Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement

A Partnership between the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion,
Omar Ibn Al Khattab Foundation, & USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture

Calendar of Events

CMJE endeavors to keep an up to date calendar of upcoming events in the Southern California area. If your institution, organization, or group would like to list your event relating to Muslim-Jewish engagement, please email

A Note About External Links

The Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement website contains a variety of links to other websites and references to resources. External links to websites from the CMJE website are provided solely for informational purposes and the convenience of the user. CMJE does not control, review, approve, or endorse these sites or resources. In addition, the external links and resources are in no way intended to represent an exhaustive listing.

Southern California

September 2010

Dr. Elnura Azizova on "Pluralism in Azerbaijan"
Tuesday, September 21, 2010, 12:00 - 2:00 p.m.
USC Doheny Library, Room 240
Lunch served, RSVP required. Send e-mail to

With one doctorate in History of Islam and another in History of Religions, Dr. Elnura Azizova’s research specialties include the event of Karbala in Sunni and Shi`a literature, the role of women in earliest Muslim society, Jews as a minority in Azerbaijani history, and religious pluralism. Dr. Azizova is currently a Fulbright Visiting Scholar in residence at Temple University. She is chair of Eastern Languages and Religious Studies Department at Khazar University, Baku, Azerbaijan.

Dr. Arizova's lecture is co-sponsored by the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement, the Consulate General of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, MECA SoCal (Muslims Establishing Communities in America), USC Muslim Students Union, USC Office of Religious Life, and the USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture.

June 2010

Jewish Muslim Relations : A Historical Perspective with Keynote Speaker Prof. Reuven Firestone
Sunday, June 27th Reception Begins at 6:15 pm, Lecture begins at 6:30
Pacifica Institute - 1019 Gayley Ave. Suite A, Los Angeles, CA 90024
RSVP : (310)208-7290 or

Rabbi Firestone is a Professor of Medieval Jewish and Islamic Studies, HUC-JIR/Los Angeles and is a senior fellow of the Center of Religion and Civic Culture at the University of Southern California. He is co-director of the Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement, a joint project of HUC-JIR, USC, and the Omar Ibn Al-Khattab Foundation. Prior to joining the HUC-JIR faculty, he taught at Boston University and was Yad Hanadiv Research Fellow at the Hebrew University. He received a Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) III research fellowship for the Spring 2006 semester for study at the American University of Cairo, funded by the Fulbright Binational Committee in Egypt and the U.S. Department of Education. In 2000 he was awarded a fellowship for independent research from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and was chosen to be a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies at the University of Pennsylvania in 20002. Professor Firestone has written seven books and over seventy scholarly articles on early Islam and its relationship with Jews and Judaism, scriptural interpretation of the Bible and Qu'ran, and the phenomenon of holy war.

April 2010

Middle Eastern Studies Conference: Muslims and Jews Together: Seeing from Without; Seeing from Within
Wednesday, April 28th-Friday, April 30th
UC Berkeley: Stephens Hall, The Sultan Conference Room, 340 ( click here for a map)

The study of the encounter between Muslims and Jews has emerged from a marginal position in both Jewish studies and Middle Eastern studies to become a distinct field of its own. Scholars of Jewish studies are looking beyond long-dominant Ashkenazi frameworks to highlight narratives that relate to Jewish experiences in the non-Western world, while scholars of Middle Eastern studies have returned --after a long hiatus-- to rediscover the importance and centrality of non-Muslims within Muslim societies. At this moment of shifting boundaries and revised agendas, the purpose of this workshop is to reassess the field, synthesize findings, and identify possible directions for future research. Rather than presenting individual research papers, participants will be asked to join in a series of roundtables organized around a defined set of theoretical and practical concerns.

This workshop is a collaborative effort between UC Davis and UC Berkeley, marking the inauguration of the Program for the Study of Muslim-Jewish Relations at UC Berkeley and the establishment of a UC-wide and West Coast working group for the study of Muslim-Jewish relations.

January - April 2010

Muslim-Jewish Film Series
Co-Sponsored by: The Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement, USC Office of Religious Life, NewGround: Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change, Middle East Studies Program, USC Hillel and the USC Muslim Student Union

To download the flier for the Film Series(.pdf) use the preceding link.

After the launch of the series in November 2009 with the film Bad Faith (Mauvaise foi),a romantic comedy about faith, love and the difficulties combining the two, the Muslim-Jewish Film Series will continue with nine films around five themes in the spring of 2010. See below for for more information on the selection of films and dates and the location of screening (all of which will be held on USC's campus).

Stories that help to understand the narrative with which many Jews and Muslims view the world

BATTLE OF ALGIERS (Algeria 1965)
Wednesday, January 20 2010 7:00p.m.
Taper Hall Auditorium (rm 102). Click here for a campus map.

One of the most influential films in the history of political cinema, Gillo Pontecorvo's The Battle of Algiers focuses on the events of 1957, a key year in Algeria's struggle for independence from France. Shot in the streets of Algiers in documentary style, the film vividly re-creates the tumultuous Algerian uprising against the occupying French. The violence soon escalates on both sides in this war drama that's astonishingly relevant today.

