Jewish Muslim Community Building Initiative Text Study

Rabbi Avi Finegold (left) with Abdul-Malik Ryan

I have been participating for some time with the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs and their Jewish Muslim Community Building Initiative. I also have participated in several Jewish-Muslim Text Studies through JCUA and at DePaul University through University Ministry.

Here is a write up from the JCUA newsletter of the most recent event, a text study on the moral and ethical as well as religious implications of the food laws in Judaism and Islam.

Jewish-Muslim Discussion: Are We What We Eat?

We are what we eat? That was the question on Jan. 10 at the “Jewish-Muslim Discussion About Food and Ethics,” the most recent Discussion Over Coffee sponsored by the Jewish-Muslim Community Building Initiative (JMCBI). JMCBI has been organizing these discussions for several years, bringing Jews and Muslims together to explore each other’s traditions.

The most recent discussion — at the Awake Café in Lakeview — was facilitated by Imam Abdul-Malik Ryan, co-founder of IMAN (Inner City Muslim Action Network) and modern-Orthodox Rabbi Avi Finegold. For both Jews and Muslims, food and ethics are important to discuss together.

More than 35 Jews and Muslims, young and old, studied religious texts and discussed such questions as “Is the food I am eating actually kosher or halal?” and “Do I have to care about the way the animal has been slaughtered?”

Would you like to organize another JMCBI discussion? Contact us ( to volunteer.


5 Responses to “Jewish Muslim Community Building Initiative Text Study”

  1. AbdulRahman Arif Says:

    Wow! I’ve been wanting to visit a synagogue to try and learn something about their traditions and meet some of them. I wonder if there’s anything like this going on in London.

  2. Alana Ronald Says:

    Synagogues are open to all and if you ask someone there for some help, either with translation or explanation after the service, there is usually someone more than willing to help. Perhaps contact one of the Interfaith Student groups, possibly associated with a university, or more casually, go to a Saturday service, and join in with a meal following the service and enjoy. But, of course, it would be easier to contact one person before to have as a “guide.” Are you affiliated with any organizations who might have Jews as members you might ask? I wish you luck, and realize, as a Canadian, I am not the person to answer this question, but there are lists of synagogues and Jewish associations enough that a few calls should bear fruit. Good luck!

    I am so happy to keep hearing of these initiatives.

  3. darthvaider Says:

    This is a really interesting initiative. Looking forward to reading more details about it (hopefully some more blog posts are coming up with details regarding how it went 🙂

    Do you have any books that you’d suggest reading to get a decent understanding of Judaism and Premodern Judaic History?

    • Alana Ronald Says:

      Jews, G-d and History, by Max I. Dimont, is a good start.

      I would also go to the link The Jewish Virtual Library,, as a reputable, multisourced facillity.

      So sorry to be responding so long after your post, but so glad you are interested. G-dspeed and blessings!

  4. Abu Sinan Says:

    The link isnt working to the article. I wanted to share it with a Jewish convert to Islam I know and two Jews who are REALLY into the interfaith thing.

    Good work bro.

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