Aziza Hasan, named an influencer by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, is the executive director of NewGround. She has extensive experience in program management and coalition building. An experienced mediator and conflict transformation practitioner, she has co-facilitated multiple groups. Aziza’s work has been featured on National Public Radio, Yahoo News, MSN, “Speaking of Faith” with Krista Tippett, the United States Institute for Peace, Arabic Radio and Television, the Forward, and the LA Times. Her two years of AmeriCorps service gave her hands-on experience in community organizing and group problem-solving. She earned the “President’s Volunteer Service Award” in 2006 under President George W. Bush. Aziza served on President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships from 2015-2016. Aziza currently serves on the Los Angeles Civil and Human Rights Commission.
Some of her writing includes “The Power of Relationships and Personal Story in Transforming Community” in the Journal of Inter-Religious Studies of the Harvard Pluralism Project (2015); co-author of “Interfaith Curriculum for Peacemaking” (August 2012); co-author of “Standing Together: Interfaith Dialogue Curriculum for Muslims and Christians” (2010); “Ineffective & Unjust: Fixing our Nation’s Broken Immigration System” (November 2010); co-author of “Abusing Women, Abusing Islam; Re-Examining Sharia Court Rulings in Contemporary Times” (2009); “More Alike Than Different”, Inter-Faith Ministries Kansas (1999).
MAJIC Alumni Facilitator, social media & web specialist
Maya is currently a fourth-year at UCLA, studying genetics and neuropsychiatry. She is a graduate and former Associated Student Body President of Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles, CA. In 2019, Maya joined Newground’s Muslims and Jews Inspiring Change Youth Leadership Council (MAJIC) and organized a blood drive with her cohort mates that focused on COVID relief. Now she acts as the NewGround MAJIC Alumni Facilitator and Social Media and Website Specialist.
Maya is the President of Activism Through Policy at UCLA, the Chair of Philanthropy and Outreach for the Institute of Neuro Innovation at UCLA, and is a mentor with the UCLA Academic Supports Program. Her past projects include: advocating for homelessness prevention at the United States Capitol, volunteering with Friends In Deed, a shelter for people experiencing homelessness, and tutoring elementary students through Reading Partners. Among many skills and interests, Maya Al-Mansour Matthews is a proud, nationally ranked debater and an avid lover (and player) of basketball (Go Lakers!).
Stacie Chaiken facilitates group-process workshops in which NewGround Fellows and Friends of NewGround develop compelling stories for Iftar and Spotlight events. Stacie’s solo plays include The Dig, Genesis + the double helix (2017 Los Angeles Stage Raw Theatre Award), What She Left, and Looking for Louie. Formerly on the performance faculty of USC’s School of of Dramatic Arts and NYC’s Circle Repertory Company, Stacie runs an LA-based workshop for writers and performers called What’s the Story? and teaches Master Classes on creating powerful stuff based on personal material.
Stacie’s work has received the generous support of the Wallis Annenberg Helix Project, the Center for Cultural Innovation, the Durfee Foundation; the Fulbright Foundation; University of Southern California Visions & Voices program; the California Arts Council; the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs; the USC Arts Initiative; the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture; the Center for Jewish Culture and Creativity; and the Hebrew Union College Artist in Residency program.
Communications & Operations Coordinator
Influenced by the faith-rooted community organizing of her childhood, Shachar studied Human Rights at Columbia University and Biblical Literature at the Jewish Theological Seminary, receiving her B.A.’s in 2019. She was in the inaugural cohort of MAJIC (2012-13) and sat on the advisory board during high school. During college, Shachar mobilized Columbia University’s Jewish students to link their religious and political values. She spent her summers exploring her political passions, including organizing with UniteHere and Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice, to foster support for the fair treatment of Santa Monica hotel workers. She is a 2020 alum of the Coro Fellowship in Public Policy in New York where she cultivated her facilitation skills and strengthened her resolve that sustainable social change comes through building deep relationships.
Andrea Hodos is the associate director of NewGround: a Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change. She has co-facilitated NewGround’s flagship Professional Fellowship since 2016. Andrea has trained as a facilitator with Resetting the Table through its partnership with the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles. She has been a fellow with the Jews of Color & Allies Leadership cohort from Dimension Educational Consulting and Leading from Within’s Courage to Lead program. Andrea is also the creator of Moving Torah, a method for exploring Jewish text and Jewish stories using movement, theater, and writing. Her creative project, Sinai and Sunna: Women Covering, Uncovering and Recovering, initially brought her into the realm of Muslim-Jewish engagement.
Programs Director & majic facilitator
Tasneem Farah Noor is the award-winning author of the best-seller The Faith Connection: Your Journey Starts with Knowing Yourself. Tasneem is the founder of Noor Enterprises: SOULful Transformations—committed to providing transformational experiences, personal development, and opportunities for meaningful dialogue. Her mission is to establish thriving, peaceful communities where conversations of faith build bridges of compassion and collaboration. Through coaching, trainings, and facilitation she helps people learn how to deepen their faith (self-trust), authentically express themselves, and take courageous action.
Tasneem received her Masters in Education in Student Affairs from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). For over seven years, Tasneem worked within student affairs on campuses including Santa Monica College, UCLA, and Cal State University, Los Angeles. The Inter-religious Council of Los Angeles recognized Tasneem as an emerging faith leader. She is now serving as the Interfaith Minister-in-Residence with the Southern CA Diocese. As a proud NewGround alumna herself, she is honored to actively support NewGround’s mission.
Leah Julian is studying to be a rabbi at the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles, CA. Originally from a small Jewish community in Davis, CA, Leah learned from a young age the importance of intercultural and interfaith solidarity in vuilding strong and resilient communities. Throughout her life Leah has been involved in interfaith pursuits and is excited to continue this important and transformative work through the NewGround Professionals Fellowship. When not studying or pursuing Tikkun Olam, Leah can be found singing, crafting, or playing outdoors.