Dear colleagues in Palestinian-Jewish Dialogue and relationship building:

     In the midst of our shared seasons of Light of Jews, Muslims, Christians, and others, we send you assurances that Light is travelling onto college campuses where Dialogue is introduced and modeled.
     The the 4th and main report below is from the University of California, Los Angeles.  We arrived by e-mail today from UCLA's Rabbi Chaim Seidler-Feller ( 
     The rabbi described how a Muslim student read a prayer in Hebrew, and a Jewish student read a Muslim prayer in Arabic.
     "It was really unbelievable," he said.  "It was the students' idea.  It came from their hearts."
     "They were reaching out to each other across the divide, saying 'I care about you and respect you.'"
     But first listen to students from three other campuses.
     And consider following their example by beginning Dialogue where you study or live.
               -- L&L

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Sarah Krones ( says: ""I am in an Arab/Jewish Dialogue group . . . There are three Egyptians and one Palestinian, and four Jewish Americans. . .  We meet once every week for an hour or so, and often the discussion lasts longer than that. I have learned things about Judaism which I didn't know, and have realized how similar the Muslim/Arab culture is to Judaism."

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Palestinian student Yosef Bonaparte ( wrote:  "I am happy to tell you that at today's meeting we have decided to do IFTAR (Ramadan Breakfast) on next Wednesday, where Muslims and Jewish students together are gonna bring food and celebrate Ramadan.  The week after we gonna do the "Sabetha" in Hillel. . . my dream is that what I just have started to do (here at the University of Texas will happen) on other campuses."

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Nurete Brener ( is an Israeli Ph.D. student in Organizational Behavior at Case Western Reserve University.  She says: "We just had our third dialogue group meeting this past Wednesday and I feel that the group is starting to coalesce. We had ten people this past session: 3 Jewish- American, 3 Lebanese (two Christian, one Armenian), 1 Palestinian-American, 2 Israelis and 1 other (American). . . We are still getting to know each other and still sharing personal stories but the dialogue is allowing us to delve into the sticky issues while remaining respectful of one another. I think most of us are beginning to feel very committed to the group and eager to continue meeting."

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Published in The Daily Bruin -- University of California, Los Angeles (Calif.)
Monday, November 26, 2002
     This article is online at

Student groups unite in fasting

By Andrew Edwards

      Muslim and Jewish students met Monday evening to eat dinner together after a day of fasting and to pray for peace. 
     The gathering, held behind Kerckhoff Hall at 5:00 p.m. drew about 100 attendees, including members of the Muslim Students Association and the Progressive Jewish Students Association.  The groups scheduled the event as an opportunity to get to know each other better, rather than debate the political situation in the Middle East. 
     In recent months, multiple instances of friction between Muslim and Jewish students have been reported on campuses across the country, often resulting from controversies surrounding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  Monday's event was an effort to focus on values shared by both groups. 
     "We are here to promote the common ideals across religions of peace and good food," said Brian Sassounian, PJSA member and third-year economics student. 
     MSA students have been meeting at Kerckhoff Hall throughout Ramadan, the holiest month in the Muslim calendar, when Muslims are called to fast from sunrise to sundown.  On weekdays, except for Friday, MSA students have eaten dinner together to commemorate iftar, the breaking of the daylight fast. 
     Jewish students at the event also fasted, though Monday is not a traditional fasting day in Judaism. 
     Jewish attendees refrained from food for unity with Muslims, so all at the event had spent the day fasting, said PJSA co-president Stephanie Hanna, a second-year sociology student. 
     The meal began after the conclusion of Muslim students' evening prayers.  Jewish students who waited on the side joined with Muslims, eating kosher pasta and salad, and Kentucky Fried Chicken that was specially prepared to meet Muslim dietary standards. 
     As the students got to know each other over dinner, prayers were read in Arabic and Hebrew, later translated into English, asking God for peace. 
     The first seven verses of the Quran were read in Arabic and English by Alana Kadden, a third-year business economics student.  She was followed by Hisham Mahmoud, a graduate student in Islamic studies who read a modern Jewish peace prayer from a Hebrew text. 
     "Let peace fill the earth as the waters fill the sea," recited Mahmoud in Hebrew. 
     Kadden and Mahmoud read the prayer in English together as a dialogue. 
     Students in both the MSA and PJSA called the evening a success. 
     "It was very, very positive," said Mohammed Mertaban, a fourth-year psychobiology and French student and MSA president.  "A lot of the tensions (between Muslim and Jewish students) have already been dissolved."
     The PJSA plans future discussions between Muslim and Jewish students, and asked all at the event to sign up for future meetings.

Reporter Andrew Edwards receives e-mail at