“Everyone Has a Story” occurs every few months in Los Angeles — it’s an evening filled with storytelling put together by IKAR, a progressive synagogue, and NewGround, a Muslim-Jewish group that for the past decade has sponsored interfaith events.
Each event has a different theme that aims to engage the Muslim and Jewish communities in conversation. Last month, storytellers of both faiths took to the theater stage to share personal stories on the universal topic of death. “I think nights like this show we all have the same similar human experiences, no matter what religion or background,” says Matt Price, a member of IKAR.
Andrea Hodos, who is Jewish and NewGround’s program director, recounts how her Muslim friends rallied for her after hearing news reports of bomb threats called into Jewish centers across America. “What happened was I was waking up at three in the morning and, unfortunately, looking at the Facebook feed, and I realized my Muslim friends were calling out the anti-Semitism before the Jews even knew about it,” says Ms. Hodos. “There was this feeling for me of I don’t even have to ask because they’re there.”
Marium Mohiuddin, a Muslim member of NewGround, has recently organized a group of Muslims to attend Shabbat services at different synagogues to show support for the Jewish community. Ms. Mohiuddin said the Jewish community welcomed the interfaith event. “Everybody said ‘Yes!’ immediately. There was no hesitation at all.”
Recent hate crimes in both the Muslim and Jewish communities have prompted a deeper bond and purpose between the two faiths. “Now we are all looking at each other like we are more alike in that this is affecting all of us,” says Yara Badday, one of the Muslim storytellers. “We feel less isolated, but more vulnerable.”