Jews, Muslims, Christians -- all ages

find each other on East Coast U.S.A.

Tuesday, 05 December 2007


If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends.

You talk to your enemies.                 -- Moshe Dayan

     The Eastern U.S.A. gives to humankind real-life examples of new ways of communicating across old divides.
     The Dialogue Project in Brooklyn, New York is exemplary.
     Listen to Dialogue examples of Jews and Palestinians telling their personal stories, and describing how they change and grow together.
     Hear Dialogue on Pacifica Radio a Muslim Palestinian, Jewish American, and Christian Palestinian from The Dialogue Project.

Families and Teens
     "It is the shared stories that are breaking down the barriers and building community among us," they say.
     Thirteen years of experience has proven this to the INTERFAITH STORY CIRCLE OF THE TRI-CITY AREA of Albany, Schenectady Troy, NY, USA.

     CHILDREN AT THE WELL is their new youth venture to discover and live by the best wisdom of the faith traditions.
     See how they deepen in their own faiths, learn face-to-face from those of other traditions, and reach way out to their communities.
     These youth and adults promote authentic peace and understanding among all peoples -- no exceptions.
     A how-to document of guidelines is being put together to help other groups who wish to do a similar venture in their area.
     For more information, contact Paula Weiss ( ) in Boght Corners, NY.  She's at (518) 785-7842 .

     The interfaith JEWISH-MUSLIM WOMEN'S BAKING CIRCLE south in Atlanta, Georgia, is another expression within the National Storytelling Network.
     Their own story and photo are at:
     These interfaith women will co-sponsor WINTER'S LIGHT: Many voices, one Spirit on Saturday evening, December 16, 2006.
     It will be an evening of interfaith Storytelling and Song for families of Atlanta.
     Other co-sponsors are the Islamic Speakers Bureau, Congregation Bet Haverim, Southern Order of Storytellers, Central Congregational UCC, and the Baha'i Community of North DeKalb County.
     Learn more from Audrey Galex ( ) at (404) 486-7377.

University Students
     Interfaith university students are increasingly building connections, while refusing to be enemies, like at the University of Chicago.


Published by USINFO -- 27 October 2006

Youth Interfaith Movement Thrives in United States

University students discuss religious diversity in webchat


   At Rutgers University Muslim Nadia Sheikh ( ) and Jewish Danielle Josephs ( ) are helping other students to expand their lives to include the "other."
     They are living their lives together -- actually -- as you will read below.
     And be assured that when there is authentic change that reveals history itself being redirected, news media professionals will help tell these stories that matter.
     Just as the New York Times published its version of this news.


Published in The New York Times -- Saturday, 02 December 2006

The House That a Hope for Peace Built

By Marek Fuchs


    At this moment in history, especially among young citizens, there is a quantum leap forward in education and human relationships.
     Listen to Barry Qualls, a Rutgers interim vice president for undergraduate education.
     The Middle East Coexistence House is an example of the small learning communities that the university wishes to encourage across all of the campuses as part of the Transformation of Undergraduate Education.
     Douglass College has led the way in establishing these communities, and I look forward to seeing more of them.

     More exactly, courageous students like Jewish Danielle Josephs and Muslim Nadia Sheikh lead the way.
     "All things change when we do," said David Whyte.
     Like at Rutgers University.

     You can do this where you study and live.

                - L&L

Published in Rutgers Focus -- 29 November 2006
Middle East Coexistence House fosters Jewish-Muslim understanding
By Patricia Lamiell

PHOTO CAPTION:  Danielle Josephs, left, and Nadia Sheikh, live in the Middle East Coexistence House on the Douglass Campus, which opened this month. Josephs, a Douglass senior, envisioned the house and proposed the idea to Carmen Twillie Ambar, dean of Douglass College.

     Eleven female students, including five Jewish, three Muslim, one Hindu, one Christian and a student who is agnostic, will live and study together this year at Jameson Residence Hall at Douglass College. Their goal: to learn about the Middle East and ultimately to improve Jewish-Muslim relations at Rutgers and beyond.
     The new Middle East Coexistence House, which opened this month, is part of the Global Village of living-learning communities at Douglass. Designed to train ambassadors of peacemaking and conflict resolution, the house is built on the conviction that women bring special skills to the work of intercultural understanding that, in fact, peace efforts in the Middle East will fail until women are at the table.
     Danielle Josephs, a Douglass College senior, envisioned the house and proposed the idea to Carmen Twillie Ambar, dean of Douglass College. Josephs recalled the moment four years ago when the seed was planted. As a freshman in 2002, she wandered into a pro-Palestinian rally at Brower Commons on College Avenue. Behind the speaker was a banner that read, Zionism is Racism. She overheard someone in the crowd mutter, Death to Jews.
     Josephs was chilled. The Teaneck native whose father is Israeli, and mother,  Jewish-American determined then to do something about the virulent hostility that I witnessed on campus between Jews and Muslims. At first that conviction led her to join Jewish organizations and activities on campus; last year she was president of Rutgers Hillel. Meanwhile, open animosity between Jews and Muslims on campus had quieted significantly. But Josephs felt it was an uneasy truce, and that the two groups still did not communicate well or understand each other.
     Two years ago, Josephs approached Ambar with a proposal to create the Middle East Coexistence House. For Ambar, the timing was perfect. Our living-learning communities synergistically link academic departments, centers and institutions, student and residence life, and the mission of the college to educate and offer special programs for women, Ambar said. So when Danielle Josephs came to me two years ago ... it was easy for me to say yes. 
     Individually, the students are pursuing a wide range of academic studies, from political science to Middle Eastern studies to English literature. They gather in the residence hall lobby once a week for a class that covers the history, cultures, and current events in the Middle East. A conflict resolution class is taught by Miranda Vata, a doctoral candidate in global affairs at Rutgers-Newark of Albanian descent who lived through the civil war in the former Yugoslavia as a teenager.
     Students do not hold back on hot-button topics in politics or religion, including the war in Iraq, the recent conflict between Israel and Lebanon, and tensions between the U.S. government and Iran. But they say they are learning to communicate respectfully. Nadia Sheikh, a sophomore from Weehawken, is pleased with the living arrangement, thus far. Being a Muslim, I've been a little on the defensive since 9/11, she said.  "But everyone is really battling to understand each other. Here, we have a chance to step out of our anger mode. 
     The Middle East House is partly funded by the Associate Alumnae of Douglass College. Ambar and Josephs hope the house will become another example of successful living-learning communities that engage students in contemporary issues. The Middle East House follows the Human Rights House and the Lead House, both created in the last three years.
     Douglass College's history of successful living-learning communities of language and cultural houses goes back to 1922, Ambar said. But it was our notion that different types of communities would be needed in this new global era if we were going to truly prepare women for leadership.
     Barry Qualls, interim vice president for undergraduate education, agrees.  The Middle East Coexistence House is an example of the small learning communities that the university wishes to encourage across all of the campuses as part of the Transformation of Undergraduate Education, Qualls said. Douglass College has led the way in establishing these communities, and I look forward to seeing more of them.