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November 9, Catch-Up

Whoa! Was my last journal entry in August???  Busy-ness is no excuse…but, yes, I’ve been busy! But Table Talks has continued. We’ve been meeting for the past few months at Starbucks in Bethel, CT. Starbucks couldn’t have been more hospitable. But I’m not sure it’s the right location for us. We occupied tables inside and […]

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Commencement: Celebration not Controversy

It’s hard to argue with a person who’s promoting free speech. But that’s what I’m about to do. In his What in the World broadcast, Liberals think they’re tolerant, but they’re not, CNN commentator Fareed Zakaria claims that students who protest at graduation ceremonies demonstrate “an attitude of self-righteousness that says we are so pure, we’re […]

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In the End, It’s Up to Us

Last week a colleague asked me to review a course outline she’d designed to teach entrepreneurs how to write a business plan. The curriculum in front of me contained information about finance, law, marketing and social media. “Where’s the values statement?” I asked. “The what?” The values statement. A mission statement outlines what an organization […]

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Why Muslims Need to Stay Engaged in Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue… Even When They Don’t Want To

It always strikes me as odd when advocates for change reject talking to those with whom they disagree. Bilal Ansari, in his recent blog, An Invitation to Decline, characterizes the opportunity he had to participate in the Shalom Hartman Institute’s Muslim Leadership Initiative (MLI) as “a free trip to Israel…and a free trip to visit […]

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Mr Obama, You Blew It In Selma

I’m an Obama supporter. I’ve always been an Obama supporter. I voted for him twice. And I would vote for him again if he was allowed to run for office a third term. That is, until last Saturday afternoon. All that changed whenI heard his remarks at the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the […]

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The Blind Men and the Elephant

It was six men of Indostan To learning much inclined, Who went to see the Elephant (Though all of them were blind), That each by observation Might satisfy his mind. The First approached the Elephant, And happening to fall Against his broad and sturdy side, At once began to bawl: “God bless me! but the […]

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Courage is a Verb

Those of us blessed to have friends in faith traditions other than our own are finding some comfort in our solidarity. We are reaping what we’ve sowed and are coming together to share thoughts, voice fears, and pour out our grief. Those of us who work in interfaith relations acknowledged through our tears that much […]

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Proper Behavior when Encountering Jewish Diversity in a Muslim Gymnasium

Tonight I attended a Muslim interfaith event and, rather than meeting new Muslim friends, I encountered Jewish diversity like I’d never seen before. Never. We Jews talk about Jewish diversity a lot. We have our standard Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Jews. We have the relative newcomers—the Reconstructionist Jews and the Jewish Renewal Jews. We also […]

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On Becoming a Fig

It’s a year to the day since my home was filled with standing-room-only Jewish and Muslim friends celebrating the Jewish holiday of Tu b’Shevat. Even though the Jews didn’t know the Muslims and the Muslims didn’t know the Jews, all the guests were my friends. And all my friends are extraordinary. Sitting knee to knee […]

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8 Reasons I Love My Muslim Friends

If you’ve ever thought about stepping into a community seemingly not like your own, let me tell you how I’ve benefited by becoming friends with Muslims. When I wrote my graduate thesis on Jewish-Muslim commonality, I had to find a mosque and a research pool of subjects for interviews. Those interviews turned into opportunities for […]

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Islamophobia, Strange Bedfellows, and Missed Opportunities

”Islamophobia is an exaggerated fear, hatred, and hostility toward Islam and Muslims that is perpetuated by negative stereotypes resulting in bias, discrimination, and the marginalization and exclusion of Muslims…” [Fear Inc., Center for American Progress, 2011] Why is it so hard for us to work together when it comes to dealing with Islamophobia? Another round […]

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Peter Pan, Interfaith Role Model

I don’t know when it happened. Five years ago I didn’t know a Muslim, hadn’t a clue about Muhammed, the Qur’an, or head coverings. I didn’t have Muslim friends, didn’t know about mosques, daily prayers, Ramadan, or the Hajj. You could even say, I didn’t know I didn’t know. And now I do. How do […]

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Why Friendship is So Darn Important

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” Rumi What does it mean to have a friend? A few years ago I came across a blog on the internet called My Best Friend is Muslim. Relatively inactive now, the site was an online invitation for visitors to share […]

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Confront the Scary Words

If infidel and Muslim/muslim [see earlier posts] are the one-two punch of Islamic misunderstanding for non-Muslims, the next word is the knock-out. Jihad. The mere mention of the word conjures images of…well, you know what you’re conjuring right now. But a recent campaign sponsored by CAIR (Council on American–Islamic Relations) is providing clarity about jihad’s […]

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Chanuk-onnection ~ Think You’re Singular? Think Again

Chanukah is a holiday of contrasts. A small cruse of oil. The giant miracle. A tiny Maccabean army. The mighty Hellenistic forces. The flickering lights illuminating the darkness. Day-to-day living is often a journey of differences—differences that distinguish and separate rather than connect and unify.

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Back to Basics – Islam, By the Numbers

Never attribute to malice that which can be just as easily attributed to ignorance. ~ Hanlon’s Razor
Population Compared to Other World Religions*:
Christians – 2.3 Billion ; Muslims – 1.6 Billion
Hindus – 955 Million ; Buddhists – 494 Million
Jews – 15 Million

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Ground Rules, or “Hey Lady, That’s a Pretty Big Brush You’re Painting With…!”

You can be upstream. You can be downstream. This blog is about being mainstream. I’m part of mainstream American Judaism. That means, I don’t support or agree with views expressed by radical Jews. (Yes, even though they’re…

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In the Beginning

The hardest part of writing a blog is starting a blog. Today is Thanksgiving–a providential day for a new undertaking. I’ve been writing about Islamic/Judaic commonality for several years. First I wrote academically as part of my research at the University of San Francisco. Then I moved to NY and started writing personal observations about […]

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