Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum

The Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum is a platform for upholding the rights of Jewish and Muslim people in the nation's capital and the world.

The Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum (GWMJF) sprang out of a desire of Jewish and Muslim leaders in the United States for deeper connection and solidarity between members of the two communities. The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU) convened a meeting of local Muslim and Jewish leaders in late January 2014 to materialize this vision, to great receptivity.

Today, the GWMJF focuses its efforts on three main areas of involvement:

(1) Standing up for Each Other
This sub-committee acts to ensure that Washington, DC area Jewish and Muslim communities stand together in public solidarity if either community is victimized by hate crimes or incitement. This includes, but is not limited to, issuing statements, holding press conferences, and protesting in response to incidents in which either the Muslim or Jewish community is wrongfully maligned or subject to discriminatory actions. Neither community should feel alone and vulnerable any longer.

(2) Educating Ourselves about Each Other
Jewish and Muslim people must educate each other about their religion, culture(s), and communities—including our respective holy books, rituals, customs, and lifestyles–if we are to effectively counter Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in the larger community and also within our respective communities. To accomplish this, our Education sub-committee organizes public events involving rabbis, imams, academicians, theologians, and other experts on Islam and Judaism and the two communities. We focus on both the commonalities and differences between our faith traditions and how we can capitalize on our diversity to achieve impactful change in the world.

(3) Organizing Cultural, Social Service and Festive Events
Our Social Service sub-committee focuses on organizing local and regional events—along the lines of many of the events that have taken place during the Weekend of Twinning—on a year-round basis. This gives Washington, DC area Muslim and Jewish people the opportunity to meet and connect on a personal level, whether it is coming together on each other's holidays for festive meals, or joining together to perform acts of repairing the world (tikkun olam and islaah), such as feeding the hungry, visiting the sick or elderly, etc.

As we are an umbrella organization comprised of the leadership of existing interfaith and inter-community endeavors, we advocate the efforts of our constituent groups, including publicizing events. Some of our constituent groups include:
The Jewish-Islamic Dialogue Society (JIDS)
Jews and Muslims– Washington, DC (JAM DC)
The Washington, DC Jewish Community Center (DCJCC)
The All Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS)
Temple Rodef Shalom (TRS)
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
The American Jewish Committee (AJC)

We welcome the involvement of all peace-loving individuals and organizations! Get involved with the GWMJF today!

Mission: The Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum (GWMJF) constantly strives for deeper connection and solidarity between members of the American Muslim and Jewish communities. To this end, we strive to: (1) Stand up for each other, (2) Educate ourselves and others about our communities, and (3) Celebrate each other's religious and cultural heritage.

At the end of his presentation at Herndon Middle School today, Dr Alfred Münzer, a Jewish Holocaust Survivor spoke about how he recently visited with a group of Indonesians many of which were Muslims. During the visit, the lullaby that his nanny used to sing to him, he started to sing. As he sung it, all the Indonesians joined in with him and sung it in perfect harmony. They welcomed him and said they were all part of his family.

Learn more about Dr. Alfred Münzer at https://www.ushmm.org/remember/holocaust-survivors/volunteers/alfred-muenzer

nytimes.com

Opinion | Is Anti-Semitism Exceptional?

nytimes.com The inevitable decline of left-wing philo-Semitism.

newsweek.com

One-third of Americans don't believe 6 million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust

newsweek.com Seventy percent of Americans believe people care less about the Holocaust than they used to.

[10/27/18]   The Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum expresses grief and horror at the murderous attack on Jews at prayer and at a baby naming ceremony at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh today. We pray for those whose lives were ended too soon and for those who were wounded in the attack and struggling to survive. This is a moment when Muslims, Jews and all Americans of conscience must stand together and say a resounding "No" to hatred, bigotry and violence directed at Jews, Muslims or any other community. We must stand together to save lives and to save America!

[10/26/18]   Dear All, Please Join me at the Jewish-Islamic Dialogue Society event this Sunday October 28 from 2:30-4:30 pm entitled "God Wrestling: Jews and Muslims Reflect on the Christian Bible." The event, which takes place at Capitol Hill United Methodist Church at 421 Seward Square S.E. Washington D.C. (near the Eastern Market Metro stop), will be moderated by Pastor Alisa Linn Laseter-Wailoo of the host church. It will feature a special discussion of three books of the New Testament--Luke, Acts and Philippians, and will be a wonderful oppportunity for Jews, Muslims and Allies to hear, discuss and react openly and honestly to these texts. Should be a lively and heartfelt discussion Please come! Walter

Middle East Eye

"Because at the end of the day, we are all humans."

Jewish Rabbi Herschel Gluck talks about his experiences with Islamophobia

InterFaith Council of Metropolitan Washington

For your information!

