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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A Jew and A Muslim? by Affad Shaikh

4385896 A Jew and a Muslim… ...sounds like the beginning of a joke or the beginning of an unpleasant story. Yet the recent Jewish Journal article with aforementioned setup tells a different tale altogether. It's a great read on NewGround – the Muslim-Jewish fellowship percolating within the Los Angeles community that is making strides at challenging perceptions inside and outside the respective communities. The article itself starts off from identities rooted in Muslim and Jewish perspective then ends with an almost exclusive focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While it does detail NewGround's unique methodolgy, the article does not hone in on what the organization emphasiz
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A Household Story

4385896 On May 30th 2012, participants, supporters, and friends of NewGround, led by Rabbi Sarah Bassin, gathered at the King Fahad Mosque to honor those who had been working so closely with the organization. The Mosque houses the third largest Muslim community in Los Angeles, and members of Temple Emanuel, where many of the Jewish participants had come from, is the second largest community of Jews in Los Angeles. The overwhelming feeling of closeness, community, and the shared experience that all of the participants went through was completely apparent in the room. The night was filled with stories and anecdotes of people's experiences and personal paths with Newground; how it had shaped a
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Bringing the Values of NewGround to UCLA by Zack Ritter

4385896 I have taught courses on racism, classism, and sexism, but NewGround opened my eyes to the depth of understanding that can arise from interfaith dialogue. All too often, there are images of hate between Muslims and Jews in the media, but if the conversations of mutual curiosity and cultural sharing were broadcasted in living rooms across the nation and world, I think people's historical notions that these two groups refuse to get along would be changed in an instant. Many dialogues about what it means to be a Muslim, what it means to be a Jew, and what it means to be an ally for both communities caused me have those "aha" moments – realizing that I could make a difference in my own
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Experiencing an Iftar

4385896 NewGround's Iftar event on Thursday August ninth offered a reminder of how close Muslims and Jews can be. Two-hundred and fifty Muslims and Jews gathered at the Westside Jewish Community Center to celebrate Iftar, one of the religious observances of Ramadan, one of the holiest events on the Muslim calendar, an event where people gather as a community to break their fasts. I was so excited to attend this event; I had always wanted to attend an Iftar, but the opportunity had never come up. I thought that this one in particular would be great—the bringing together of two different religious groups for a meal that meant so much to one group, both religiously and for their commun
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From Strangers to Friends

4385896 By Bob Tornberg Temple Emanuel-King Fahad NewGround Fellow This past Sunday, my wife and I went to see Pray to Ball at The Complex, a play written by Amir Abdullah. I had gotten to know Amir because we both participated in NewGround King Fahad-Temple Emanuel Fellowship and wanted to support his efforts to use his skills as an actor and writer to share his views of Islam. Interestingly, my wife, Julie, only met Amir once, but she was so taken with the person he is that she pushed us to actually be certain to attend the performance. Pray to Ball tells the tale of two long-time friends, Hakeem and Lou. Both of them are star college basketball players who want to move into the
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