The four panelists:
Hagar Attia is a doctoral student in the Department of Communication at the
University of Maryland, where she is working with Dr. Sahar Khamis. She studies
the rhetoric of political institutions and political culture—particularly those
of the Middle East. Her research centers on the ways in which social, political,
and religious actors promote, resist, and subvert social change. As a Muslim in
America, Ms. Attia also studied Islam, both formally and informally, for the
past 15 years and has served in her community as a youth leader. As a student of
social change, she is concerned with how faith has been the justification for
great destruction in the world. As a person of faith, Ms. Attia makes it a
priority to build connections with other faith communities. She firmly believes
that together we can transform faith from a means of division and oppression to
a means unity and social justice.
Alejandro Beutel is Researcher for Countering Violent Extremism at the
National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism
(START). He is also a Hartman Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute of
North America and 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. Beutel has
written several policy papers, academic articles, empirical studies, and
op-ed in the areas of American Muslim civic engagement, anti-Muslim
bigotry, counter-terrorism, religious freedom, and immigration reform.
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.
Hannah Spiro is now in her penultimate year at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical
College and is also a Rabbinic Associate at the University of Delaware Hillel.
She served as the Artist-in-Residence and later as the Student Rabbi of Temple
B’Nai Shalom in Fairfax Station, VA, held the High Holiday pulpit for three
years at Congregation Beth Israel in Ocala, FL, participated in a conference of
the Islamic Society of North America, and co-led a birthright trip in Israel.
Hannah is additionally an accomplished singer/songwriter, who incorporates
Jewish liturgy through the medium of alternative folk rock. She has shared the
stage with artists from Pete Seeger, to Flory Jagoda to Rick Recht, was
nominated for a Washington Area Music Award, and has released five CDs,
including three that were exclusively devoted to Jewish music.