Change-maker Story: Soraya Ahyaudin

Change-maker Story: Soraya Ahyaudin

I was at the post office with a package that I was going to mail to Malaysia. When I placed it on the counter, the person assisting me said,

“Is it gonna go boom?” 


“Is it gonna go boom?”

“No, it’s not gonna go boom.”

“Well, you never know who’s a terrorist these days.”

In that moment, I felt completely alone despite there being many people around me. I felt small and I wanted to run and hide. I picked up my package and walked out feeling fragile, hyper-sensitive, and in shock.

That night, I attended NewGround’s Women’s Text Study Salon at Temple Israel of Hollywood. I had decided not to tell the group what had happened, but during the closing I found myself doing so anyway. The women… acknowledged my pain and listened as I tried to make sense of what had happened. Their embrace helped me feel a connection I had been missing that day. The cold anxiety and despair started to evaporate.  

NewGround gave me exactly what I needed that night: the opportunity to be fully seen and listened to; relationships that give me strength; women who are there for me and inspire me to be there for others. 

We have so much work to do as Muslims and Jews… NewGround has taught me that fear and isolation does not need to be the only way to respond to differences. The better choice is to work through the challenges, stand up for one another, and build stronger relationships.

Change-maker Story: Roxanne Houman

Change-maker Story: Roxanne Houman

“Throughout my life, I was told “to be wary of Muslims.” I became a NewGround fellow to expand my perspective. 

One of the Muslim fellows from my cohort shared that she commonly heard, “to be wary of the Jews”. We realized we were taught the same prejudice with one word changed: Muslims and Jews. 

NewGround was able to break down our barriers through the relationships we made. These relationships raised the stakes for me.  When someone says something Islamophobic, rather than remaining silent, I feel driven to say something.

I really believe that as Muslim and Jewish Change-Makers, we are healing burned bridges. Those before us have either burned a bridge or said nothing while the damage was being done. But now, through NewGround, we are working to repair bridges on both sides.”

Roxy, 2017-18 Professional Fellow

MAJIC Testimonial: Mika

MAJICian 2015 Testimonial: Mika Aly

MAJICian Mariam (Mika) Aly shares her reflection on her MAJIC experience throughout the year at the MAJIC 2015 Graduation Celebration held at the Wilshire Blvd. Temple on May 17, 2015.

NewGround Recognition: Nirinjan Khalsa

MAJIC 2015 Graduation: Nirinjan Khalsa

Watch Mr. Nirinjan Khalsa, the President of the City of Los Angeles Human Relations Commission, recognize our MAJICians. He shared words of wisdom with our graduates reminding us of the power of choosing compassion over anger, wisdom over ignorance, love over hate, and hope over fear. Mr. Khalsa also awarded certificates of recognition to the graduates, marking the completion of their MAJIC experience.

MAJIC Testimonial: Jake

MAJICian 2015 Testimonial: Jake Shulman

Jack Stone improvises and delivers a speech on behalf of Jacob (Jake) Shulman about Jake’s MAJIC experience at the MAJIC 2015 Graduation Celebration held at the Wilshire Blvd. Temple on May 17, 2015.

Change-Maker Story: Tova

NewGround Change-Maker Reflection: Tova Leibovic Douglas ’14 -Recent Graduate of NewGround Young Professionals Fellowship, Tova Leibovic Douglas, reflects on experience of becoming a change-maker at annual iftar 2014.

NewGround Fellowship

NewGround 2013 Young Professionals Fellowship

Change-Maker Story: Sultan

NewGround Change-Maker Reflection: Sultan Sharrief ’14

-Recent Graduate of NewGround Young Professionals Fellowship, Sultan Sharief, reflects on experience of becoming a change-maker at annual iftar 2014.