Salaam, Shalom: Speaking of Peace | Osher Marin Jewish Community Center

Since 2013, the Salaam, Shalom: Speaking of Peace initiative of the Osher Marin JCC has presented free educational programs that foster meaningful dialogue and understanding between and among local faith communities, especially Marin’s Jewish and Muslim communities. With generous support from Tricia and Richard Gibbs and the Hellman Family Foundation, we have showcased interfaith art exhibits, screened films, hosted panel discussions, facilitated Iftars (Ramadan Break-fasts) and are continuing to build relationships with our friends at Marin’s Islamic Centers. At a time when much of the world is in conflict, these conversations and connections are more critical than ever.

In early 2017, when our JCC received bomb threats, we were showered with support by our Muslim friends. Here is the note that accompanied a floral display we received:

The Muslim Community of the Islamic Center of Mill Valley stands by you. We see you. We hear you. We feel your pain because we are brothers and sisters in faith.”

On November 5, 2017, in partnership with Lehrhaus Judaica, the Osher Marin JCC presented a four-hour symposium entitled A Golden Age in the Golden State? Jews and Muslims Creating a Culture of Understanding. 

For the second year in a row, our Interfaith Iftar at the Islamic Center of Mill Valley drew hundreds of Marin residents to learn more about Muslim and Jewish traditions. In year one, we focused on the basics of each religion. In year two, we broke into small groups, led by both Jewish and Muslim lay facilitators, and explored text from the Torah and the Koran about the spirituality of fasting.

This past year, we have also held a number of in-home, small group learning lunches with members of the Islamic Center of North Marin.

Next up: joining forces in community service work to help in the rebuilding efforts after the devastating North Bay fires. To receive information about this evolving project, please email Joanne Greene,

To learn more about upcoming Salaam, Shalom programs, please contact Heidi Sanders,

Here are examples of other successful Salaam Shalom programs that have taken place:

A Jewish Democratic State: Creating Shared Space For All People in Israel –a candid conversation with two Israeli community members who work to bridge the divide between Jews and Arabs every day

We Are the Bridge – Art Exhibit showcasing local artists from multiple faith traditions, and focusing bridge-building: between faiths as well as from conflict to resolution and reconciliation. 

Israel: Jews & Muslims in America, in Dialogue Yehuda Kurtzer and Wajahat Ali in conversation about how Jews and Muslims in America can speak to each other about the conflict in the Middle East.

Delicious Peace – Film Screening and Q&A with the filmmakers on a successful interfaith coffee cooperative in Uganda. Fair trade coffee and chocolate tastings.

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish – Palestinian peace activist speaks about his book, I Shall Not Hate, written after three of his children were killed in Gaza.

My So-Called Enemy - Film screening and Q&A with the filmmaker on the program Building Bridges for Peace which linkss Jewish, Israeli Arab and Palestinian teen girls.

Patterns of Persecution: Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and Anti-Catholic movements in America with Peter Gottschalk, Professor of Religion at Wesleyan University & author of American Heretics

Opening Reception for BESA photo exhibit and Film Screening of BESA: The Promise

Muslims Who Saved Jews in World War II

The Power of Education to Change a Girl…and the World

Film Screening of Girl Rising followed by a discussion with Ruth Messinger, President of American Jewish World Service, and Nahid Angha, Ph. D., co-director of the International Association of Sufism