The 8th Annual Season of Twinning: Click Here to read the Weekend of Twinning Blog
We Refuse to be Enemies is the theme of the 8th Annual Season of Twinning, which every November and December brings together Muslims and Jews - and people of other faiths as well - to hold joint events focused on educating communities about one other, working together on behalf of people in need and standing together against bigotry.
The Season of Twinning officially kicks-off on Sunday, November 1 with an Interfaith rally in Trenton, NJ, to be followed by events in Washington, New York, Detroit, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Brussels, Tel Aviv Rabat, Morocco, and scores of other cities in nearly 20 countries around the world. There have already been several events associated with the Season of Twinning over the past several weeks, including an inspiring Interfaith Peace Walk in Melbourne, Australia and a Surfers for Peace aquatic manifestation by Jewish and Muslim surfers off the beach in Biarritz, France.
The Season of Twinning was initiated in 2008 by the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (FFEU) - a New York-based nonprofit organization dedicated to building a global movement of Muslims and Jews focused on strengthening ties between our communities.
"In the face of multiple crises now roiling Muslims and Jews in the Middle East and around the world and of increasing efforts by demagogues and extremists to incite our communities against each other, it is more critical than ever that Muslims and Jews come out in public to say 'We Refuse to Be Enemies,'" said FFEU President Rabbi Marc Schneier. "We can agree to disagree respectfully on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict while resolving to build ties of communication and cooperation for the betterment of both communities and the larger communities in which we live side by side."
Notable activities taking place around the world during the Season of Twinning include:
Trenton, NJ, November 1: Standing up for Each Other rally sponsored by FFEU's New Jersey Muslim-Jewish Solidarity Committee. Members of synagogues, mosques, US Senators, and Muslim and Jewish student groups will join together with New Jersey political leaders.
Washington, DC, November 5: Spread Hummus Not Hate. Twelve Muslim and Jewish activists will travel through Greater Washington, with stops including the University of Maryland, mosques, synagogues and Farragut Square Park, to share the message "We Refuse to be Enemies" with all the people they meet along the way.
Winnipeg, Canada, November 5: Muslim-Jewish Conversation Café screening of BESA: The Promise for Muslim and Jewish university students.
Sao Paulo, Brazil, November 8: We Refuse to be Enemies. A gathering to advocate dialogue and reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians and Jews and Arabs in Brazil.
Queens, New York, November 11: A conference at Queens College entitled Muslims, Jews and Catholics Confront Climate Change to praise Pope Francis' moral leadership on the climate change and strategize how faith communities can work together to express a voice of conscience on one of the overriding moral issues of our time.
Amsterdam, November 15: A Friendship Walk from the Al-Kabir Mosque to the Gerard Dou Street Synagogue.
Manchester, UK, November 15: We Refuse to Be Enemies event organized by Muslim-Jewish Forum of Greater Manchester to be held at Bury Town Hall with support of Bury Council. A separate twinning event is planned for Manchester Metropolitan University.
Paris, November 15: We Refuse to Be Enemies event with the Neuilly Synagogue, the Jewish Community Center and Puteaux Mosque.
London, November 17: The Barnet Multi-Faith Forum will sponsor Welcome the Stranger, to express solidarity with newly arrived refugees from Syria and other war-torn lands.
Detroit, November 19: The Greater Detroit Muslim-Jewish Solidarity Committee will host a We Refuse to be Enemies event at Wayne State University with prizes for Muslim and Jewish teens who took part in a literary contest focused on reaching out to each other.
New York, November 22: We Refuse to Be Enemies event at the Brotherhood Synagogue in Manhattan featuring FFEU President Rabbi Marc Schneier, Imam Shamsi Ali and other key NYC Muslim and Jewish leaders.
Washington, DC, November 22: Summit of Washington Area Rabbis and Imams at the IMAAM Center in Silver Spring to develop a common agenda for relationship building and social action by mosques and synagogues.
Malmo, Sweden, November 22: In a city racked by anti-Semitic violence and tensions between our two communities, Malmo's Muslim-Jewish Partnership will sponsor an event focused on peace and reconciliation.
Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel November 23: Interfaith Zikur (Sufi-based) ceremony and celebration of Muslim-Jewish-Christian unity for Israelis and Palestinians at the Neve Schechter Legacy Heritage Center for Jewish Culture. Sponsored by Orchard of Abraham's Children.
Toronto, Canada November 27: A major We Refuse to Be Enemies celebration bringing together Muslims and Jews at the Holy Blossom Temple.
Calais, France, November 27: Rally and fund-raising in support of migrants by Muslim and Jewish activists and the Tzedakah/Sedaka Project for Migrants.
Copenhagen, December 3-5: A conference of Salaam-Shalom groups from Denmark, Sweden, and Germany to discuss strategies for strengthening Muslim-Jewish cooperation in Europe amidst ongoing violence in the Middle East.
Chicago, December 6: Feeding the Hungry event organized with Muslims Against Hunger, Chicago Chapter and Beth Shalom Synagogue in Naperville to bring food to residents of a homeless shelter in nearby Aurora. The event engaged more than 500 kids from 5 to 15 years old.
Los Angeles, December 6: We Refuse to be Enemies celebration at the Iman Cultural Center sponsored by the SoCal Muslim-Jewish Forum. Featuring Muslim and Jewish music, a pre-Chanukah candle lighting, and a joint prayer event led by Two Faiths, One Prayer.
Princeton NJ, December 6: 2nd Annual Conference of Sisterhood of Salaam-Shalom (SOSS). Several hundred Jewish and Muslim women from 16 SOSS chapters across the U.S. will come together at Princeton University for all-day conference on the role of women in affecting reconciliation between our two communities.
Brussels, Belgium, December 8: We Refuse to be Enemies Rally outside the European Parliament followed by press conference and reception. Partners and participants include A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe (CEJI), European Network Against Racism (ENAR), Member of the European Parliament Afzal Khan, among others.
New York, December 10: FFEU co-sponsored a Chanukah in the Mosque event organized by the New York Muslim Jewish Solidarity Committee.
Orange County, California, December 25: Feeding the Hungry event on Christmas day with the Orange County Islamic Foundation (OCIF), Temple Beth El of South Orange County, at the Orange County Rescue Mission.
Additional We Refuse to Be Enemies events include Atlanta, Houston, Montreal, Berlin, Vienna, Krakow and Warsaw, Florence and Wellington, New Zealand, Tunisia (January 2016) and Australia (October 2015). In mid-December, FFEU and the Shoulder to Shoulder Campaign, a national coalition of faith groups against Islamophobia, co-sponsored a major Interfaith We Refuse to Be Enemies event at the Islamic Center of Irving, TX, a place where the mayor has falsely claimed local Muslims are trying to establish Sharia law. Also in January 2016, FFEU will co-sponsor a Muslim and Jewish Women's interfaith lunch in Rabat, Morocco under the patronage of King Mohammed VI.