Wednesday, January 27 2010 7:00p.m.
Leavey Library Auditorium. Click here for a campus map.
Famed Polish concert pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman struggles to survive the onslaught of Nazi tyranny during World War II in this autobiographical film. Already lauded at the time for his talents as a musician, Szpilman spent those years holed up in Warsaw, subsisting on scraps of food and barely able to stay alive. Grace comes in the form of a second chance -- at music, at freedom, at life.

How do Muslim and Jewish filmmakers represent “The Other?”

Salata Baladi
Wednesday February 3rd 2010 7:00p.m.
Leavey Library Auditorium. Click here for a campus map
Award-winning, Egyptian filmmaker Nadia Kamel’s heritage is a complex blend of religions and cultures. Her mother is a half Jewish, half Italian Christian who converted to Islam when she married Nadia’s half Turkish, half Ukrainian father. Prompted by the realization that her 10-year-old nephew Nabeel is growing up in an Egyptian society where talk of culture clashes is all too common, she decides to let her mother Mary Rosenthal share their diverse family history. “The original inspiration for this film was simple enough,” says Kamel, “a love for my family’s stories and a wish to share them. It was a storytelling project.”

THE BAND’S VISIT (Israel 2007)
Wednesday February 17th 2010 7:00p.m.
Leavey Library Auditorium. Click here for a campus map
When an Egyptian police brass band travels to Israel to play at the opening of an Arab arts center, they wind up abandoned and lost in a remote desert town in this charming cross-cultural comedy. Defying expectations, the tiny Israeli community embraces the musicians, and both the Egyptians and the locals learn a few things about one another, and themselves, in this witty winner of the Cannes Film Festival Un Certain Regard prize.

Predominantly Muslim and Jewish societies also face their own internal problems that impact the way in which they relate to the outside world. What are some of those problems?

Wednesday February 24th 2010 7:00p.m.
Leavey Library Auditorium. Click here for a campus map
This sprawling tapestry of modern-day Egypt weaves together multiple stories of the residents of the Yacoubian Building, a Cairo structure built in 1937 to house the city's upper crust. The most expensive Egyptian movie ever made, it's also one of the most provocative, tackling a host of taboo subjects. The film, based on the best-selling Arabic novel, features a cast of top actors from the Arab world.

Wednesday March 3rd 2010 7:00p.m.
Leavey Library Auditorium. Click here for a campus map
Utilizing vivid black-and-white animation in this Golden Globe winner for Best Foreign Language Film, director Ari Folman documents his quest to explore the memory gaps in his life during his service for the Israeli army in the Lebanese war of the early 1980s. Recounting several story vignettes based on recorded interviews with colleagues and friends, Folman explores the horrors of war and the curious coping mechanisms that mankind uses to survive and function under brutal circumstances.

The conflict between Muslims and Jews, Palestinians and Israelis, the East and the West often presents to those involved the dilemma of using violence. How is this violence justified, and is it ever justifiable?

PARADISE NOW (Israel/Palestine 2005)
Wednesday March 10th 2010 7:00p.m
Leavey Library Auditorium. Click here for a campus map
Hany Abu-Assad's disturbing yet moving tale finds two men at a critical juncture in their lives. They've been drafted as suicide bombers in an upcoming assignment in Tel Aviv. Granted a night to spend with their families, they go home but are unable to say goodbye for fear of tipping their hand. But perhaps it isn't time for farewells yet as the two become separated during the mission and must decide on their own whether to continue or bail out.

Thursday April 8th 2010 7:00p.m
Leavey Library Auditorium. Click here for a campus map
In this thriller based on actual events, Palestinian terrorists hold hostage and ultimately kill a group of Israeli athletes during the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics. In the tragic aftermath of the infamous murders, a Mossad agent (Eric Bana) tracks down the assassins. Ciaran Hinds and Geoffrey Rush co-star in this film directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Tony Kushner (award-winning playwright of "Angels in America").

Is peace possible?

ENCOUNTER POINT (Israel/Palestine 2006)
Wednesday April 14th 2010 7:00p.m
Leavey Library Auditorium. Click here for a campus map
As violence continues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, some of those touched by the bloodshed become advocates for peace. This documentary introduces citizens on both sides for whom an end to conflict has become a personal crusade. Family members of slain Palestinians and Israelis, both military and civilian, share their stories and how they've turned their grief into a force for change in the region.

December 2009

Learn, Connect, Change- Apply to NewGround Today
Want to wrestle with issues of faith, gender, diversity, and social transformation? Interested in developing the skills to engage in productive conflict and to build positive partnership? Want to explore what it means to be Muslim and Jewish in Los Angeles today? Become a NewGround Fellow and join a new cadre of leaders who inspire hope and change in a troubled world.

NewGround is informative, reflective, and ultimately transformative. Through this intensive process, fellows emerge with the skills and commitment to engage in authentic conversation, to build positive partnership, and to establish a new code of conduct for our two communities. Together, NewGround’s participants are creating a brighter future for Los Angeles, for today’s movements for social change, and for the world in which we live.

Applications are now available at and are due on December 14th.

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