Jews and Muslims

Posted on September 10th, 2017

Sept. 11 and the Second Intifada in Israel interrupted years of improvement in Muslim-Jewish relations.

Jews and Muslims have had a close but tense relationship since Islam’s earliest days, when Jewish tribes in seventh-century Arabia, principally in the city of Medina, rejected the Prophet Muhammad’s claims to religious and political leadership. In the modern era, the Zionist movement and establishment of the State of Israel have exacerbated this longstanding tension, with fallout from events of the recent past–the Palestinian uprising known as the intifada and the wave of anti-Western Islamic terrorism culminating in the attacks of September 11, 2001–bringing the relationship to a low point.

Divisive Issues


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In Omaha, Three Faiths Share One Big Idea

Posted on September 3rd, 2017
By Jonathan Zalman for Tablet Magazine 

The Tri-Faith Initiative brings together a synagogue, a church, and a mosque, with a promise to build bridges between them

A new kind of “neighborhood” is nearing completion in West Omaha, Nebraska—a place where Jews, Muslims, and Christians will share spaces, food, ideas, joy, and pain.

Over 10 years ago, a group of Omaha’s religious and lay leaders hatched an idea: Build three, brand-new houses of worship—a temple, a mosque, and a church—located close together on the same plot of land; ensure that the design scheme feels borderless, flowing, and inviting of interaction; encourage communication between communities—promoting, among other things, cross-religious education and, well, understanding; put into place the right leaders to foster these activities; have plentiful parking; coexist; shock the world.

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Bar & Bat Mitzvahs For The Interfaith Family

Posted on August 27th, 2017
This article has been reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily 

According to Jewish law, all children acquire the status of ritual adulthood when they are thirteen years old. Whether or not they participate in a ceremony, at that time they take responsibility for their own moral decisions and commitments to observing the commandments (mitzvot) that are the foundation of Jewish life. In Hebrew, bar mitzvah means "son of the commandments" and bat mitzvah means "daughter of the commandments."

But what is a bar or bat mitzvah?

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Talking about Christian readings of Hebrew texts

Posted on August 20th, 2017
From bimbam

Recently, bimbam's founder, Sarah Lefton, spent a week at the Kenyon Institute teaching a Writing for Video class to clergy in a multi-denominational setting. Watch her vlog below with Rev. Kyle Oliver, an Episcopal Priest.  Last month, our Animation Director Jeremy presented about how BimBam videos demystify Jewish mourning rituals at the Chevrah Kadisha and Jewish Cemetery Conference in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Watch the video.


High Holiday Email Series

Posted on August 13th, 2017
This article has been reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily 

In 2017, the Jewish New Year, Rosh HaShanah, begins on Wednesday evening, September 20th and Yom Kippur, the “Day of Atonement,” begins on Friday evening, September 29th. Are you interested in learning more about how to prepare for and celebrate these High Holidays in your interfaith family? Then this three-session, once a week email series, which has been created by the rabbis from our IFF/Your Communities across the country, is for you! You will receive emails on three consecutive Thursdays (August 31 and September 7 and 14) that will help you and your family to reflect on major themes of the holidays; learn about some of the holiday liturgy; discover ways to make the holidays meaningful for you and your family; and give you questions to discuss with your partner and children.



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