There are a number of counter-protests happening in DC this weekend in response to the Unite the Right rally scheduled to take place in DC this weekend. We have compiled a list of all of the events we are currently aware of. Please let us know if there are more that we should add! https://ifcmw.org/rallying-love-counter-protests-unite-right/

Andra Baylus Speaks to Pakistan 92 News

Andra Baylus of the Greater Washingtom Muslim Jewish Forum, is seen here at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society speaking to Pakistan 92 News regarding her thoughts on the maligning of Islam.

dailytimes.com.pk

The bridge-builders of America - Daily Times

Wonderful tribute to the work of Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum--an op-ed by Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University, a friend and mentor who has collabrated with us for two years on Spread Hummus Not Hate.
https://dailytimes.com.pk/241968/the-bridge-builders-of-america/

dailytimes.com.pk Amid increasing anti-Semitism and Islamophobia and deepening tensions between the Jewish and Muslim communities globally, some might think it impossible for Jews and Muslims to peacefully coexist in today’s world. But in these troubling times, in recent years, I have had the privilege of working w...

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Ramadan Mubarak to all of our Muslim friends! At this festive time of hope and inspiration, even as our country and the world reel from violence and bigotry, please read this uplifting piece by Rabbi Marc Schneier, President of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, just published in Newsweek, as to how serving food to participants in an Iftar in a Los Angeles mosque helped to make him a better rabbi and more empathic human being.

SERVING MUSLIMS ON RAMADAN
MADE ME A BETTER RABBI

by Rabbi Marc Schneier
May 18, 2018

I have been an Orthodox rabbi for more than 35 years, serving a large and affluent congregation in the Hamptons. I would like to believe I have made a positive difference in the lives of my congregants, and a meaningful contribution to my community and society.

And yet, as we enter the season of Ramadan, I am moved to share a transcendent experience I had at a Ramadan iftar (fast-breaking meal) last June in Los Angeles that gave me a precious opportunity to serve others and to experience the sanctity and joy of human fellowship in a way I had never before experienced.

In fact, I have attended many iftars in recent years. I have come to relish the infectiously convivial spirit at these occasions, as Muslim families who have abstained from food and water for the preceding day come together to break bread together as a community.

As I walked into the iftar dinner at the ornate King Fahad Mosque in the Culver City section of Los Angeles, to which I had been invited as the guest speaker, one of the organizers asked me if I would not only offer remarks, but also serve dinner to participants. He explained that having a rabbi serve food at the event would be a tangible expression of Jewish-Muslim solidarity.

It turned out to be much more than that. Following my remarks, I left my place on the dais and headed over to a long serving table, where a large crowd of congregants had already begun to gather with plates in hand. I donned an apron and took my place alongside several other servers; sensing as I did so a palpable stirring of surprise and appreciation among those in line that a rabbi was giving meaning to his words of unity from the podium by humbly taking his place at the serving table. Soon I was ladling out food—spicy lamb, cooked vegetables, salad, fruit and baklava pastries—to hundreds of people, men, women and children—and bantering happily with many of them, especially the adorable children.

When people asked whether I would be eating myself, I explained that I would not, because my faith does not allow me to consume non-kosher food. Yet the fact that I was serving non-kosher food as a gesture of support with the Muslim community was a manifestation of the long road I have travelled from the person I was 15 years ago; someone who had never entered a mosque or Muslim venue and who feared and demonized Muslims. Indeed, I remember that after accepting an invitation in 2005 to speak to students at a Muslim high school in Queens, New York, I had second thoughts as I was walking to the school building, beset by paranoia concerning my safety.

Yet as I stood there at the King Fahad Mosque gazing into the eyes of those I was serving, I realized at that moment that humbly serving food to this group of American Muslims was affording me a precious opportunity to feel their humanity, and my connectedness to them in a more profound way than ever before.

For years, I had referred to Muslims in speeches and op-ed articles as my "brothers and sisters." Now, I felt I was experiencing the underlying meaning of those words for the very first time. While I had interacted at that point with many Imams and other Muslim community leaders, this was really the first time I had the chance to speak, learn and even joke with just regular congregants.

Each of them had a story and each impressed me with their sincerity, love and kindness. As Muslim Americans, their concerns and issues were not unlike those of Jewish Americans, and that was both refreshing and inspiring to me. It reaffirmed my long contention that as children of Abraham, we have more in common between our faiths than our differences.

So, why did I have my sublime moment of human connection in a mosque? I believe the answer can be found in the fact that the Torah enjoins us to "Love the stranger 36 times," rather than "Love thy neighbor." In other words, that it is a higher calling to love someone different from oneself than to love one’s own. Of course, it is a good and right thing for me to love a fellow Jew, but it is far easier for me to do that than to reach out and embrace a Muslim—just as it is easier for a Muslim to connect with a co-religionist than it is for him to reach out and embrace me.

