Change-makers Achieving the Impossible Dream

Listening and Achieving the Impossible Dream by Abigail Barash Muslim and Jewish Young Adults Forge Community in Los Angeles Can Jews and Muslims actually get along? For the average American, plagued by widespread misinformation and skewed biases from the media, this might seem nearly impossible. In light of the ubiquitous news of conflict in the Middle East, coexistence between these two faith traditions is often perceived as a lost cause. However, here in the Southern California a number of Jewish and Muslim communities are working in harmony towards peace and understanding. 4385896
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Wrestling Jerusalem

IMG_1505 NewGround Change-makers at Wrestling Jerusalem: NewGround Facilitator, Ramin Nematollahi, Speaks on a Panel at the Pico Union Project: Wrestling Jerusalem is a dynamic one-man play tackling the very complex discussion on the Israeli and Palestinian conflict through the eyes of numerous characters created by Aaron Davidman. The play exemplified the power and sanctity of listening. Listening to different ideas, different views, and different people, all seemingly looking for a solution, perhaps being the solution. I had the honor and privilege of serving on a discussion panel to reflect on the play. I spoke about the correlation between NewGround'smission of transforming communities by bringing together Jewish and Muslim change
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Remembering our Change-maker, Dr. Maher Hathout

Dr. H Remembering and Honoring Our Change-maker, Dr. Maher Hathout: Aziza Hasan Appears on Straight Talk Podcast to Talk about Resolving Conflict “Don’t lose yourself to anger. The best you will do is succumb to the behavior of the person who made you angry.” –Dr. Maher Hathout Listen to NewGround Executive Director Aziza Hasan speak with the late Dr. Maher Hathout in the first of a 2-part series on "Practical Tips for Resolving Conflict." Enjoy these precious gems of wisdom on how to transform conflict in our lives. Board Member Rabbi Sarah Bassin reflects on Dr. Hathout in the Jewish Journa
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Passover the Christian Extremists

Full blog post visible at patheos.com The recent tragedy at the Jewish Community Center in Kansas is a reminder that more than 3,000 years after the Jewish people were liberated from the oppression of pharaoh, anti-Jewish hatred is still a serious issue in America. This time the face of terror was one white Christian man with ties to the most prominent terrorist organization in America, the KKK. This man was not immediately identified as a “terrorist” because of his faith and skin color. Needless to say if the perpetrator was Ali the headlines would be very different. We’d see pundits and commentators pontificating the finer points of Islam and violent extremism. We would expect generalizations and disparaging remarks that perpetuate a fear and distrust against Muslims by self-proclaimed “experts”.
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NewGround Shares Stories

Lia Board Member Edina & Alumna Lia Share NewGround Stories: On January 11, 2015, NewGround had the pleasure of presenting at All Saints Episcopal Church for an Interfaith Study Group, which was founded in 2007 as a joint effort by All Saints, the Islamic Center of Southern California, and the Pasadena Jewish Temple and Center. The evening eulogized the two great progressive religious leaders and longtime allies, Rabbi Leonard Beerman of the Leo Baeck Temple and Dr. Maher Hathout, founder of the MPAC. NewGround’s co-founder and board member, Edina Lekov ic, and graduate ofNewGround’s fellowship, Lia Mandelbaum, spoke to NewGround's methodology and experience with Muslim-Jewish relations in Los Angeles. Following the event, attendee Navjot Sekhon said that lear
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Change-maker Leads Intentional Listening Exercise at Yeshiva in Israel

4385896 Alumna Sarah Fort Sholklapper Leads Intentional Listening Exercise at Yeshiva in Israel I led an intentional listening exercise for my community at an traditional, egalitarian yeshiva in Jerusalem. I am rabbinical student here for a year-long program of intense learning. We wanted to enhance the communal aspect of and build safe space here at the Yeshiva. Rabbinical students from around the world and of different streams of Judaism attend the Yeshiva, as well as individuals who want to engage in rigorous text study for themselves. Building community is a priority and a challenge here, as we have so many future leaders coming from such vastly different backgrounds.
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Islam Plain and Simple’ by Tariq Jalil

4385896 One part of the NewGround process that stood out for me was being able to talk about Islam the way I understood it, how I practiced it and without having to speak and be held accountable for a billion people who also share my faith. Just being heard in that space was liberating for me. When I read my friend Tariq Jalil's new book "Islam Plain and Simple" I felt him channeling that liberated spirit in discussing Islam, I felt his empowerment and connected to his desire to speak in a straightforward manner about Islam. In NewGround, we have the opportunity to build relationships by building on a web of interactions. We start with the preliminaries and move into more sensitive areas of
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Passover The Christian Extremists

4385896 *Split the Moon welcomes guest contributor Tarek Shawky, an attorney and former Public Defender, with his first column. -Tarek Shawky The recent tragedy at the Jewish Community Center in Kansas is a reminder that more than 3,000 years after the Jewish people were liberated from the oppression of pharaoh, anti-Jewish hatred is still a serious issue in America. This time the face of terror was one white Christian man with ties to the most prominent terrorist organization in America, the KKK. This man was not immediately identified as a "terrorist" because of his faith and skin color. Needless to say if the perpetrator was Ali the headlines would be very different. We'd see pu

NewGround Alumni Share Core Values with Servas” by Ben Gertner and Fares Alhassen

4385896 As representatives of NewGround, we were invited to speak at a gathering of Servas about our experience as members of NewGround's first cohort in 2007. Founded in 1949, Servas works on building understanding, tolerance and world peace, in part by providing a international network of lodgings for Servas members. Dennis Mogerman, a Servas leader, had contacted NewGround about having alumni speaking at a Servas after reading a piece featuring NewGround in a recent issue of the Jewish Journal. Mogerman saw a natural alliance between Servas' mission and NewGround's work in Jewish-Muslim relations. The event opened by recounting our experiences to the members, starting with a discussi
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“A Muslim Take on Pew’s Poll on Jewish American Identity” by Affad Shaikh

4385896 A recent Pew Research Religion & Public Life Project study on Jewish life in America got the cogs turning in my head from conversations I had during NewGround. While Pew has done a few of these, the most recent one dealt with the intertwining issues of identity and spirituality today in the Jewish community. The Pew Study statistically reinforced what I heard during NewGround. I found the figure that 93% of Jews in the aging Greatest Generation identify as Jewish on the basis of religion; just 7% describe themselves as having no religion (which I think, for Muslims, is probably how my generation would view themselves today). By contrast, among Jews in the youngest generation
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