Muslim-Jewish Leadership Council: A partnership between NewGround and ICSC

By: Rabbi Sarah Bassin 
When I first began working with NewGround, I expected that the most significant obstacle that I would face in strengthening Muslim-Jewish relations would be apathy- that people just wouldn’t understand why it matters if Jews and Muslims in Los Angeles get along.  But it seems as though my concern was misplaced, especially among millennials.

On two separate occasions, I was approached by leaders in the Jewish community who said that high school students came to them wanting to connect with the Muslim community.  So I reached out to your beloved Soha Yassine.  After one meeting, we had the basic outline for the Muslim-Jewish High School Leadership Council and it must have been pretty compelling because just about every religious leader we called to get on board jumped at the opportunity.  The project has practically launched itself.


What will this council do?  I’ll spare you the details but here’s the gist:  the council brings Muslim and Jewish high school leaders together to put their religious values into action.  Too often when people think of Muslims and Jews, they think of what drives them apart.  They don’t think of how both our communities have built organizations to respond to the most pressing social issues of our time: hunger, discrimination, homelessness, education, etc.  They don’t think of the similar religious values that drive us to engage in this work.  They don’t think of the fact we’re all Angelenos.


The Council is designed to change what people think when they hear “Muslim-Jewish” –  not Israel/Palestine, not medieval Spain, not funny hats, not hummus and falafel, but partners with a shared vision for what our Los Angeles community ought to look like.  Intrigued?  Find out more on Facebook and our website-    



Rabbi Sarah Bassin serves as the Executive Director of NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change. She traveled to Iran in November 2008 as part of a civilian diplomacy delegation.  From 2009-2011, Sarah served as the program manager at the Center for Muslim/Jewish Engagement where she implemented the first comprehensive survey on Muslim-Jewish relations in the United States.  She received a certificate in Jewish Non-Profit Management in August 2010 and was ordained as a rabbi in May 2011 by Hebrew Union College.

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