In the News
3 July 2019
Reclaiming and Preserving Sacred Space
On the evening of the 25th of June, Temple Beth Am welcomed floods of visitors from across Los Angeles’s many communities and faith groups. They came to listen to a panel hosted by the Pacifica Institute, sentimentally titled “Reclaiming Sacred Space.” Our Executive Director, Aziza Hasan, spoke on the panel, alongside the Pacifica Institute‘s Atilla Kahveci and NewGround Advisory Board member Susan Goldberg.
Read the Jewish Journal‘s coverage of the event here.
28 May 2019
Los Angeles Holds 4th Annual Day of Pluralism Celebration
Our City of Angels is indicative of how a super-diverse population can actively work toward pluralism by improving communication, with one another, stressing interdependence, and creating communities out of society. This year, we celebrated the City’s 4th Annual Pluralism Day. Read about it, and NewGround’s role, on The Ismaili.
7 May 2019
Muslims, Jews, and Mental Health Today
Each year, NewGround‘s Change-makers pursue a project aimed at addressing a particular issue within our communities. This year, our fellows directed their attention toward mental health and its relationship to anti-Muslim sentiment, antisemitism, and community. Read Blavity‘s coverage of this project here.
9 April 2019
Study finds that Muslims and Jews are close allies
A new study released last week has provided data to support what we at NewGround already know: that Muslims and Jews, particularly in the United States, are “natural allies”. Furthermore, the study finds that more than half of Jewish Americans have a positive opinion of Muslims, which transcends the findings from any other non-Muslim faith group. NewGround‘s Aziza Hasan tells The Huffington Post:
“Through the grief and the pain of this past year, one continual source of inspiration and strength has been the way our communities continue to show up for each other.”
21 March 2019
Muslims and Jews Come Together in Wake of Christchurch Attacks
In the wake of the attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which a white supremacist shot 100 people across two mosques in the area and killing half, American Muslims found themselves the recipients of compassion from their Jewish friends and colleagues.
At the Islamic Center of Southern California, nearly 100 people gathered for a press release during which community members came together in solidarity.
NewGround‘s love and support is with those affected by the attacks.
9 March 2019
Time for open dialogue about the "Omar furor"
Recent comments from Junior Congresswoman Omar have been followed closely by speculations about, debates around, defenses of, and criticisms of these comments. Everybody is talking, but it doesn’t seem as though they are talking with each other – at least as much as they should. Aziza Hasan weighs in with comments featured in The Huffington Post, WRAL, The Independent, and Cecil Daily, among other outlets.
7 March 2019
Aziza Hasan talks dialogue
with the atlantic
NewGround executive director Aziza Hasan recently spoke with The Atlantic‘s Emma Green about partisanship, dialogue, and our inclinations toward and against giving one another the benefit of the doubt. You can read the full article, titled “The Fight over Ilhan Omar is a Fight over the Democratic Party” by following the link.
1 March 2019
Rabbi Firestone to give Scholar-in-Residence Lecture at Temple Har Shalom
After the horrific events at Tree of Life Synagogue last Fall, the Park City Muslim community raised over $240,000 for the victim’s families. One Temple in the area – Temple Har Shalom – seeks to address this.
Long-time NewGround friend and 2019 NewGround Trailblazer Rabbi Reuven Firestone, who holds the Regenstein Chair in Medieval Judaism and Islamic Studies at Hebrew Union College, is slated to give the Temple’s annual scholar-in-residence lecture this year. He aims to focus his talk on Islam and democracy.
A recent Park Record article reads: “Firestone, who has authored more than 10 books on Muslim and Jewish relations, was recently named as a New[G]round honoree for his work in Muslim-Jewish relations. New[G]round, a nonprofit, works to replace suspicions surrounding Muslims and Jews with trust and partnership, according to its mission statement.”
31 December 2018
PBS NewsHour: Broadcast feature on Halim Dhanidina Released
On December 30, 2018, PBS NewsHour aired special correspondent David Tereshchuk’s feature on Los Angeles Justice and NewGround board member Halim Dhanidina. Composed in part by David’s interview with Halim, and in other part by footage from NewGround’s recent Spotlight Storytelling event, the feature addresses the mixed responses that come with being the highest-ranking Muslim judge in the current United States, as well as the importance of diversity, interfaith work, and social understanding between Los Angeles communities.
You can also watch the whole feature, with full transcripts provided, on the PBS NewsHour website. NewGround is proud to be supported by board members who consistently seek to better our city of Los Angeles.
18 December 2018
PBS NewsHouR: A "Spotlight" on NewGround's Halim Dhanidina
NewGround board member Halim Dhanidina grew up in Southern California, attending Pomona College and UCLA, where, years later, he would become the state’s first ever Muslim judge. Just this year, he was appointed to the state Court of Appeal, making him the assumed highest-ranking judge in the country.
PBS NewsHour Weekend reunited with Judge Dhanidina this Fall at NewGround’s Spotlight Storytelling event to talk sectarian rhetoric and pluralism. You can access the full article here.
21 November 2018
"NewGround Shares Muslim & Jewish Stories"
This year, our Spotlight Storytelling event tackled themes of risk.
Written by NewGround alum and Jewish Journal staff writer Ryan Torok, this piece is perfect for those who were unable to join us this year for our annual Spotlight storytelling event, held at the IMAN Cultural Center in West L.A. Read about the tales shared by our storytellers, which range from transitioning between Buenos Aires and the United States, to disagreements over LGBTQ+ identity in Israel and the Middle East.