In any case, it took a Ramadan iftar to fully take me beyond my earlier reserve, and, for the first time, share the humanity of Muslims as deeply as I do that of my fellow Jews. My experience at the LA iftar has made me a more open and giving person with enhanced capability to serve both my fellow Jews, my Muslim friends and people of all backgrounds.

Rabbi Marc Schneier is the Founding Rabbi of The Hampton Synagogue and President of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding and co-author with Imam Shamsi Ali of Sons of Abraham: A Candid Conversation about the Issues That Divide and Unite Jews and Muslims.

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The Foundation For Ethnic Understanding-FFEU

On Sunday May 6, Jewish-Islamic Dialogue Society (JIDS), Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum led by Walter Ruby and Andra Baylus, The Foundation For Ethnic Understanding-FFEU and Jews and Muslims Acting Together (JAM-AT) co-sponsored JIDS Spring Picnic in Rock Creek Park in Washington D.C. Muslims and Jews from around Greater Washington came together for a delicious vegetarian meal, games, good conversation and discussion of plans for upcoming Ramadan iftars and events throughout the year focused on strengthening ties of understanding and standing up for each other if either community is victimized by hate crimes or incitement.

Here we were one year ago to the date.

WASHINGTON AREA MUSLIMS AND JEWS TAKE PART IN JAM-AT MEETING TO PLAN AGENDA FOR 2018

More than 70 Muslims, Jews and allies took part in a spirited meeting of JAM-AT (Jews and Muslims-Acting Together) on Sunday March 18 at the Washington Hebrew Congregation to decide on actions that Jews and Muslims across the Greater Washington Area can take part in together during the coming year.

JAM-AT is the social action arm of the Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum and the Jewish Islamic Dialogue Society of Washington. The two organizations organized the event with the support of the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, I Am Your Protector, Center for Pluralism, Rumi Forum and the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington.

A delegation from JAM-AT is expected to take part in the March For Our Lives demonstration against gun violence on Saturday March 24. The group is planning iftars during Ramadan, planning participation in an upcoming Interfaith Day of Unity and organizing a health fair featuring Jewish and Muslim doctors offering free health screenings to people without health insurance.

Walter Ruby, Chairman of the Greater Washington Muslim-Jewish Forum (GWMJF), commented, “JAM-AT is a grass roots, bottom up body that will summon the energy and activism of Muslims and Jews throughout Metropolitan Washington to stand together against bigotry and strengthen ties of communication and cooperation.” According to GWMJF President Andra Baylus; "It was inspiring and highly encouraging to see so many Muslims, Jews and allies from around the DMV come together in a serious and purposeful way to plan a concrete plan of action."

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JEWS and MUSLIMS - ACTING TOGETHER (JAM-AT) "It's Time To Act!"

eventbrite.com JEWS and MUSLIMS - ACTING TOGETHER (JAM-AT) Social Action Committee "IT'S TIME TO ACT! Sunday, March 18th 1:30 to 4:30 Washington Hebrew Congregation "Freed Youth Wing"Room 3935 Macomb St. NW Washington, DC 20016 Who: Interested Clergy, Representatives of mosques and synagogues, Community Leaders, A...

On January 25, The Greater Washington MUSLIM-JEWISH FORUM, All-Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS Center) and McLean Islamic Center co-sponsored an inspiring luncheon featuring a Palestinian and Israeli doctor on behalf of Project Rozana; an international organization that works to improve health care for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza and nurture ties between Israelis and Palestinians in the process. The Foundation for Ethnic Understanding was a partner in the luncheon.

Project Rozana is committed to helping gravely ill Palestinian children and adults access life-saving care in Israeli hospitals, and providing advanced training to Palestinian medical professionals working in the West Bank and Gaza.

The two visiting doctors, Dr. Khadra Hasan Ali Salami, a pediatric hematology oncologist specialist at August Victoria Hospital in Jerusalem and Dr. Adi Leiba Professor of Medicine at Ben Gurion University in Beer Sheva and co-founder of the the Israeli-Palestinian Nephrological Society, were accompanied to the meeting by Kenneth Bob, national director of Project Rozana and Judi Glickman Shnider, Washington area representative of Project Rozana.

Rizwan Jaka, Chairman of the Board of Directors of ADAMS Center, warmly welcomed the visiting doctors to the ADAMS Center, stating that they inspire us not to give up hope for peace and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, and that they personify the adage in both the Talmud and Quran that if one saves one life it is as though he or she has saved all of humankind.

