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New Publication Seeks to Foster Understanding Between Jews and Muslims | Arts & Culture

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New Publication Seeks to Foster Understanding Between Jews and Muslims
New Publication Seeks to Foster Understanding Between Jews and Muslims

From a statement issued by the editor of Jewish Muslim Friendship in WNY:

LOCKPORT, NY -- We are pleased to announce the publication of our new on-line magazine, Jewish Muslim Friendship in Western New York.  We are Jewish and Muslim residents of the Buffalo NY area, seeking to promote friendship and understanding between our communities.  We offer our magazine as an effective and exciting way to exchange ideas and learn from one another’s cultural, religious, and personal experiences.  Convinced that many people of good will throughout Western New York share our aspirations, we invite all to join us in this promising endeavor.

We call ours a “family magazine,” for we intend its content to be suitable for all members of the family, whether children, parents, grandparents, or any others.  There will be no discord in our pages, only thoughtful discourse with full respect for all participants.  Along with beautiful illustrations, we present interesting stories, news articles, historical and archeological explorations, philosophic essays, spiritual insights, favorite recipes, poetry, book and film reviews, and other imaginative features.   

The magazine is entirely independent, not part of any other organization.  It was initiated by Enid Bloch, who serves as editor.  The advisory board includes Julia Cohan, Sarah DeBruin, Babs Hirschorn, Hodan S. Isse, Gunilla Kester, Fatima Lodhi, Amber Shaikh, Nadia Shahram, Bekah Starr, Sawsan Tabbaa, and Susan Udin.   Others will be added to the board as the project proceeds.

Our first issue honors the memory of Cantor Susan Wehle, whose tragic death aboard Flight 3407 cut short her pioneering interfaith work.  We hope her transcendent vision and joyful spirit will live on in those of us forging friendships and trust across sometimes difficult cultural and religious divides.  Yet, in truth, there are no real divisions.  We are all human beings, embracing similar hopes and dreams.  We are children of Abraham, sharing a proud heritage.  And we are fellow Americans, building a future together in a land dedicated to freedom and respect for all. 

In this publication we seek no more, and no less, than to reach out to one another with warm regard and loving interest in each other’s lives and concerns.  We shall discover that in many ways we already know each other, for we are neighbors, colleagues, schoolmates, teachers, physicians, people we meet every day, yet often do not recognize as Muslim or Jewish.  And so we may also have failed to appreciate the rich cultures that have nourished each other along the way.   Without that knowledge, it may be all too easy to picture only the stereotypical faceless “other,” the menacing stranger, when we hear the word “Muslim” or “Jew,” instead of envisioning our fellow citizen and potential friend.

Jewish Muslim Friendship in WNY is dedicated to overcoming this gap in perception and in moral imagination by providing an intriguing look at real people and their very human stories. We shall also draw from the wealth of cultural and spiritual wisdom distilled during the many centuries Jews and Muslims lived together in harmony. 

We reach out in friendship also to all other religious and ethnic groups who make up the vibrant tapestry of Western New York society. We are fortunate to live in a wonderful area of the country, graced by the presence of many cultural and religious traditions. Hopefully our pages will reflect this happy situation, rejoicing in all we have to learn from one another. 

Above all, we seek to provide a peaceful, interesting, and aesthetically pleasing space where Muslim and Jewish experience can be shared openly, with good will and for the benefit of all.  We intend this as a community-wide endeavor, and all who live in Western New York are invited to participate. We hope readers will tell us their stories, send us their interesting photographs and art, and let us know what they have experienced and learned.  If their work fits our publication’s guidelines and promotes friendship and trust, we will help them share it with Western New York and the world.

Our first issue is 24 pages in length, and we anticipate three issues per year.  These will be distributed in electronic form to individuals and groups interested in our endeavor.  The magazine will also be accessible on the Jewish Muslim Friendship in WNY website and several other on-line locations.

To submit material for future editions, or request to be included in our recipient list, send an email to the editor. 

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