Understanding Muslim Neighbors Seminar for Jews

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Understanding Muslim Neighbors Seminar for Jews

A transformational seminar for Jews to build bridges of understanding and respect with Muslims for tikkun olam

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About this event

  • 2230 days 8 hours
  • Mobile eTicket

UNDERSTANDING MUSLIM NEIGHBORS is an intensive, in-depth seminar for the Jewish community to build bridges of understanding and respect with Muslims. In two full days with a world-class scholar on Islam, this seminar navigates through a maze of conflicting information and stereotypes to equip Jews with the knowledge and tools to better understand and collaborate with Muslims in tikkun olam. 


  • What Muslims really believe about God, Torah, and Jews
  • Expressions of Judaism that Muslims appreciate most
  • Muslim sensitivities every Jew should know
  • Common ground and differences between Muslims and Jews
  • Arabs and Muslims in Jewish teachings
  • Muhammad's relationship with Jews
  • Understanding the Qur’an and Hadith
  • Islamic spirituality and Jewish parallels
  • Islamic law, states, and traditions
  • Islamic holy days and ritual


  • Implications of the Qur'an for Jews
  • Multiple monotheisms?• Covenant and “Chosenness” in Islam
  • Agreement and Disagreement between Jews and Muslims
  • Kosher and halal• Muslim prayer and clergy
  • Islamic faith and Muhammad's Prophethood
  • Muslims, mission, and jihad• What the Qur’an really says about Jews
  • Jihad, Israel, and Palestine
  • Muslim views of The Holocaust


  • Navigating sacred vocabulary
  • Pitfalls to avoid
  • Abraham and Isaac in the Qur’an
  • Cain and Abel in the Qur’an
  • Jewish and Muslim interpretive approaches
  • “Hot button” issues for Jews and for Muslims   

Instructor: Prof. Rabbi Reuven Firestone

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Prof. Rabbi Reuven Firestone is the Regenstein Professor in Medieval Judaism and Islam at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion and Affiliate Professor of Religion at the University of Southern California. Recipient of numerous research fellowships and university invitations, he is currently an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow in Berlin (summers, 2017-2019) and Sigi Feigel Visiting Professorship for Jewish Studies, University of Zürich (2018). Prof. Firestone has written over a hundred scholarly articles and eight books, including An Introduction to Islam for Jews and An Introduction tio Judaism for Muslims. His scholarship has been translated into German, French, Hebrew, Turkish, Arabic, Albanian, Serbo-Croatian, Macedonian, Indonesian and Urdu. Having lived with his family in Israel, Egypt and Germany he regularly lectures in universities and religious centers throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. He served as vice president of the Association for Jewish Studies (AJS) and president of the International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA) and has initiated and continues to be involved in numerous projects and initiatives which bring together Jews Muslims and Christians, Jews and Arabs, and Israelis and Palestinians.

What experts are saying... 

"Rabbi Reuven Firestone is the rare and precious exception to the rule that scholars and academics keep apart from activists and direct engagement. Reuven is a celebrated scholar and a welcomed interlocutor in the intersections of the Islamic and Jewish communities. I have known him since 1973 and have profited from each and every encounter."  

—RABBI PERETZ WOLF-PRUSAN, Chief Program Officer & Senior Educator Hamaqom | The Place (formerly Lehrhaus Judaica)



"Professor Reuven Firestone is a voice we especially need now. He is a thoughtful, eloquent, scholarly guide for us to understand Islam. I have heard him on several occasions, and I invariably come away uplifted and motivated to learn more and to engage more deeply with Muslim friends and neighbors. His presentations should not be missed." 

—RABBI SHELDON LEWIS, Rabbi EmeritusCongregation Kol Emeth former President, Northern California Board of Rabbis author of The Torah of Reconciliation



"Firestone’s book (Introduction to Islam for Jews) shines as a beacon of scholarship and humanity.... Firestone has demonstrated that it is possible for Jews and Muslims to engage in an honest evaluation of their shared history and still find enough common ground to work for a better shared future."  

—PROF. DR. INGRID MATTSON London and Windsor Community Chair in Islamic Studies at Huron University Collegeformer President, Islamic Society of North America


Supported in part by a grant from the Hellman Family and co-sponsored by

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Abrahamic Alliance International brings graduate-level education by world-class scholars to grassroots Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities who want to learn about their Abrahamic neighbors and collaborate with them in compassion.