GWMJF President Andra Baylus that hosting the Project Rozana doctors is in concert with our organization’s mission to bring Washington area Muslims and Jews together to help people in need, such as a dental clinic for Syrian refugees organized together with Dr. Maqsood Chaudhry of McLean Islamic Center. Chairman Walter Ruby said that while Muslim and Jewish members of GWMJF respectfully agree to disagree on aspects of the Middle East conflict while working to strengthen Muslim-Jewish ties in Greater Washington; we are inspired to support efforts like Project Rozana bringing Israelis and Palestinians together to alleviate suffering and improve access for Palestinians to quality medical care.

Dr. Salami noted that the opportunity to receive medical training in Israeli hospitals and then apply their skills and expertise in Palestinian hospitals, makes it possible for many Palestinian doctors to stay in their homeland who would otherwise have gone abroad for training. She pointed with pride at cooperation between Palestinian and Israeli doctors, as well as officials in the Ministries of Health in both Israel and the PA who have made it possible for many children to receive life-saving medical care, who might otherwise not have been treated in time.

Dr. Leiba who until recently served as the Chief Medical Officer of the Israel Defense Forces in the West Bank, used his position in the Army to secure permits for Palestinians to receive medical treatment in Israel and to allow Palestinian doctors to travel into Israel for training. Dr. Leiba continues to work closely with Palestinian kidney specialists, and his vision is to found a joint Israeli-Palestinian medical clinic on Mount Gerizim near Nablus, where Israeli and Palestinian doctors will work in tandem treating patients suffering from kidney diseases and other ailments.

After addressing ADAMS congregants in the prayer hall after the duhr prayers, Kenneth Bob commented, “We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to come to this wonderful and welcoming a mosque to share the work and vision of Project Rozana with American Muslims and Jews committed to peace and reconciliation.”
A huge thank you to Rizwan Jaka and Hurunnessa Fariad of ADAMS for their magnificent hospitality.

pic 1: GWMJF Chairman Walter Ruby, Dr. Adi Leiba, Dr. Khadra Salami, GWMJF President Andra Baylus, Bahikah Abdus-Salaam, Masjid Muhammad, ADAMS Center Board Chair Rizwan Jaka
pic 2: participants in Project Rozana luncheon at ADAMS Center

pic 3 Keneth Bob, national director of Project Rozana, Dr. Khadra Hasan Ali Salami, Dr. Adi Leiba

The Greater Washington MUSLIM-JEWISH FORUM was active the day before Christmas spreading our message of peace, brotherhood and compassion for people of all backgrounds and life circumstances. The Forum co-sponsored a Muslim-Jewish Winter Youth Feeding the Homeless event with ADAMS Service at the CCNV Shelter in downtown Washington, in which teenagers and their parents from Temple Rodef Shalom of Falls Church, VA and the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy of Rockville, MD, participated together with families from the All-Dulles Area Muslim Society (ADAMS Center). Andra Baylus and Walter Ruby were there on behalf of GWMJF.

Despite some initial confusion about where in the Shelter we were supposed to set up--involving some frentic shlepping of food trays and heavy boxes up and down flights of stairs; our team of over 50 Muslims and Jews eventually managed to set up and serve delicious meals of spicy Indo-Pak chicken and rice to scores of homeless residents at CCNV and also offer them coats, blankets gloves and warm socks. Also wonderful was the chance for so many Muslim and Jewish teens to connect for the very first time, and discuss future activities togeter.

On Christmas Eve Walter Ruby joined Robert Marro of the ADAMS Center to extend greetings from the Jewish and Muslim communtiies to worshippers at the traditional Candlelight Christmas Eve Service at the Falls Church Presbyterian Church. In his remarks, Walter urged Jews, Muslims, Christians and people of all faiths and no faiths to build ties of friendship and trust, and to stand up for each other if members of any community are hurting or under attack.

The visit to the Presbyterian Church Christmas Eve Service, one of several such church visits organized by ADAMS and the Washington Area Jews for Muslim-Jewish Understanding, was a first step in a sustained effort by the GWMJF and Summit of Washington Area Imams, Rabbis and Community Leaders to step beyond our Muslim-Jewish comfort zone and initiate contacts with Christian communities.

captions:

pic 1- Walter Ruby (kneeling front left) and Andra Baylus (in white fromt right) witb Muslim and Jewish volunteers in front of ADAMS truck

pic 2 Homeless CCNV resident receives nourishing meal from Muslim and Jewish volunteers

pic 3 Walter Ruby and volunteers hand out warm clothing

pic 4 Andra Baylus, Walter Ruby and volunteers

pic 5--Volunteers serve food at CCNV

pic 6 (l-r) Robert Marro of ADAMS Center, Rev. James Sledge, Pastor Falls Church Presyterian Church and Walter Ruby before the Christmas Eve Service

pic 7 Walter Ruby extends Christmas wishes at Falls Church Presbyterian Church

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