In the News

21 October 2023

Aziza & Andrea featured
in the New York Times

Kurt Streeter of the New York Times wrote an in-depth profile of Aziza Hasan & Andrea Hodos, their friendship, and how that friendship has been tested in the recent crisis in Gaza and Israel. 

You can read the full article here

14 May 2024

Spectrum News journalist Zarina Khairzada profiled our programs director Tasneem Noor and associate director Andrea Hodos on the work they’ve done this year to reinvent our fellowship program to directly approach conversations on Israel Palestine, anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim bias, and the crisis in Gaza. 

You can watch the video feature here

10 May 2024

LA Times reporter Thomas Curwen interviewed several local Jewish leaders for their perspectives on the campus protests, including Rabbi Sharon Brous, Professor David Myers, and our associate director Andrea Hodos. Andrea pointed out that when we look at antisemitism separately from Islamophobia, rather than as connected phenomena, we make both our communities less safe. 

You can read the full article here

24 April 2024

Our recent Trailblazer honoree Zohreen Shah wrote about various iftar meals she attended throughout Los Angeles this year, including one hosted by NewGround board member Adam Fakhri. She wrote of her experience: “We went around the table, Muslims and Jews together sharing emotional stories about people of both cultures who had affected their lives. There was zero judgment – only kindness and understanding among strangers, and respect that everyone wanted the same thing.”

You can read the full article here

16 April 2024

NewGround staff member Ben Ginsburg spoke on the podcast “Commentaries from the Edge” with host Keren Goldberg about NewGround’s work over time, and how we’ve shifted our programming to meet this moment. You can listen to the conversation on Apple Podcasts or Spotify

23 February 2024

Our executive director Aziza Hasan was interviewed for an excellent story in Moment Magazine covering the history of Muslim-Jewish relations in the US and how those relationships have been strained in the past few months. The piece by Tom Gjelten is able to hold multiple perspectives at once, and treats them all with compassion and honesty. We strongly encourage you to read it and share it widely.

You can read the full article here

27 December 2023

We were privileged to sit down with Liz Kreutz of NBC News for a conversation on the war in Gaza and Israel, as well as how our communities are struggling to talk about it. Our panelists were Aziza Hasan, Andrea Hodos, Sumaya Abubaker, and Rabbi Tova Leibovic-Douglas. We know you want NewGround to be more visible and vocal in creating space for hard conversations and transformative conflict. Moving forward, we are committed to modeling hard conversations in private AND in public.

You can watch the conversation here

3 December 2023

Our associate director Andrea Hodos was quoted in this piece for the Associated Press, which highlighted our friends at the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom. 

You can read the full article here

8 November 2023

Amir Abdullah and Shaina Curtis profiled for Christian Science Monitor

NewGround board member Amir Abdullah and his wife Shaina Curtis were one of many Muslim-Jewish couples interviewed for a beautiful piece in the Christian Science Monitor, published today.

You can read the full article here

2 November 2023

Voice of America covers
UCLA Vigil for Peace

On Nov 1, Prof. David Myers convened a Vigil for Peace at UCLA. NewGround staff and several alumni were in attendance, and Aziza was briefly interviewed by Voice of America.

Check out the full story here.

27 October 2023

Aziza profiled in the Forward

Aziza’s recent work convening religious leaders in the LA area was featured last week in The Forward in an article by Louis Keene.

You can read the full article here

25 October 2023

Tasneem & Shachar interviewed
for Greater LA on KCRW

Programs director Tasneem Noor and former MAJIC facilitator Shachar Cohen-Hodos spoke with Steve Chiotakis of KCRW to talk about concrete strategies for having empathetic and challenging conversations about the current crisis in Israel and Gaza.

You can listen to the full podcast here

22 October 2023

Andrea & Tasneem Interviewed
for PBS News weekend

Our fellowship facilitators, Andrea Hodos & Tasneem Noor, were interviewed for a story on PBS News Weekend about how Muslim and Jewish faith groups are coming together.

You can watch the full story here

18 October 2023

Ben Ginsburg speaks with LPM

NewGround communications and operations coordinator Ben Ginsburg was interviewed for a story from Louisville Public Media about the importance of engaging our empathy and our resilience as we grapple with the news in Israel Palestine.

