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Food for Thought: Jewish and Muslim Women Bond over Baking

Atlanta Jewish Times, December 29, 2003


Founded by Audrey Galex, a Jewish storyteller, and Soumaya Khalifa, founder and Executive Director of the Islamic Speakers Bureau in Atlanta, the Jewish-Muslim Women’s Baking Circle has met once every couple of months since October 2003.

Baking together is only one part of the goal. “To get to know each other, break down stereotypes and grow that circle of people in a grassroots effort,” explained Soumaya of the group’s aims. Like Audrey, Soumaya seeks to create cross-cultural awareness and tolerance.

Reactions from two participants:

Aicha Stoman, originally from Morocco, acknowledged the power of groups, such as the baking circle: “Interfaith contact is really needed to remove the walls that develop in the hearts of people, through the media and stereotypes. Stereotypes become words and images and leave humanity out of it. When people get to know each other, there is a lot more understanding and problem-solving.”

“I went with no expectations, really,” said Terry Egdal, one of the Jewish participants. “It was a very fun event — we laughed a lot, but more than that, it was a kind of life-changing event for me. I feel definitely that our relationships will continue. The long-term benefits are so far-reaching and important. I hope we could spread this positive energy to other communities.”

Subjects Covered: diversity training, healing

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