #NousSommesUnis and #Werefusetobeenemies. They vowed to participate in the Season of Twinning 2017, which will be a cultural event focused on the multi-faceted identity of Tunisia, including its Jewish part.


In a gesture of good will to residents of the Orange County Rescue Mission (OCRM) and to the larger Christian community, more than 20 members of the Orange County Islamic Foundation (OCIF) and Temple Beth El of South Orange County (TBESOC) served lunch to some 200 residents at OCRM on Christmas Day. The Muslim and Jewish volunteers replaced OCRM residents who normally serve lunch to their fellow residents, thereby allowing them to take a break from their daily task and to enjoy Christmas lunch with their families.

The visit to OCRM, which has a Christian orientation, by volunteers from OCIF and TBESOC was the latest manifestation of a longstanding ‘twinning’ relationship between members of the two congregations, which has made Orange County the focus of one of the most positive examples of grass roots Muslim-Jewish relationship building. The Christmas Day event was also the final event and capstone of the two month long International Season of Twinning, sponsored by the New York-based Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, during which Muslims and Jews held more than 50 joint events in 20 countries across North America, Europe, South America, Australia, Israel and North Africa on the theme of “We Refuse to Be Enemies.” FFEU has been working since 2008 to build a global movement of Muslims and Jews committed to communication, reconciliation and cooperation.

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Samia Dean of OCIF and Alana Spector of TBESOC on food line at OCRC

Mahboob Akhter, a member of the Board of Directors of OCIF, who l led the volunteers from the mosque, commented, “We and our friends from TBESOC decided to serve lunch to residents of the Rescue Mission on Christmas Day in order to be there for them and for all of our Christian brothers and sisters. Our longer term purpose is to create an ‘Umbrella of Abrahamic Faiths’ through which Muslims, Jews and Christians will do good deeds for each other.”

According to Rabbi Rachel Kort of TBESOC, “By making it possible for all the residents of OCRM to share Christmas lunch with their families, the volunteers from TBESOC and OCIF were fulfilling the moral imperative at the heart of both Islam and Judaism to reach out and succor those in society who are most in need. We share this ethical perspective with the Christian community as well, so we were very happy to be of service at the Rescue Mission.”.

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Rabbi Rachel Kort and Sherri Hoffman Krause of TBESOC with Sima Salim of OCIF

Walter Ruby, Muslim-Jewish Program Director at the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, who travelled from Washington for the event, commented, “It was fitting that the final event of the Season of Twinning should be spearheaded by OCIF and TBESOC, two wonderful congregations which have developed a close twinning relationship that is an inspiration to Muslims and Jews around the world.”

Samina Dean, a volunteer from OCIF, commented, “Bringing food to people in need is deeply meaningful to me because this is what the Prophet Issa—also known as Jesus Christ and deeply revered in Islam–would have done.” Alana Spector, a 20 year old university student who worked alongside Dean in serving food to residents of OCRM, commented, “I like to volunteer to help people in need and doing so alongside members of another faith—in this case, Muslims, makes it even more meaningful.”

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Members of OCIF and TBESOC slicing and dicing food for residents of OCRM 

Ali Ahmed, an IT specialist, remarked, “I love the idea of coming as a Muslim to a Christian facility and working alongside our Jewish friends to be of service to people in need. I would add that at this particular moment when there has been a rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric and hate crimes, an occasion like this reminds us that we are not alone.”

Sherri Hoffman Krause, the widow of the late Rabbi Allen Krause of TBESOC, who pioneered in reaching out to OCIF to offer solidarity and support in the aftermath of 9-11, remarked, “It is wonderful to see the relationship between our two congregations continuing to develop almost fifteen years later. I recall that when I was sitting shiva for my husband three years ago, members of OCIF came up to me and said, ‘We never would have imagined that Jews would be so concerned about our situation and supportive of us.’”

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Kim Hoffman, resident supervisor at OCRM with OCIF Board Member Mahboob Akhter and Sherry Hoffman Krause

Kim Hoffman, a resident of OCRM, who directed the Jewish and Muslim visitors in their food preparation, commented, “ I am a devout Christian and therefore disagree with these folks on religious doctrine theology, but it’s wonderful to find out that we agree on some things as well; such as being of service to our fellow human beings.’ Taking part in this event today with these good people, I realized, ‘This is how God moves.’”


On the evening of Tuesday, December 15, the recently created Montreal Muslim-Jewish Forum (MMJF), held a Season of Twinning event at the historic Atwater Public Library in Westmount. The event, which was sponsored by the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR), the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU) featured Rabbi Lisa Gruschcow of Temple Emanu-El Beth Shalom in Montreal and Shaheen Ashraf, Secretary of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women, Montreal Chapter on the subject of “Welcoming Syrian Refugees: Muslims and Jews -s Working Together.” Dr. Karen Mock brought greetings from the Canadian Association of Jews and Muslims.

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Rabbi Lisa Grushcow addresses the Montreal Twinning Event

Rabbi -Grushcow, who wrote a ground-breaking article in the Montreal Gazette last September entitled “Why Our Congregation is Sponsoring At Least One Syrian Refugee Family”, gave an inspiring overview of how her congregation has moved forward with determination on the project in the months since then; including raising more than $60,000 and filing papers to bring at least two Syrian families to Montreal in coordination with relatives already here, and beginning the process of helping to find employment for members of the soon-to-arrive families.

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Dr. Karen Mock introduces keynote speakers Shaheen Ashraf and Rabbi Lisa Grushcow

Noting that both families are Muslim and that some in the Jewish community have questioned her as to why a synagogue would extend itself to help Syrian Muslims immigrate to Canada, Grushcow explained, “We are not only comfortable helping to bring these families here, but very glad to be playing a small part in a larger movement” embraced by the new Canadian government to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees by February 2016. We cannot evoke the righteous (gentiles) who saved Jews during the Holocaust, and not do this now. This is an expression of the commitment at the heart of Judaism to Welcome the Stranger.”

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Shaheen Ashraf speaks at event

Ashraf spoke of the work of CCMW since its foundation in 1982, including fighting for gender equality, working against domestic violence, opposing religious discrimination, including efforts by the previous Government of Quebec to ban religious headgear in the workplace .and speaking out against terrorism and religious fanaticism. Ashraf expressed a readiness to work with the Jewish community, as well as other faith and ethnic communities on the Syrian refugee issue; noting that protecting refugees a value that goes back to the earliest days of Islam when followers of the Prophet Mohammed themselves fled their native Mecca and took refuge in the city of Medina.

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Fo Niemi of CRARR with Shaheen Ashraf and Rabbi Lisa Grushcow

In the general discussion that followed the presentation by Rabbi Grushcow and Ms. Ashraf, members of the two communities agreed to explore ways to cooperate on facilitating the integration of Syrian and other refugees, making a contribution to the fight against obstacles to immigrant integration and standing together against Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry. Follow-up plans are to convene the planning committee of the Montreal Muslim-Jewish Forum next month to develop a concrete agenda for ongoing Muslim-Jewish cooperation in Montreal in both the Anglophone and Francophone sectors.

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Walter Ruby of FFEU with leaders of the Montreal Muslim-Jewish Forum