You can read the full article here

15 October 2023

NewGround and the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom on "All Things Considered"

NPR’s “All Things Considered” featured an extended conversation with our executive director Aziza Hasan and Alyson Freedman from the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom on how each of our organizations are talking about the crisis in Gaza and Israel.  

Click here to listen to the full conversation with Aziza and Aly.


14 October 2023

aziza Hasan speaks to the la times

NewGround’s Executive Director Aziza Hasan was interviewed for this piece in the Los Angeles Times, published this Saturday. This is an especially important piece for understanding the many different, sometimes disparate ways that leaders in our communities are processing the pain of this moment.

You can read Aziza’s comments here, along with those of many other Jewish and Palestinian leaders in LA.

12 October 2023

NewGround on "All things considered"

Our executive director Aziza Hasan and associate director Andrea Hodos spoke with NPR’s “All Things Considered” as part of a story on “How the Muslim-Jewish interfaith movement is navigating” the current crisis in Israel and Gaza.  

You can listen to the full story here

1 June 2021

NewGround on the Radio

In the midst of recent spikes in tension and violence, our own Aziza Hasan and Ben Ginsburg visited our local NPR and KPCC stations to highlight the challenges being faced by our community during this time. “Right now, I’m in a world of pain,” Aziza said on NPR’s Morning Edition, “[a]nd it’s people reaching out to me, and me reaching out to people, that helps us figure out what we can do together.” 

You can listen to Aziza’s NPR interview here, and Ben’s KPCC AirTalk segment here.

May 20, 2021

NewGround speaks to the Forward

NewGround staff spoke recently with The Forward about the challenges we’ve experienced as we connect with our community and grapple with what to say in public. As our own Ben Ginsburg told The Forward, there is difficulty in the fact that “there’s no distance yet. The pain is very real and very raw.”

It’s “the personal touch of pulling people back in” that’s important, Aziza Hasan notes. “Our policy is to pick up the phone if we know the person will engage one on one.’”

Read Aziza, Andrea, and Ben’s comments to The Forward here.

14 May 2021

AP Coverage: "Interfaith Efforts Strained by Israel-Palestine Violence"

Our Executive Director, Aziza Hasan, and Assistant Director, Andrea Hodos, spoke to the Associated Press this past week about the ongoing violence taking place in Israel-Palestine. “We do not know the immediate path through this,” Aziza says, “but we are certain that until we humanize one another, there won’t be a path at all.”

Read the newly published article on the Associate Press site now.

15 May 2020

Our Iftar and Our family in the News

Two weeks ago, NewGround held its first ever virtual Community Iftar, streamed on Facebook Live. Among those of you who tuned in were our friends at the Los Angeles Times, Voice of America, the Forward, and ABC News, who have recently released coverage of the evening for all to enjoy. Read, watch, share, and soak in the familiar faces!

1 April 2020

Community Leaders share reflections on passover during a pandemic

NewGround associate director Andrea Hodos, alongside fellow community leaders, was invited to reflect on how the themes of Passover shed light on this time:

“We are in a long night now. Like the Israelites, we must accustom our eyes and hearts to the dark, turn to the slivers of light to help us remain resilient, responsive and ready to move forward.”

The article was compiled by NewGround friend Esther Kustanowitz. Read it, and the rest of Andrea’s thoughts, on the Jewish Journal.

13 February 2020

Transcendients at the japanese american national museum: community celebration annoucement

Taiji Terasaki comes to Los Angeles! His Transcendients: Heroes at Borders is a chance to learn about, reflect on, and celebrate heroes in L.A. and within their own lives. This exhibit is on display at the Japanese American National Museum, and includes our own Aziza, alongside advisory board member Rabbi Susan Goldberg. There will be a free-attendance Community Celebration of the exhibit’s heroes on March 7, 2020. Learn more from Broadway World‘s coverage of the exhibit as well as the Facebook event page itself.


10 October 2019

"The FIght to Vote" and Voter SUPPRESSION

Brave New Films’s Suppression: The Right to Vote premiered on October 3rd at L.A.’s First AME Church. Supplementing the premiere was a panel discussion on voter suppression in the U.S. The panel included NewGround‘s Aziza Hasan, Laura Herrera, of the Los Angeles County Clerk’s office, David Hernandez of Churches in Action, and First AME’s own Pastor J. Edgar Boyd. Learn more from the L.A. Sentinel’s coverage of the event.

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. 

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
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.

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