February Dialogue – The Future of Islam, The Future of Judaism

The next event of the Jewish-Islamic Dialogue Society of Washington will be held on February 7th from 2:00 – 4:30 p.m., at Temple Shalom, 8401 Grubb Road (at East West Hwy), Chevy Chase, MD 20815.  The topic will be “The Future of Islam, the Future  of Judaism.”

We hope to hear from two Jewish and two Muslim speakers who will give short presentations, followed by a Q&A, and small group discussions about the topic. The session will be moderated by Temple Shalom’s Senior Rabbi, Michael Feshbach.  The speakers will include Alejandro Beutel and Hannah Spiro.  Here is some biographical info on the speakers:

Alejandro Beutel is Researcher for Countering Violent Extremism at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START).  Previously, he was a Fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding  (ISPU), a think-tank specializing in the study and promotion of evidence-based development strategies for positive civic, social, and political engagement outcomes for American Muslim communities.  At ISPU, he was Co-Principal Investigator and Project Manager of the “Islamophobia: A Threat to All” study, a research initiative that empirically analyzed anti-Muslim bigotry in the United States and provided actionable solutions to effectively combat it. As a consultant, Beutel authored several publications, including, “Safe Spaces Initiative” a community-based toolkit to combat extremism and violence, published by the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

Hannah Spiro is no stranger to JIDS, having honored us over the years with her singing and her songwriting.  Now in her penultimate year at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, Hannah is also a Rabbinic Associate at the University of Delaware Hillel who recently co-led a Birthright trip to Israel.  Hannah is a Jewish Rock Radio Emerging Artist who has shared the stage with artists from Pete Seeger, to Flory Jagoda to Rick Recht.   She has been nominated for a Washington Area Music Award and has released five CDs, including three that were exclusively devoted to Jewish music: New Jewish Love Songs (2014), It Is Upon Us (2012) and Aliyah (2010).   Hannah combines progressive midrash and interpretive liturgy with the musical sentiment of a 90’s kid raised on Fleetwood Mac and bubblegum pop.

Rabbi Michael Feshbach is a native of the Washington area who has been the Senior Rabbi of Temple Shalom since he came back to his hometown in 2001 after serving congregations in Boca Raton, Florida, Erie, Pennsylvania, and Buffalo, New York.  He is also a Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem.  Rabbi Michael has become a recognized contemporary Jewish scholar through his on-line columns and “Ask a Rabbi” responses, both for the Union for Reform Judaism and in the early days of America Online.  He is an unusually gifted teacher who is currently preparing to teach a course entitled “Engaging Israel 3.0: Jewish Values and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.”  Finally, Rabbi Michael is deeply devoted to fostering Muslim-Jewish engagement in our area.