Category Archives: Muslim-Jewish

Positive connections

Bikur Ha-Tizmoret (The Band’s Visit, 2007, Israel)

The Band’s VisitI enjoy cross cultural movies with positive images. Particularly if they are set in Israel or show Jewish-Arab/Muslim/Palestinian relations. This was not the only reason I enjoyed The Band’s Visit, but it was a big part of it. Every time I see/read something like this I hope that the forces of good increases on all sides. By good I mean those who respect the human being in the other no matter what the differences are in race, religion, age, or lifestyle. This movie (IMDB) combined the best of these.

The story is straightforward: an Egyptian police orchestra gets lost in Israel for a day, when they come to play at the inauguration of a new Arab cultural center. They accidentally end up in the bleak desert town of Bet Hatikvah instead of bustling Petah Tikvah. There the locals help them out and put them up for the night. Most of the movie shows the bright blue uniformed Egyptians interacting with the locals, who all have their own problems. Continue reading

The Mellah of Marrakesh

Book coverAllAfrica.com ran a review of Emily Gottreich’s book: The Mellah of Marrakesh: Jewish And Muslim Space in Morocco’s Red City. They pretty much lifted the description from Amazon.com that starts with, “weaving together threads from Jewish history and Islamic urban studies, The Mellah of Marrakesh situates the history of what was once the largest Jewish quarter in the Arab world in its proper historical and geographical contexts.” The book was published by the Indiana University Press last year. The official description ends this way, “how local Jews and Muslims, as well as resident Europeans lived the big political, economic, and social changes of the pre- and early colonial periods is reconstructed in Emily Gottreich’s vivid narrative.”

Film Collaboration

Sandi DuBowski, the producer and director of Trembling before G-d, a movie about orthodox Jewish homosexuals, has been producing a new film, for the past 5 1/2 years on Islam and homosexuality with Muslim gay filmmaker Parvez Sharma. DuBowski writes,

This Muslim-Jewish collaboration has been an incredible and challenging journey – and I hope you feel compelled by our vision and how far we have to come to support us towards completion.

(The new movie is referred to in the article as Jihad for Love, while at imdb.com it shows up as Islam, my Love.)

WUSTL Dialogue Group

Pamela Barmash is a professor at the Washington University in St Louis. She is also the 17th woman rabbi ordained in the Conservative movement. She is also an author, her first book is about Homicide in the Biblical world. But he erason she is mentioned here is because, “In 2002, Barmash and a group of students launched the Muslim-Jewish Dialogue Group. Members now facilitate similar dialogue groups for Jewish and Muslim students in community high schools.” You can read more about her at the University’s site.

European Conference on Jewish-Muslim Dialogue

The only place where I read about the “European Conference on Jewish-Muslim Dialogue” held in Brussels last week was Ekklesia, a Christian News service.

[The event] welcomed seventy Jews and Muslims from Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, the UK and France who are involved in or interested in dialogue at a community level. Organisations represented included the European Muslim Network, the International Council of Jewish Women (ICJW) and Islamic Relief.

The article provides a brief interview of the event, including the organizations involved, the names of the speakers and their topics.
As CEJI Director Robin Sclafani explained, Jewish-Muslim dialogue initiatives are valuable not only for creating respect and understanding between communities but also as “a source of inspiration for intercultural relations as a whole and a demonstration of solidarity in the fight against all forms of racism”.

Project TRIUMPH

YourHub.co’s Simi Valley section covers Project TRIUMPH’s program. The Daily News has a longer summary of how it went this year,i ncluding quotes from the participants. You can also watch three videos related to the event on YouTube. And in case you are wondering what I am talking about:

Project TRIUMPH is a grassroots effort to bring Arab and Jewish teenagers together in the spirit of collaboration to build a shared vision for a peaceful future. Already in its 2nd year, this intensive 12-month program guides young leaders in achieving understanding, respect, fellowship, and coexistance in their region of the world.

Photo-Art Exhibition

The East London Advertiser brought me the news that Gitl Braun, an Orthodox Jewish woman artist staged her own one-woman photo-art exhibition, in London’s East End, in the Jagonari Women’s centre. (Open from May 8 to June 1.) It is titled ‘Eve’s Daughters’ and brings together the Orthodox Jews of Stamford Hill with the East End’s first-generation Muslims. The article says that, “what [these communities] have in common is women struggling to break free from restraints of their religious cultures.” The artist however talks about “bringing people together, focusing on similarities… Women share some experiences behind a mask of culture. But we all have ‘human’ experiences.”

Gitle Braun

In Honor of Khaled Abdelwahhab

From Voice of America: The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles has honored an Arab Muslim who saved Tunisian Jews from Nazi persecution. In the Tunisian town of Mahdia an Arab man named Khaled Abdelwahhab decided to help the Boukris and other Jewish families who were hiding at an olive-press. He ferried 24 people back and forth in his car to a farm that he owned 20 kilometers away. His daughter said at the ceremony:

Today, as a daughter of Khaled Abdelwahhab, I extend my hand as a sincere and truthful bridge to my Jewish brothers and sisters. Together, we can open space for dialogue and encounter between our peoples.

Helping Fire Victims

These two unrelated items landed on my screen on the same day.

From the Arab American News:

On April 3, someone set off an explosive device outside the Ben Weider Jewish Community Centre in Montreal. Fortunately, there were no damages or injuries. The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) denounced the attack and called on anyone with information to contact the police.

From News Blaze:

When the mosque serving the Islamic Society of Schuylkill County in Pennsylvania was damaged by fire April 11, Muslim families immediately were offered a space for prayer services by the Jewish community in the nearby town of Pottsville.

Now this is what I call being good neighbors. Of course I would have preferred if reaching out would have happened under better circumstances.

Muhammad Movie at Passover

I read about this event in The Weekly of Gwinnett County in Georgia.

Inspired by a challenge from Oglethorpe University‘s president, Lawrence M. Schall, students have created three faith-based student organizations in six months. And this first Jewish president in the institution’s 170 year-old history was asked by student leaders to act as campus advisor in the newly formed Muslim Student Association.

The university has 1000 students. At the first joint event of the newly (re-)created Jewish, Catholic and Muslim student associations 70 people “gathered to share traditional Passover dishes and watch the movie Muhammad: The Legacy of a Prophet.”

Quite inspiring.