In the News

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. 

Aziza took lead on one of the afternoon’s special programs alongside Jason Chu, during which they helped the audience reframe their statements to remove the sting that may accompany them.
Above: Aziza speaking at the 32nd Productivity and Quality Awards
Above: The 2nd Annual State of Women & Girls Address

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.

5 September 2018

NewGround’s Aziza Hasan and Brie Loskota in Haaretz

The NewGround mission is unique in that it exclusively works to foster relationships and dialogue between various different parties, whether they be communities or individuals,  across Los Angeles Muslim and Jewish communities. In the recently published “U.S. Muslims Increasingly Harassed for Working With Jewish Groups, Activists Say,” Haaretz reporter Debra Nussbaum-Cohen speaks with NewGround executive director Aziza Hasan and board member Brie Loskota on addressing issues of contention among communities and groups and moving forward in spite of the difficulties that they bring with them. Read Aziza and Brie’s full comments on the state of dialogue between communities on haaretz.com.
28 July 2018

“Taking a Chance, Finding Friendship.”

Each year, NewGround is proud to manage two programming initiatives: our professional fellowship and our high school leadership council. This past year, one of our fellows wrote an op-ed detailing one of the many risks taken over the course of the program. Published by the Jewish Journal, his piece describes the development of his relationship with a Palestinian fellow Change-maker. You can read Rabbi Zachary Zysman’s article in full here. If you want to hear more stories involving risk, you can read about our Spotlight 2018 storytelling event here.
11 June 2018

Executive Director Aziza Hasan on California Issues

The Sacramento Bee, reporting on Californians who do not show up at the polls on Voting Day, turned to community experts for answers as part of a series on “California Influencers.” NewGround executive director Aziza Hasan, named a California Influencer herself, recommends an emphasis on further voter engagement and relationship building in increasing turnout. Read the full article here, Aziza’s comments on California’s changing economy here, and the Bee’s list of Influencers here.
8 June 2018

Jewish Journal on NewGround’s Annual Community Iftar

On May 31, 2018, NewGround hosted its largest Iftar to date. The Jewish Journal covered the different elements of the event program in an article on “Movers & Shakers,” a series written by NewGround fellowship alum Ryan Torok. Read to find out more about how we opened the evening! Pictured above are NewGround board members Edina Lekovic (left) and Rabbi Susan Goldberg (right) at the Wilshire Boulevard Temple.
16 May 2018

NewGround Featured in Associated Press Discussion on U.S. Jews and Muslims

In following the U.S.-Israel Embassy move to Jerusalem, the Associated Press opens an article on Muslim-Jewish relations in the United States with a conversation with NewGround executive director Aziza Hasan. This article has been featured on the Washington Post, WLNS, and the Times of Israel, among other outlets.
10 May 2018

Executive Director Aziza Hasan on “White Anxiety” at the Museum of Tolerance

NewGround executive director Aziza Hasan speaks at the Museum of Tolerance in April as part of a discussion on “White Anxiety,” the fourth installment in Katie Couric’s America Inside Out. The event was held at the Museum of Tolerance and covered by the Jewish Journal.
27 December 2015

Executive Director Aziza Hasan Featured on Yahoo News & Ozy

Yahoo News and Ozy publishes  a profile of NewGround Executive Director Aziza Hasan and highlight her work. In addition to providing background on Aziza’s history with interfaith work, both articles highlight Aziza’s skill of building interfaith coalitions, specifically between Muslims and Jews at NewGround.

NewGround Named a Top Innovative Organization by Slingshot

NewGround has been named one of America’s top fifty innovative Jewish organizations for the third consecutive year by Slingshot. We are so honored to have been included in this trailblazing community of Jewish organizations, and would like to extend our deepest gratitude to all of our supporters. We are is especially proud of our fellowship and High School initiatives, were cited as a means of producing “emerging leaders who forge change.” NewGround is excited to continue working toward sustaining the future of Jewish life and engagement, motivating new audiences to participate in their work, and responding to the needs of individuals and communities.
17 February 2016

KPCC and Sinai Temple Feature NewGround Day School Exchange Program

An article entitled “2 schools hope to break down stereotypes” weaves the story of the founding of the Jewish-Muslim Day School Exchange program by NewGround Change-Makers Aysha Mehdi and Rebecca Berger.
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.
17 February 2016

Upworthy Features NewGround

Change-Makers in the News

See how #‎72Virgins and #‎2Faiths1Prayer are touching people all across LA & around the world!

Awards, Accolades & Awesomeness

NewGround Receives “Inter-Faith Leadership Award” From the Valley Inter-Faith Council On May 6th, 2010, 300 community leaders and activists gathered at the Valley Interfaith Council’s annual awards dinner where NewGround was given the “Inter-Faith Leadership Award.” Respected for their great work in the community, VIC audience members included a whole range of Los Angeles City Council members, interfaith leaders, and congressional staffers.
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.

NewGround Awarded Prestigious Grant

Haaretz Features NewGround

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz features NewGround in a story of what collaboration looks like between Muslims and Jews above and beyond Israeli-Palestinian politics.  The article is titled “The new Jews of L.A.: A Muslim-Jewish partnership breaks new ground in Los Angeles.”
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.
Read more…

We Were Speaking of Faith

NewGround featured on “Speaking of Faith” with Krista Tippett. DESCRIPTION: Curiosity Over Assumptions – Inter-Religiosity Meets a New Generation This week, Speaking of Faith shines a light on the friendship and shared passion of two young activists, Jewish and Muslim, who are part of a new generation of inter-religious encounter. Together these young women are implementing templates of practical relationship that value curiosity over assumptions and understand conflict as part of any relationship. Krista Tippett explores what they are learning from their work in the microcosm of Los Angeles – and the larger universe of risky innovation of which they are part.

Telling Our Stories with Story Corps

NewGround folks participated in a project called Story Corps, where “over 50,000 people have shared life stories with family and friends…Each conversation is recorded on a free CD to share, and is preserved at the Library of Congress. StoryCorps is one of the largest oral history projects of its kind, and millions
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

Sarah Bassin and Aziza Hasan presented innovative models for interfaith engagement with a paper titled “Making the Personal Public” at the 2013 Doha International Center for Interfaith Dialogue Conference in Doha, Qatar. Edina Lekovic spoke about NewGround at the 2011 J Street Conference in Washington, DC. http://conference.jstreet.org/Working_Together_American_Jewish_and_Muslim_Communities

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

NewGround in the News