Report from Rabbi David Spirad, The Temple:
Atlanta’s Muslim-Jewish Twinning event at The Temple on Sunday, November 17th was a considerable success. I believe this is The Temple’s 5th year of our participation, but my first (I joined our staff in June). I partnered with Soumaya Khalifa of the Atlanta Islamic Speakers Bureau and the American Jewish Committee, Atlanta Office.
In all, approximately forty people participated with an even split between Muslims and Jews. This was the number I was hoping for. There were more women than women, although it was probably only at 65/35 split. Our ages ranged from 20s to 60s, which was a pleasant surprise as I expected an older crowd and was happily surprised by the youth in attendance.
We basically followed the program outline you provided and Soumaya and I shared the emcee/moderator duties. At each of the tables there was robust, meaningful conversation at many participants spoke up about wanting more and not wanting a whole year to pass until we come together again. The three experiences desired by the people who were there were 1) social, particularly young professional; 2) educational; 3) coming together on issues of social justice relevant to both communities.
Going forward, we would enjoy deepening this relationship. Standing up for the other has a much better chance of gaining traction if we are actually in real relationship with each other.