25 October 2018
Unconcerned about Voting? let's have a talk.
In her latest op-ed for the Sacramento Bee, Aziza recalls the foundational practices upon which NewGround was constructed with the full knowledge that their catalysts can still be readily seen today around the issue of voter engagement.
“We wanted to persuade people to do something out of the ordinary, something that felt awkward – even frightening. Our whole process was based on the willingness to wrestle with discomfort. How could we make them believe there was value in that?”
The answer to this question was direct conversation. Each and every concerned individual had to have their concerns and frustrations addressed “head-on,” for as Aziza puts it, “there is no substitute for one-on-one conversation.” You can read the full article here, and you can find Aziza’s contributions to the Bee‘s Influencer series here.
23 October 2018
NEWGROUND'S busy week
Aziza Hasan, our Executive Director, has been busy these past few weeks representing NewGround as a key partner in creating change in Los Angeles. On October 12th, Aziza attended Mayor Eric Garcetti‘s Second Annual State of Women & Girls Address this morning.
Additionally, on October 10th, Aziza gave an inspiring invocation to 540 attendees at the 32nd Productivity and Quality Awards for Los Angeles County supporting Innovating for Impact! We are proud to be a part of this event, honoring the many amazing LA County departments doing vital work to improve the lives of so many.
Finally, NewGround was present at the Islamic Center of Southern California‘s Open Mosque Day this year. Aziza was asked to speak on the tools needed to have difficult conversations; her remarks were part of a larger program around getting people energized and drawing us out into conversations and greater civic engagement. The day was organized by the Islamic Center of Southern California and the Guibord Center: Turning Religion Inside Out.
10 October 2018
Aziza Hasan and Gavin Newsom Share the Stage in Baldwin Park
Last Sunday, executive director Aziza Hasan spoke before Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom at a town hall in Baldwin Park City. The event was attended by Congresswomen Rep. Grace F. Napolitano, members from LA Voice, Pico California Leaders, and Baldwin Park City Council, among others.
Introduced by Umar Hakim, NewGround alum and the current board chair of LA Voice, Aziza decidedly grounded the event in faith and justice. She spoke of the many Muslims who fast on Ashura to commemorate the safe passage of Moses and the Israelites from the oppressive tyranny of the Pharaoh, and she emphasized our need to walk alongside each other and see the suffering of the other in order to approach difficult conversations with compassion.
NewGround’s Aziza Hasan and Brie Loskota in Haaretz
“Taking a Chance, Finding Friendship.”
Executive Director Aziza Hasan on California Issues
Jewish Journal on NewGround’s Annual Community Iftar
NewGround Featured in Associated Press Discussion on U.S. Jews and Muslims
Executive Director Aziza Hasan on “White Anxiety” at the Museum of Tolerance
Executive Director Aziza Hasan Featured on Yahoo News & Ozy
NewGround Named a Top Innovative Organization by Slingshot
KPCC and Sinai Temple Feature NewGround Day School Exchange Program
Sinai Temple celebrated the success of the Day School Exchange program in a video that quickly went viral, with over 22,000 views and counting!
Over sixty 7th and 8th graders attending Muslim (New Horizon) and Jewish (Sinai Akiba Academy) schools learned about the other faith community through more than a text book this year. With the help of NewGround, these schools integrated visits to each other’s campuses to learn firsthand about the practices and practitioners of Islam and Judaism. Click here to learn more about the program.
Awards, Accolades & Awesomeness
In 2013, NewGround was named the “2013 Faith-based Organization of the Year” by Governor Brown of California. The honor is awarded to an outstanding faith-based organization that actively engages volunteers in addressing community needs. There ceremony honoring NewGround was held at the State Capitol in Sacramento and was led by California Volunteers.
Haaretz Features NewGround
Even in the easygoing, laid-back environment of modern-day Los Angeles, bringing Muslims and Jews together to talk about the Arab-Israeli conflict is viewed as playing with fire. For decades, “the Muslim-Jewish dialogue that existed in L.A. only took place at the leadership level, among a handful of left-leaning Muslim and Jewish leaders,” recalls Edina Lekovic, policy and programming director for the Muslim Public Affairs Council. When it happened, the conversation would usually stick to religion and stay away from politics. “And then, anytime there was a political conflict overseas it would derail whatever was happening.
We Were Speaking of Faith
Telling Our Stories with Story Corps
listen to our broadcasts on public radio and the web.” The website telling NewGround’s story can be found here.
Catch Us On the Road
Previously, Newground Co-facilitators Malka Fenyvesi & Aziza Hasan were busy discussing NewGround’s important work at the Interfaith Youth Core Annual Conference Leadership for a Relgiously Diverse World and J Street’s 1st Annual Conference Driving Change, Securing Peace in 2009.
At the IFYC conference, Malka Fenyvesi & Aziza Hasan led a timely workshop titled “Wrestling with the Elephant: Crafting Constructive Conversations about the Israeli Palestinian Conflict.” click here to read what Aziza wrote about their time w/IFYC
At J Street 2009 Conference, Malka Fenyvesi participated in a panel discussion titled “How We Stop Talking to Ourselves: Innovative Ways to Broaden the Conversation.” click here to read more about the discussion